Texas A&M University System Chancellor Mike McKinney is stepping down effective July 1, 2011. McKinney announced the move in a letter to faculty: Many
Texas A&M University System Chancellor Mike McKinney is stepping down effective July 1, 2011.
McKinney announced the move in a letter to faculty:
Many of you have heard me say over the past five years that serving as the Chancellor of The Texas A&M University System is one of the best jobs in the state of Texas, if not the entire country. From world-class and diverse universities to a health science center and agencies that serve every county in Texas, the A&M System is a treasure in all of higher education.
After serving as your Chancellor since November 2006, the time has come for me to step aside. My plan is to continue as Chancellor through the end of the Legislative Session and retire from my position effective July 1, 2011.
These are challenging economic times for our state, and I firmly believe that an investment in higher education is an investment in Texas’ future. I will also continue to champion the role of teachers, as well as the role of research in shaping young minds and ensuring the economic vitality of our state.
McKinney is Gov. Rick Perry‘s former chief of staff, a former commissioner of the Texas Health and Human Services Commission and a former state representative. Before he joined the A&M system, he was senior executive and vice president and chief operating officer at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston.
“I think he was seen as a road block,” said A&M anthropology professor Mike Alvard in reference to McKinney and his relationship to Perry and the higher education reforms Perry advocates. Alvard said that while professors have seen McKinney as a Perry loyalist, the Perry camp did not consider him hardline enough. “He was seen as resistant to reforms and as over-complicating the data.”
Alvard said professors fear that someone closer to Perry will replace McKinney. He said rumors are flying that his replacement will be either Rep. Jeff Wentworth (R-San Antonio), the state senator who has pushed a bill to allow concealed weapons on college campuses, or Rick O’Donnell, a Perry ally who was appointed to be special advisor to the UT Board of Regents at a salary of $200,000, then abruptly fired last month.
Chairman of the Texas A&M Board of Regents Dr. Richard A. Box released a statement following the announcement.
State Senate Higher Education Committee Chairwoman Judith Zaffirini (D-Laredo) told the Texas Tribune she talked to McKinney this morning.
“My reaction was one of disappointment,” she said, “because I feel very strongly that he is the best chancellor that A&M has had, at least during my experience in the Texas Senate.”
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