Bill Text: TX HB17 | 2017-2018 | 85th Legislature | Engrossed


Bill Title: Relating to the establishment of the Texas Higher Education Innovation Accelerator for public institutions of higher education.

Spectrum: Partisan Bill (Republican 2-0)

Status: (Engrossed) 2017-05-19 - Left pending in committee [HB17 Detail]

Download: Texas-2017-HB17-Engrossed.html
  85R22613 KJE-D
 
  By: Lozano H.B. No. 17
 
 
 
A BILL TO BE ENTITLED
 
AN ACT
  relating to the establishment of the Texas Higher Education
  Innovation Accelerator for public institutions of higher
  education.
         BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF TEXAS:
         SECTION 1.  Subtitle A, Title 3, Education Code, is amended
  by adding Chapter 60 to read as follows:
  CHAPTER 60. TEXAS HIGHER EDUCATION INNOVATION ACCELERATOR
         Sec. 60.001.  DEFINITIONS. In this chapter:
               (1)  "Accelerator" means the Texas Higher Education
  Innovation Accelerator established under this chapter.
               (2)  "Board," "governing board," and "institution of
  higher education" have the meanings assigned by Section 61.003.
               (3)  "Commissioner" means the commissioner of higher
  education.
               (4)  "Participating institution" means an institution
  of higher education whose governing board has approved an
  innovation plan for the institution under Section 60.005.
         Sec. 60.002.  PURPOSE. The Texas Higher Education
  Innovation Accelerator is established to support and accelerate
  innovation in educational delivery at institutions of higher
  education and to advance state educational and workforce goals.
         Sec. 60.003.   ELIGIBILITY. The commissioner, in
  consultation with institutions of higher education, established
  institutional collaboratives, and state and national subject
  matter experts, shall establish eligibility criteria for an
  institution of higher education's participation in the
  accelerator. The criteria must include demonstrated success, as
  determined by the commissioner, in:
               (1)  providing high-quality, high-value educational
  opportunities to all students, particularly low-income and
  historically underserved student populations, including students
  enrolled in adult degree completion programs; and
               (2)  advancing state and institutional goals related to
  educational access, persistence, and attainment and labor market
  outcomes.
         Sec. 60.004.  NOTIFICATION AND INVITATION TO PARTICIPATE.
  (a)  The commissioner shall:
               (1)  notify the governing board and chief executive
  officer of each institution of higher education regarding the
  accelerator's implementation process; and
               (2)  invite eligible institutions to participate in the
  accelerator.
         (b)  The commissioner shall develop, in consultation with
  institutions of higher education, established institutional
  collaboratives, and state and national subject matter experts, and
  post on the board's Internet website:
               (1)  a description of the accelerator;
               (2)  the eligibility criteria for participation in the
  accelerator established under Section 60.003; and
               (3)  a comprehensive list of state statutes and rules
  from which a participating institution may not be exempted under
  Section 60.006.
         Sec. 60.005.  INNOVATION PLAN. (a)  To participate in the
  accelerator, an eligible institution shall:
               (1)  submit a letter of intent to participate to the
  commissioner; and
               (2)  develop and submit an innovation plan to the
  institution's governing board as provided by this section. 
         (b)  An innovation plan must:
               (1)  summarize the proposed educational programs to be
  offered under the accelerator, including:
                     (A)  each program's design, delivery methods, and
  implementation plan; and
                     (B)  the anticipated number and demographics of
  students to be served by each program;
               (2)  describe in detail the modifications to
  traditional program structures necessary to implement the proposed
  educational programs, such as changes to institutional calendars,
  course schedules or structures, faculty workload, credit hours, or
  other program requirements;
               (3)  identify how the proposed educational programs
  align with specific state and institutional goals;
               (4)  include, to the extent practical, data regarding
  educational programs offered at other institutions of higher
  education that are similar to each proposed educational program,
  including:
                     (A)  student enrollment and demographics;
                     (B)  student academic success, including the
  average time for a student enrolled in the program to complete a
  certificate or degree; and
                     (C)  career placement data;
               (5)  provide for the assessment of student academic
  success and ongoing program evaluation and improvement;
               (6)  commit the institution to participation in regular
  meetings of the participating institutions and to the research and
  evaluation efforts of the accelerator;
               (7)  include a plan for operations, staffing,
  oversight, and sources of funding for the innovation plan; and
               (8)  identify any state statutes or rules that inhibit
  the goals of the innovation plan and from which the institution
  should be exempted on adoption of the plan, subject to Section
  60.006, and state how the identified statutes or rules inhibit the
  goals of the plan and how an exemption from those statutes or rules
  will advance state and institutional educational goals.
         (c)  In addition to the state statutes or rules identified
  under Subsection (b)(8), the institution may also identify other
  state statutes or rules that inhibit the goals of the innovation
  plan but from which the institution is not seeking an exemption.
         (d)  An innovation plan may include one or more departments
  or certificate or degree programs.
         (e)  If an eligible institution's governing board approves
  an innovation plan developed under this section, the institution
  shall:
               (1)  submit a copy of the plan to the commissioner; and
               (2)  post the plan on the institution's Internet
  website.
         (f)  An eligible institution may implement one or more
  innovation plans that comply with this section.
         Sec. 60.006.  PERMISSIBLE EXEMPTIONS. (a)  On approval of an
  innovation plan by the institution's governing board, a
  participating institution is exempt from the state statutes or
  rules identified in the plan or identified by the commissioner as
  needing to be exempted for proper implementation of the plan.
         (b)  A participating institution's exemption under
  Subsection (a) applies to any subsequent amendment or redesignation
  of the exempted state statute or rule, unless the subsequent
  amendment or redesignation specifically applies to participating
