With a new semester comes new goals for Texas Tech University. In the last four months, Governor Rick Perry has named five new regents to the Tech board from across the state. One of those regents is former Lubbock mayor Windy Sitton.
NewsChannel 11 sat down with Sitton this week to talk about her new role as a Tech Regent and what exactly the job entails.
"I'm honored that the governor would select me, and I'm so excited about being a part of a board that will help make I hope Texas Tech become the next flagship university," said Windy Sitton.
Sitton says the main job of the regents is to set policy for the university, establishing long term goals for the whole university system.
"I don't know why I was chosen, but I would like to think that it's because I love Texas Tech. I recognize the importance of Tech and what it does in general for Lubbock. Having been the mayor, it gives me a different perspective than other regents. Additionally, having served on the coordinating board in Austin, understanding education, higher education from a state perspective gives me additional insight," Sitton said.
Sitton, a former teacher, says she's always loved education and looks forward to the opportunity to continue to improve higher education. However, she says there will be challenges, one of those will be regulating tuition rates.
"We will have to raise tuition rates some, but I think what we need to look at is maximizing financial aid. There are a lot of grants out there. There is a lot of money out there that is not used. Our challenge is to get the word out that if you really want to go to college, you can afford it," said Sitton.
She says the idea of raising tuition rates is a double edged sword because their goal is to increase enrollment.
"Often those who don't attend college have financial problems, so I think we as regents have to really look at balancing that scale. We're trying to attract more students, attract a lot of first generation students, so we have to be very careful that we don't raise tuition so high that those students can't afford higher education," Sitton said.
According to Sitton, overall, the regents act as a governing body to the university system. They do not get involved with day to day campus issues, that's what the chancellor and presidents are for, instead their goal is to improve Tech and diversify the university from others. Sitton says with good growth and a focus on academic excellence Tech can become a flagship university.
The other newly appointed regents include: Scott Dueser of Abilene, Rick Francis of El Paso, Frank Miller of Dallas, and Bob Stafford of Amarillo. They'll be joining four current regents: Chairman Bob Black of Horseshoe Bay, Vice Chairman Brian Newby of Fort Worth, Carin Barth of Houston, and Dick Brooks of Dallas. The regents have their first meeting with the new group on February 28th.