SSTI Digest

Geography: Texas

TBED People & Orgs

Gov. Lincoln Chafee has nominated Deputy Director William Parsons to lead the Rhode Island Economic Development Corporation.

Performance-Based Funding for Higher Ed on Rise in Wake of Funding Cuts

Performance-based funding for higher education has emerged as a top policy recommendation for addressing concerns ranging from accountability and affordability to helping keep states economically competitive. In states that already have performance-based funding in place, such as Pennsylvania and Ohio, efforts to revise and expand the programs are underway. Ahead of the upcoming legislative sessions, governors in Texas and Wisconsin called for education reform tied to outcomes, including how well colleges and universities are meeting the states' workforce needs, especially for high-skilled, in-demand jobs.

New Efforts in AZ, TX Take Different Approaches for Increasing STEM Grads

With the goal of integrating STEM learning into schools and strengthening teacher effectiveness in STEM areas, Science Foundation Arizona (SFAz) is launching the Arizona STEM Network, which will be implemented over the next five years in school districts throughout the state. In Texas, officials are counting on a new $30 million fund to produce more STEM graduates by recruiting top-notch research faculty to the University of Houston (UH). The Arizona STEM Network builds on Gov. Jan Brewer's plan for STEM education announced in 2010. SFAz will serve as the operational management hub to provide focus, commitment and structure to achieve the goals outlined in the implementation plan. Four strategic concentrations will guide the work of the STEM Network over the next five years. These include: Integrating STEM into schools and districts by working with the governor's office, Department of Education and county superintendents to extend STEM expertise through Regional Education Service Centers. Predictive analysis and measurement of outcomes by developing and deploying performance-based analytics and a technology infrastructure to collect, analyze and disseminate program metrics throughout the network. Strengthening teacher effectiveness by identifying project-based STEM teaching models, engaging teachers and students in STEM career exploration and professional development, and supporting research and teaching faculty at Arizona higher education institutions to develop innovative, content-focused STEM education courses for new teachers. Creating meaningful business engagement opportunities by designing activities for STEM advocates to mentor teachers, host field trips, or contribute to curriculum development. The network is supported primarily through a private foundation, Freeport-McMoRan, Cooper & Gold, which provided $2.2 million to establish the STEM initiative. The foundation announced a new three-year commitment beginning in 2012 totaling $2.1 million for operational funding that will allow SFAz to roll out its new plan. Read the announcement: A new initiative in Texas is aiming for the same goal of producing more graduates in STEM fields, but efforts will be focused on faculty recruitment with hopes of attracting high-achieving students. Over the next two years, the University of Houston (UH) will hire 60 new faculty members in STEM fields with help from a new $30 million fund. The fund will provide startup incentive packages to attract some of the nation's most talented research faculty in the fields of science, technology, education and mathematics, according to a press release. The initiative is part of the university's efforts to secure Tier 1 status. Read more:

Incubator RoundUp

Finding new and creative ways for high-tech companies to succeed is an important component in business incubation. A recent study examining best practices for supporting new company formation finds it is the synergy among multiple practices, policies and services that produces optimal outcomes. At the same time, collecting standardized measures, reporting on progress annually, conducting external independent evaluations, tracking programs, and continuing to enhance practices are singled out as important policy implications. Over the past few months, several new incubator models have emerged — including a concept for a hybrid-accelerator and a startup incubator that floats. Select announcements are included below. 

Election Results: Higher Ed Financing Measures Pass in LA, TX

Louisiana and Texas voters approved measures to provide funding sources for student loans while voters in Colorado rejected a measure that would have temporarily increased taxes to offset cuts for public schools and colleges. Meanwhile, Ohio voters repealed a bill passed earlier this year limiting collective-bargaining rights of state employees. Official results are outlined below:

TBED People and Job Opportunities

Job Corner
The Invest Nebraska Corporation is hiring a CEO to join their team in Lincoln, NE. The CEO will manage Invest Nebraska's programs throughout the State of Nebraska. Invest Nebraska Corporation is a private, nonprofit venture development organization focused on developing high-growth companies in Nebraska and growing the state's economy.

Governors' Races and Ballot Preview 2011

In what is considered typical for an odd-numbered year, only 34 questions have been certified in nine statewide ballots this election year. Some of those measures include redirecting funds to support higher education, revenue enhancements for states, and repealing legislation that limits collective bargaining for public employees.

Higher Education in the New Economy

As state and federal funding for higher education dwindles and the workforce needs of the new economy continue to shift, state and university officials are reevaluating how higher education is funded, its return on investment for the state, and how universities can better drive economic growth. Recent examples in New York, Ohio and Texas demonstrate how states are implementing new policies to adapt to the changing times.

Incubator Round Up

Spending time at a technology or business incubator may be the key to learning about entrepreneurship. Some universities, seeking to ramp up entrepreneurship programs, are turning to incubators as real-world teachers. A recent Washington Post article points to several business schools pairing traditional education, such as courses and lectures, with less-conventional approaches, including incubators and business competitions to prepare students for opportunities outside the classroom. Recent announcements of new and emerging technology incubators from across the U.S. and Canada are included below.

Legislative Wrap-Up: Support for TBED Initiatives in DE, ME, NV, NC, TX

Lawmakers in several states wrapped up their 2011 sessions in time for the new fiscal year, which begins on July 1 for most states, allocating funds and passing bills in support of tech-based economic development. Read more...

Incubator Round Up

Recent announcements of new and emerging technology incubators range from Google's selection of Cape Town, South Africa to launch a pilot incubator supporting technology entrepreneurs that it hopes to replicate globally to Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley's plan to create a statewide business incubator focusing on workforce training. Select announcements from across the globe are highlighted below.

Tech Talkin' Govs, Part V

The fifth installment of SSTI's Tech Talkin' Govs series includes excerpts from speeches delivered in Maryland, Montana, Oklahoma, Texas, and Utah. The first four installments are available in the Jan. 5, Jan. 12, Jan. 19 and Jan. 26 issues of the Digest.