The office for State Relations is located in College Station at Texas A&M University and serves as the university’s liaison with members and staff of the Texas Legislature, the different Executive branch offices, and other government entities.
The office strives to better position Texas A&M regarding higher education issues and provide analysis on vital legislative policy matters that can broadly impact the university community. Further, by serving as the conduit for visits to campus by State Legislative members and their staff, the office of state relations work in unison with other units throughout campus to develop, coordinate and execute itineraries for these visits. Visits can include tours across campus that highlight the tremendous investment in educational activities occurring at Texas A&M, providing students with high impact learning and leadership experiences that will positively transform their lives, and impact the citizens of Texas.
The office is led by Mr. Michael O'Quinn ’86 who serves as Texas A&M’s liaison with elected state officials, the A&M System, and GR colleagues at other Texas universities seeking to support and bolster the mission of Texas A&M and higher education. Dr. Stanton Calvert is Special Advisor to the Vice President for Government Relations and serve as Vice Chancellor Emeritus. Dr. Calvert is located in Austin, TX and works with Mr. O’Quinn on State legislative matters. For more information on the office of state relations, please visit, www.governmentrelations.tamu.edu/state.
Texas A&M University’s state top legislative priorities:
Restoration of Any Proposed Cuts to Budget
A four percent budget reduction would have significant negative consequences at Texas A&M University. While Texas A&M’s initial actions have been and will continue to be to protect its core academic missions of teaching, research, and outreach, those functions that provide support for these activities are already operating at highly-efficient levels, as evidenced by the state’s lowest administrative cost ratio of 3.6% of all public four-year institutions. In addition, recent responses to an external report on administrative and staffing efficiencies have resulted in Texas A&M’s decision to reinvest the savings by eliminating a number of staff positions and reinvesting those recovered funds into its core academic missions. Finally, initiatives taken in response to the 2012-2013 statewide reductions remain in place as universities have not fully recovered from these previous budget cuts. Essentially, further cuts to these areas, while potentially viewed as further enhancing efficiency, will begin to have a significant negative impact on effectiveness.
Maintain Current Formula Funding Rates (Base Funding) to Cover Statewide Enrollment Growth
Formula funding is the foundation that public four-year institutions in Texas depend upon to provide high quality teaching and support services for growing student populations, and to prepare them to meet the workforce needs of this state. The teaching function of these institutions is supported by two key sources of funding: state appropriations primarily through the formulas and students’ tuition and fees.
Maintain Current Rates for Texas Research University Fund (TRUF)
The purpose of the Texas Research University Fund (TRUF)* is to strengthen the competitiveness and performance of Texas’ two statutorily classified Research Institutions - Texas A&M and UT-Austin, to be in healthy competition with one another, but more importantly in successful competition with other nationally ranked universities. The proven way to compete successfully at a higher level is to be able to successfully recruit and retain the highest-performing faculty and students. The Constitution charges these two institutions with the responsibility to serve their students and state’s citizens with the highest level of teaching and research. The TRUF helps Texas A&M and UT-Austin to fulfill this charge. Texas A&M and UT-Austin jointly and respectfully request that the Texas Research University Fund be funded at the current formula ratio.
Veterinary Medicine Partnerships
Texas A&M recognizes that state revenues are tight and the state faces many worthy requests. However, there is a statewide need regarding veterinary medicine. Texas A&M, as one of the best veterinary schools anywhere, has a well-coordinated plan - the Texas A&M Veterinary Medical Center Partnerships - to address this state need. The THECB has recommended the state produce more veterinarians, especially in rural/large animal and in underrepresented minority populations. This partnership between the College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences (CVM) and four A&M System universities is an innovative, cost-effective way to meet these goals without creating a new veterinary school, which the THECB also cautions against. Working with West Texas A&M, Prairie View A&M, Texas A&M-Kingsville and Tarleton State universities, this partnership will work to “grow” well-formed undergraduates for veterinary school. By placing CVM faculty members on-site at A&M System schools, the likelihood of developing rural/large animal or minority veterinary students will be significantly enhanced. These on-site faculty can also support and teach DVM students at these A&M System university locations based on regional livestock or wildlife industry interest and faculty expertise. By directly linking CVM faculty and A&M System schools, this statewide reach will be the most innovative and cost-effective veterinary outreach and student development program in the nation. This initiative is possible because of the veterinary school class size expansion, in response to THECB recommendations, made possible through a new $120 million teaching facility financed through the Permanent University Fund (PUF). Texas A&M respectfully asks the legislature to continue and build upon this investment.
The goal of Texas A&M’s federal relations office is to elevate the national profile of Texas A&M University, its faculty, researchers, and students. To accomplish this, the office of federal relations works closely with The Texas A&M University System Office of Federal Relations, located in Washington DC, to serve as the conduit to Congressional Members and staff, and high-level federal agency personnel. The System office is led by The Honorable Tommy Williams ’78, Vice Chancellor for Federal and State Relations and Mr. Scott Sudduth, Assistant Vice Chancellor who both bring considerable insight and knowledge to their respective offices.
The office of federal relations maintains excellent relationships with the Texas Congressional delegation to raise awareness of Teas A&M's vast expertise. As part of this effort, they conduct visits with Members and staff to campus, and help arrange Texas A&M faculty and administrator visits in Washington. They maintain a current understanding of federal research priorities and work to ensure that Texas A&M is a part of solving these national problems by monitoring legislation regarding national higher education and research issues relevant to Texas A&M and work to identify emerging issues or help prevent future issues.
Finally, the office of federal relations work closely with higher education associations such as the Association of American Universities (AAU), and the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU) to address issues that affect the higher education community more broadly. For more information on the office of federal relations, please visit www.governmentrelations.tamu.edu/federal. For information on the Texas A&M University System, Washington, D.C., office, please visit www.tamus.edu/relations/federal-relations.