Appointed by the Governor
In 2017, Gov. Greg Abbott appointed LBJ School student Annie Jones (Dual MPAff/LAW) to the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, which oversees all public post-secondary education in the state. Annie served as the student member of the Coordinating Board.
"I've been interested in higher education, and I worked on higher education issues at LBJ," Jones said. "I read the Coordinating Board reports, and I knew I wanted to be involved."
Jones said prior work experiences helped prepare her to be the single student representative from across the state. Her experience includes conducting research for a strategic planning division at The University of Texas at Austin, clerking in the office of general counsel at the UT System and interning for the State Higher Education Committee in the Texas Legislature.
Her academic background also influenced her approach.
"I would say the Texas Law program and LBJ combined really helped me to know what to look for during our meetings. I think I was able to contribute in executive sessions at a high level as a student representative." —Annie Jones
While serving in this position, Jones drafted constituent correspondence and moderated a panel at the Marketable Skills Conference in Houston. She also gained valuable experience raising questions about key issues, including performance-based funding models.
"It's been a really fantastic year," Jones said. "I served with people who had an amazing bird's eye view of public higher education in Texas, and I got to know some amazing higher education leaders."
Shaping the Path Forward
Jones said she and fellow students helped support the governor's office on issues surrounding higher education policy during the 84th Legislature.
"We created memos that informed speakers at a higher education conference on recent issues in higher education. We performed national scans of things like IP [intellectual property] policy for online courses, which ultimately helped inform a UT institutional policy," Jones said. "It was really useful experience."
The Fifth Class
"There's a trope here at the LBJ School: the idea of the fifth class," Jones said. "The idea is that you have this invisible fifth class that doesn't take place in a classroom, and you use the time you would spend on a fifth class to do something like professional development, engage with the community or be a part of the LBJ School community."
"There's a trope here at the LBJ School: the idea of the fifth class. The idea is that you have this invisible fifth class that doesn't take place in a classroom, and you use the time you would spend on a fifth class to do something like professional development, engage with the community or be a part of the LBJ School community." —Annie Jones
Jones said experiences like those made for more rounded students.
"My fifth class was working in the Texas Legislature or working in other university positions," Jones said. "It was my favorite thing I worked on in a given semester."