UT Presidential Search Committee Announced


UT Presidential Search Committee Announced

UT System Board of Regents chair Paul Foster announced the members of UT-Austin’s presidential search committee today, naming 15 people to the panel charged with finding the successor to UT-Austin president Bill Powers.

Eight of the spots on the committee are statutory, representing the university’s main constituencies, while seven are appointed. According to the System, the appointed members “have demonstrated significant involvement with UT Austin.” Six of those seven are alumni.

The list includes Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, LLB ’67, BA ’92, Life Member, Distinguished Alumna, president of the Texas Exes, as well as Adm. William McRaven, BJ ’77, Life Member, Distinguished Alumnus, who will succeed Francisco Cigarroa as UT System chancellor.

Powers will resign on June 2, 2015, following an agreement between Powers and Cigarroa. The UT System will also be assisted by the executive search firm Spencer Stuart.

Here’s the full list of search committee members:

Pedro Reyes, Ph.D., executive vice chancellor for academic affairs at the UT System, and Larry Faulkner, Ph.D., president emeritus of UT Austin, will co-chair the search committee.

Representing the Board of Regents on the committee will be Vice Chairman Gene Powell, Vice Chairman Steven Hicks, and Regent Brenda Pejovich.

Representing presidents of other UT System institutions are Diana S. Natalicio, Ph.D., president of UT El Paso, and Daniel K. Podolsky, M.D., president of UT Southwestern Medical Center.

Representing the campus deans’ council will be Randy L. Diehl, Ph.D., dean of the College of Liberal Arts.

Serving as faculty representatives are: Martha F. Hilley, professor of music, Butler School of Music; David M. Hillis, Ph.D., professor of integrative biology, College of Natural Sciences; and Ernest D. (David) Sosa, Ph.D., professor of philosophy, College of Liberal Arts.

Representing the UT Austin staff is Erika Frahm, staff council immediate past chair and senior program coordinator in Human Resources.

Geetika Jerath, president of the Senate of College Councils, will represent the student body on the committee.

Former U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison will serve on the committee as president of the Texas Exes.

Seven external community representatives, all of whom have demonstrated significant involvement with UT Austin, and six of whom are alumni, were also selected to serve. They include:

Printice Gary, founder and CEO of Carleton Residential Properties and former member of the Board of Regents

Brian Haley, co-founder of CBTX Capital, former student regent and former UT Austin student body president

Chief U.S. District Judge Ricardo Hinojosa, Southern District of Texas

Woody Hunt, chairman and CEO of Hunt Companies, Inc. and former vice chairman of the Board of Regents

Admiral William H. McRaven, (Ret.), former commander of U.S. Special Operations Command

Jack Randall, co-founder of Jefferies Randall & Dewey Inc.

Robert Rowling, founder of TNT Holdings and former vice chairman of the Board of Regents


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Latest U.S. News Rankings Put UT at 53rd Nationally, 17th Among Publics



A college’s reputation is a tricky thing to quantify. Still, in the form of rankings, reputation is nevertheless a meaningful indicator for students and alumni keeping an eye on the value of their degrees.

The biggest name in the college rankings game is U.S. News and World Report, whose 1,000-pager, America’s Best Colleges, is annually purchased by droves of anxious high-school seniors and their parents. Today, U.S. News released its yearly ranking of the best colleges and universities, and UT came in at 53rd nationally. That’s a slight drop from last year’s 52nd slot.

Unsurprisingly, the Ivies topped the list, with Princeton, Harvard, and Yale filling out the top three. At 20th, Rice was the top-ranked school in Texas, with A&M coming in at 63rd. In a separate ranking of public universities, UT fared better: It was ranked 17th, between Penn State, Florida, and Washington (in a three-way tie for 14th) and Ohio State (18th).

Two of UT’s schools and colleges landed on their respective lists, with the McCombs School of Business slotted as the 8th-best business school in the nation and the Cockrell School of Engineering at 10th. Those rankings are for undergraduate programs only; U.S. News‘ grad-school rankings, released in March, had numerous UT programs in the top 10.

UT president Bill Powers told the Texas Tribune that university administrators watch the rankings while also understanding their limitations. “I take them with a grain of salt but that’s different than saying we ought not care about them,” he said, adding that some of the factors emphasized by the U.S. News methodology, like SAT scores, tend not to favor UT. Under the so-called Top 10 Percent Law, UT must offer admission to students who graduate near the top of their high school classes.

