Former SGA President appointed to Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board
SHSU student looks to improve higher education as newest member to THECB
Published: Tuesday, June 19, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, June 19, 2012 01:06
A regular course load for a student at Sam Houston State University includes 15 class hours and searching for a part-time job. For one student, the work includes representing more than 1 million college students.
Ryan Bridges was appointed Student Representative of the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB) in Austin by Gov. Rick Perry.
The THEBC works with higher education institutions, the legislature and governor to provide oversight and planning for all public post-secondary education. As Student Representative, Bridges will be providing a student point-of-view on issues presented, as well as represent the higher education interests of Texan students.
Bridges, who received his Bachelor of Business Administration from SHSU and is currently pursuing a Master degree in the same field, is the only SHSU student to have been selected to THECB.
Part of his role may be to provide testimony during committee hearings if the need arises due to his term taking place during a legislative session.
"As we approach the 2013 legislative session and continue to face a nationwide economic crisis, it is imperative discussion on sustainability persists in order to ensure the continued success of Texas higher education," Bridges said.
Last year, he was chosen by Gov. Perry to serve as Student Regent to the Texas State University System (TSUS) Board of Regents.
"After my appointment to the Board of Regents, I began viewing this position as the next step I needed to take if I wanted to continue my involvement in higher education," Bridges said.
His role as a Student Regent for TSUS put the interests of 78,000 students in his hands, now as the Student Representative the interests of nearly 1.5 million students will be.
"You’ll be hard-pressed to find a student who’s more qualified," Dean of Students John Yarabeck said. "I knew there was something special about him; when he talks people listen. He mobilizes people."
He has been involved since the start of his college career. He founded the Kat Krazies, a university spirit organization, and was elected Student Body President for two terms.
"I’ve known Ryan since he was a freshman in the Freshman Leadership Program," Dean Yarabeck said. "He’ll be great as the Student Representative. He knows the good things of being a student as well as the frustrations and he can express them to the Regents."
Bridges is the first student to from SHSU to serve on the THECB.
"He is a great first choice," Vice President Frank Parker said. "That gives him the opportunity to, through his actions and hard work, showcase the quality of the students who attend our university."
Bridges has been ardent about increasing sustainability and efficiency measures at institutional and system levels in order to counteract the funding reductions.
Much of Bridges’ work involves plans for the future, including his current memberships on the Committee on Closing the Gaps, the Committee on Strategic Planning and Policy, and the Committee on Agency Operations.
"Though I consider higher education to be an investment in the future economic stability of Texas and remain a staunch proponent of increased university funding, I firmly believe individual institutions must be good stewards of the funding they receive and must take steps to ensure future efficiency and productivity," Bridges said.
Like the idea of founding the rowdy orange and blue, face-painted Kat Krazies, there are many things in higher learning Bridges is animated about.