  institutions or an educational program offered under this chapter.
         (c)  A participating institution may not receive an
  exemption under this section from:
               (1)  a federal statute or rule;
               (2)  any requirements imposed by statute or rule with
  which the institution must comply to maintain accreditation;
               (3)  a state statute or rule that would have the effect
  of limiting or abrogating the authority of the institution's
  governing board;
               (4)  any reporting requirements under federal or state
  statute or rule related to accountability;
               (5)  requirements related to automatic admissions
  under Section 51.803 or 51.804;
               (6)  any mandatory tuition or fee exemptions, waivers,
  or other benefits under Subchapter D, Chapter 54;
               (7)  eligibility criteria under state statute or rule
  for state financial assistance; 
               (8)  the requirement for the board's approval for a new
  certificate or degree program under Section 61.0512; or
               (9)  any state statute or rule related to health or
  safety.
         Sec. 60.007.  DUTIES OF COMMISSIONER. (a)  The commissioner
  shall:
               (1)  maintain and post on the board's Internet website a
  list of state statutes or rules from which participating
  institutions are exempt under this chapter;
               (2)  ensure that each participating institution
  provides transparent and accurate reporting on the institution's
  progress with the innovation plan;
               (3)  provide technical assistance to participating
  institutions on request; and
               (4)  hold meetings of all participating institutions at
  times established by board rule to facilitate cross-institutional
  collaboration and publicity about innovative educational programs
  developed by the institutions.
         (b)  The commissioner shall annually prepare and submit to
  the legislature and the governing board of each participating
  institution a report on the accelerator.  The report must include:
               (1)  an evaluation of the progress made by
  participating institutions related to the development and
  implementation of the institutions' respective innovation plans;
               (2)  a list of federal and accreditation statutes or
  rules that impede innovation in postsecondary educational
  delivery; and
               (3)  any recommendations for legislative or other
  action.
         Sec. 60.008.  DUTIES OF PARTICIPATING INSTITUTIONS. A
  participating institution shall:
               (1)  track the progress and success of the
  institution's innovation plan in accordance with the assessment and
  success measures detailed in the plan; and
               (2)  participate in regular meetings of the
  participating institutions and the research and evaluation efforts
  of the accelerator.
         Sec. 60.009.  EVALUATION OF INNOVATION PLAN. (a)  A
  participating institution shall, in accordance with board rule,
  partner or contract with one or more private organizations,
  including a nonprofit organization, to evaluate the institution's
  innovation plan and the results of the plan's implementation.
         (b)  The results of an evaluation of a participating
  institution's innovation plan must be provided to each
  participating institution and to the commissioner and posted on the
  institution's Internet website.
         Sec. 60.010.  TERM. The term of an institution of higher
  education's participation in the accelerator may not be less than
  four years, and the term of an innovation plan may not be less than
  three years or more than five years.
         Sec. 60.011.  AMENDMENT, RESCISSION, OR RENEWAL OF
  INNOVATION PLAN. (a)  An innovation plan may be amended by the
  chief academic officer of a participating institution with prior
  notification to the commissioner and the institution's governing
  board.
         (b)  An innovation plan may be rescinded or renewed subject
  to approval of the participating institution's governing board.
         (c)  The commissioner may recommend to a participating
  institution's governing board that the governing board:
               (1)  renew the innovation plan due to the institution's
  performance; or
               (2)  rescind its approval of the innovation plan if the
  institution does not, as determined by the commissioner:
                     (A)  demonstrate satisfactory progress on
  intended outcomes;
                     (B)  maintain eligibility requirements; and
                     (C)  participate in good faith and contribute to
  meetings of the participating institutions and the research and
  evaluation efforts of the accelerator.
         Sec. 60.012.  TERMINATION BY COMMISSIONER. (a)  The
  commissioner may remove a participating institution from the
  accelerator if the institution fails to meet eligibility
  requirements, as determined by the commissioner, for at least two
  consecutive years.
         (b)  Except as provided by Subsection (c), if a participating
  institution is removed from the accelerator under this section, the
  institution shall modify its educational programs as necessary to
  comply with previously exempted state statutes or rules not later
  than the first class day of the next academic term following the
  institution's removal.
         (c)  The commissioner may exempt a participating institution
  removed from the accelerator under this section from state statutes
  or rules as necessary to minimize disruption for students enrolled
  in the educational programs offered under the institution's
  innovation plan.
         Sec. 60.013.  RULES.  The board may adopt rules as necessary
  to implement this chapter.
         SECTION 2.  (a)  Not later than the 30th day after the
  effective date of this Act, the commissioner of higher education
  shall notify the governing board and chief executive officer of
  each public institution of higher education regarding the
  implementation process for the Texas Higher Education Innovation
  Accelerator established under Chapter 60, Education Code, as added
  by this Act, as required by Section 60.004(a) of that chapter.
         (b)  Not later than January 1, 2018, the commissioner of
  higher education shall:
               (1)  invite eligible public institutions of higher
  education to participate in the Texas Higher Education Innovation
  Accelerator as provided by Section 60.004(a), Education Code, as
  added by this Act; and
               (2)  post on the Texas Higher Education Coordinating
  Board's Internet website the information required under Section
  60.004(b), Education Code, as added by this Act.
         SECTION 3.  This Act applies beginning with the 2018-2019
  academic year.
         SECTION 4.  This Act takes effect immediately if it receives
  a vote of two-thirds of all the members elected to each house, as
  provided by Section 39, Article III, Texas Constitution.  If this
  Act does not receive the vote necessary for immediate effect, this
  Act takes effect September 1, 2017.
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