Photo by Amyn Kassam.


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No Revenge for Texas as Longhorns Fall to BYU, 41-7



“We’re not ready to play,” Coach Charlie Strong said, at Saturday night’s press conference following the BYU game. From the look of things, he was right. His defensive coordinator, Vance Bedford, agreed.

“When you give up 28 points in one quarter,” Bedford said, “you’re not ready to play.”

It started with a bizarre personal foul committed by Texas on the opening kickoff, and it only got worse from there. What was a 6-0 BYU lead going into the half turned into a blowout by the middle of the third quarter, as the Longhorns fell to the Cougars 41-7, narrowly avoiding their first home shutout since 1976.

With Ash going down with a concussion against North Texas last week, the real question was about sophomore Tyrone Swoopes taking control of the offense in his first start for Texas. With an 11-15 halftime line for Tyrone Swoopes, after completing his first eight straight passes, it would appear that the Longhorns were clicking on offense. Not so Saturday night in a revenge game for the Longhorns against BYU, following a 40-21 loss in Provo last year.

Despite a big fat zero on the board, the momentum seemed to swing Texas’ way at the end of the second quarter, when Quandre Diggs made a highlight-reel interception to quell a BYU drive that began on their own 8 and ended at 68 yards in just under three minutes time. The Cougars were shredding the Longhorn D with quick slants and easy outs before BYU’s Tysom Hill took a shot to the corner of the endzone. Diggs locked in on the ball and made a leaping grab, dragging a foot to stay in bounds. Though it didn’t net any points for the Horns, it ended a Cougar drive that looked sure to be a scoring one and sent the Longhorns back into the locker room with some hope.

It only got worse from there, as BYU came out swinging after the half. After a touchback by Horns kicker Nick Rose, the Cougars stormed down the field, capping off a drive with a 30-yard scramble by Hill, at the end of which the slippery QB hurdled strong safety Dylan Haines to reach the endzone. The word “posterized” was slung around in my area, so you know it was bad.

On BYU’s next possession, they did it again, marching down the field and scoring on a long rushing TD by backup RB Adam Hine, making it 20-0.

After another quick 3-and-out, BYU returned a William Russ punt to Longhorns territory, and looked to score again. They did, on another rushing TD by Hill, who by this point in the game looked like the second coming of Vince Young, finishing with 134 yards rushing with three TDs on the game.

The Horns’ offense came alive at the end of the third, but by then it was too late. Swoopes used his legs on a couple of nice scrambles, hit Lorenzo Joe for a 22-yard completion, and then found a crossing John Harris over the middle for the score, making it 34-7.

After the following Longhorns drive stalled, the defense showed some life, with a strip sack by Malcom Brown, who had three sacks on the night, and five tackles for a loss. The stellar defensive play was immediately nullified by a Swoopes pick that turned into another Cougar touchdown, another rushing TD for Hine, and the nail in the coffin.

“We’re not good enough to turn the ball over,” Strong said. Amen.

Bedford, who has previously been critical of fans who don’t show up to the game, sided with early exiting Longhorns on Saturday.

“I would have left early,” Bedford said, drawing some laughs. “After seeing that mess out there, I would have been right there with them.”

Bedford also preached looking forward when asked if a game like this wounds players, and hurts the team’s pride.

“For one day,” Bedford said. “If you let pride get in your way, you’re going to have a lot of problems. It’s going to be a long year.”

It’s difficult to find a silver lining in a loss this demoralizing, especially with this game circled on the schedules of all players and coaches after last year’s beatdown. However, if there is one takeaway, it’s that Swoopes won’t shy away from the pressure. With David Ash’s quarterbacking career in jeopardy, that’s a big deal.

“I was very pleased with the way [Swoopes] played,” Strong said. On a night when not much else was working, that’ll have to do.

Photo by Anna Donlan


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Chevy Announces UT Special Edition Silverado



Growing up in Texas means being constantly reminded of those ubiquitous Texas A&M car decals that our College Station frenemies love to tack willy-nilly on the backs—and windows, and tailgates—of their trucks. I’m still not sure what a “Century Club” is, but it sounds like an old sandwich.

Fear not, Texas diehards: Now you can fight back against gaudy Aggie stickers, thanks to the newly announced 2015 Chevrolet Silverado UT Special Edition in “Sunset Orange Metallic,” which appears to be a shinier version of burnt orange.

Featuring Longhorn decals on the bed and tailgate, the UT-edition Silverado is a $795 add-on package to any “Silverado Double Cab in LT or LTZ trim, or a Crew Cab in LTZ trim, with the Texas Edition package,” according to the press release. The package also comes with chrome side steps and the feeling of superiority that comes from driving a burnt-orange pickup truck with Longhorn decals on the sides.

“This is an exciting way for Longhorns everywhere to show their Texas pride as they cruise America’s highways and byways, and I’m glad to see that Bevo XIV will continue to ride in style,” said Athletics Director Steve Patterson in a statement. “We appreciate our great partnership with Chevrolet and their support of Texas Athletics.”

Chevrolet expects the UT Silverado to hit the market in October. We hope they’ll be rolled out in time for the Red River Showdown, since a fleet of these rolling into Fair Park would make any Sooner tremble in awe and sublime fear.


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McIlroy to Spieth: “Get a Bigger Plane”


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He’s going to need a bigger plane.

At least that’s what Rory McIlroy thinks, in a playful Twitter exchange between the world No. 1 golfer and Longhorn prodigy Jordan Spieth. The latter tweeted that he needed some more room for his baggage, jokingly mentioning that McIlroy, the 2014 Open Championship and PGA Championship winner, could help him in that area.

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The breakout 21-year-old who finished second at this year’s Master’s Tournament took the jab in stride, making a dig of his own at McIlroy’s “senior status,” he of the ripe old age of 25.

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That’s when fellow 25-year-old Rickie Fowler, who has been in contention to win multiple majors this year, chimed in to let Spieth know that his youth movement hasn’t quite reached the big time yet.
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At the very least, Fowler is giving props to 2013′s PGA Rookie of the Year. Spieth may not have the major victory or jet of his own yet, but with some great finishes—and almost $4 million in earnings—in 2014, he’s certainly on his way.

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Not Even a Broken Internet Can Stop Kevin Durant



The Internet broke this morning, when any Google Image search brought up one of two images: a 2012 Ukranian car crash, or NBA MVP and Longhorn basketball star Kevin Durant. One of those is bad, and one is very, very good. Neither is what most users search for, but it doesn’t seem to be the work of a hacker. Russell Brandom of the Verge told NPR’s Here & Now that the glitch was more likely the result of an innocent mistake at Google than a malicious attack.

“If it’s a hack, someone is usually looking for some sort of information they can sell, whether it’s credit card data, email addresses, logins, or to put some malicious bit of code on your site,” Brandom said. “Maybe if you clicked on this image, it would take you to the site and it would put some malicious code on your computer, but I haven’t seen any indication of that.”

Google is also, obviously, tweaking code on a consistent basis, so glitches will appear from time to time.

“People are constantly pushing code changes to Google image search,” Brandom said. “My suspicion is something changed, someone screwed up, and they fixed it.”

The photo of Durant is a screengrab from the heartfelt MVP acceptance speech he gave in May. If you missed the speech, it’s still very much worth a watch.

By now, everything is back to normal with Google, but at 9 a.m., TIME tried an image search for “puppy,” which yielded, in addition to the crash and Durant, a few really cute puppies.


Google hasn’t commented on what caused the glitch, which is now fixed, unless this is your idea of a pure and true Internet. Whatever happened, it really says something about the duality of life. Tragedy and triumph. And occasionally puppies.

Top image via Reddit user acrantrad, bottom image via


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The Ultimate Résumé: McRaven Q&A Is a Candid Look At UT’s Next Chancellor


Admiral William McRaven
What does it look like when one of the nation’s top military leaders applies for a high-level civilian job? Pretty darn impressive, as it turns out.

A Q&A document filled out by Admiral William McRaven, BJ ’77, Life Member, Distinguished Alumnus, and obtained by the Houston Chronicle, provides a rare and candid look into the closed-doors hiring process for the position of UT’s next chancellor. McRaven is the sole finalist for the position, which Francisco Cigarroa will soon be vacating.

McRaven’s thorough answers to questions about his leadership style, his accomplishments, and his ideas about how to run the UT System paint a picture of a future chancellor who will need to be diplomatic and balanced when entering the fractious and scandal-filled world of Texas higher education politics. Below are some highlights.

On his leadership experience:

“Throughout my 37 years in the military I have commanded special operations forces at every level. I understand how leadership must be exercised both at the tactical level and at the strategic level. Contrary to popular belief, the soldiers in the military are not robots. Leadership takes constant engagement and interaction. You must motivate your men and women.”

On his experience building relationships:

“In my job as the Commander of the Joint Special Operations Command, I traveled the world meeting with kings, presidents, prime ministers, dictators, and terrorists. Each engagement required a different level of relationship building.”

On his vision for the UT System:

“The role of the UT System should be to ensure all qualified students in the state of Texas receive a world class education. Having received a degree in journalism, I value a liberal education while understanding completely the need for a highly technical and business-oriented work force. The balance of these two disciplines and understanding how they interact to create a graduate that can excel in today’s global market place is the key to higher education.”

On why he wanted the job:

“I was only recently approached about the position, but knowing that, if selected, I would have an opportunity to shape the future of the academic institutions as well as the medical and research facilities in Texas—is intriguing.”

On how his friends would describe him:

“I like a good joke, a good steak, a good drink, and anything on ESPN.”

Read the full Q&A below:

McRaven Questionnaire

Photo by Michael O’Brien.


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NCAA Board Votes to Allow Autonomy for Biggest Conferences



The NCAA’s inner circle has shrunk down even more today, as the Division I Board of Directors approved legislative autonomy for the five so-called “power conferences” at a vote at NCAA headquarters. The 16-2 vote will allow the Southeastern Conference, Big 12, Big Ten, Pac-12, and Atlantic Coast Conference to govern their combined 65 universities in the way of individual athletes and competition rules. The lone dissenters were representatives from Dartmouth and the University of Delaware.

The credo from on high at the NCAA has been that this decision, through allowing the richer conference schools to self-impose certain rules, will better benefit the student-athletes in a number of ways, including the possibility of future engagement with agents, helping pay insurance policies taken out against injuries, and better medical coverage.

“The new governance model represents a compromise on all sides that will better serve our members and, most importantly, our student-athletes,” NCAA president Mark Emmert said, in a statement. “These changes will help all our schools better support the young people who come to college to play sports while earning a degree.”

Indeed, while this decision signifies a major cultural shift for the NCAA, certain major bylaws will remain unaffected, such as transfer eligibility and scholarship limits.

There is a 60-day veto period in place, during which time three outcomes can occur: If less than 75 universities object, the rule will pass pending a vote from all DI universities in which a 5/8 majority is needed to overturn; if 75-124 disapprove, the committee will re-examine; and if 125 universities oppose the new rule, it will be suspended while the committee decides how to proceed.

What does this mean for UT Athletics? As a member of the Big 12 Conference, student-athletes at Texas—should the decision pass—can potentially pursue non-athletic careers concurrent to enrollment, receive pre-enrollment expenses during recruiting trips, and receive “full cost of attendance” and lifetime scholarships.

Texas athletic director Steve Patterson predicted the impending decision in an interview last month, stating, “I think the big five conferences have been in favor of more autonomy to be able to make their own rules to provide the best level of service for their student-athletes that they can afford. It appears, at once optimistic, that we may be headed to a negotiated system that would grant some level of autonomy for the larger schools to address issues such as full cost of attendance.”

Patterson has previously come out in opposition to directly paying student athletes, noting that student-athlete compensation would cause harm to non- and low-revenue producing sports, in particular those that are enabled by Title IX.

U.S. Sen. Orrin Hatch has some of the same concerns, plus some worry about what this will do to the have-nots in intercollegiate athletics, and thinks that the NCAA Board’s decision may warrant Congressional review.

“The NCAA should be responsible for promoting fair competition among its participating institutions and their student athletes,” Hatch said, in a statement. “I am concerned that today’s actions could create an uneven playing field that may prevent some institutions from being able to compete fairly with other schools that have superior resources to pay for student athletes. I also worry about how this decision will affect a school’s Title IX requirements and whether this consolidation of power will restrict competition and warrant antitrust scrutiny.

If the decision sticks, it would mean a monumental shift in policy for Texas, its conference opponents, and potentially all of Division I.

Image via Twitter (@NCAA)


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Can Ibuprofen Mend a Broken Heart?



That handy bottle of ibuprofen in your medicine cabinet has probably been a blessing in times of misery. Headache? Wash a couple down with a glass of water. Fever? Take two and get some rest. But what about for emotional pain, like a broken heart or a bruised ego? Those pills might help, but only if you’re a woman: According to a recent study co-authored by Anita Vangelisti of the Moody College of Communication and James Pennebaker, UT’s Department of Psychology chair, the over-the-counter painkiller ibuprofen relieves hurt feelings in women but, oddly enough, not in men.

Common knowledge dictates that emotional pain and physical pain are two separate beings. However, recent research has shown that similar areas in the brain light up for both emotional and physical pain—and that ibuprofen has proven to help the hurt feelings. Now, though, Vangelisti’s research shows that while ibuprofen helps hurt feelings in women, it actually makes them worse in men, revealing opposing ways of helping the different sexes treat social pain.

“Hurt feelings are a part of any close relationship, so learning how to think and talk about the social pain we experience in our relationships is important,” Vangelisti says. “Understanding differences in the way women and men deal with their hurt feelings could go a long way toward helping couples cope with these feelings in their romantic and marital relationships.”

Vangelisti’s study, called Reducing social pain: Sex differences in the impact of physical pain relievers, involved 138 students as participants—62 men and 76 women. After some initial questions, half were given 400mg of ibuprofen and half were given a placebo. In one part of the study, the participants played a virtual game called “Cyberball” that creates feelings of social pain by excluding the player from tossing a ball with two computer-controlled avatars. In another part, the participants were asked to give a detailed description of a time where they felt betrayed by someone close to them.

After both parts, they were asked to rate their emotions, and Vangelisti and her colleagues were struck by how negative the men of the ibuprofen group’s emotional responses were when compared to the rest of the participants.

Women are better at expressing social pain than men, Vangelisti says, possibly because of social conditioning—the idea that men should be the “strong, silent type” and refrain from expressing their emotions. But the study’s results, she says, beg the question of how and why ibuprofen affects the two sexes differently.

“It’s possible that taking physical pain relievers provides men with more cognitive resources to express the pain they feel,” says Vangelisti of her findings. “There’s some evidence that, for men, the part of the brain that enables them to regulate their emotions is linked to the part of the brain that processes physical and social pain. If that’s the case, taking a physical pain reliever may affect men’s ability to hide or suppress their social pain.”

The results of Vangelisti’s study may expose differences in the ways women and men might best help each other deal with their hurt feelings and may help to address the way men and women think about and express feelings, as well as measuring the degree to which physical and social pain are linked.

“If our findings hold up for younger people, it also could help us address differences in the way children and adolescents think about and respond to socially painful situations like bullying,” says Vangelisti.

So does that mean we should all start popping ibuprofen whenever our feelings are hurt? Absolutely not, says Vangelisti. “In time, we may see psychiatrists prescribing painkillers for social pain—judiciously, I hope—but right now there are too many unanswered questions that our study has raised for this to be considered a viable treatment.”

Illustration by Melissa Reese



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Princeton Review Ranks UT’s Student Health Services 10th in the Nation


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UT’s University Health Services is the 10th-best university health care provider in the nation, at least in the eyes of the Princeton Review.

The popular test-prep company released its annual “Best 379 Colleges” guidebook this week, including 62 ranked categories ranging from the serious (“Great Financial Aid,” “Best Quality of Life”) to the tongue-in-cheek (“Reefer Madness,” “Is it Food?”). The top-20 lists are based entirely on student surveys, so they’re more about sharing students’ opinions than providing a rigorous national analysis.

Coming in at no. 10 on the “Best Health Services” list, UT was slotted after Whitman College and before Mills College.

At University Health Services’ 40,000-square-foot facility in the Student Services Building, UT students can get checkups, vaccinations, and X-rays; see a physical therapist; and put together a personalized plan with a nutritionist, among other services. There’s also a 24/7 advice hotline students can call to speak with a nurse.

UT wasn’t included on any of the 61 other Princeton Review lists this year, and administrators surely breathed a collective sigh of relief not to see us on the “Best Party Schools” list, which the university has graced in years past.

Photo by Andrew Mendoza


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