Institute For Higher Education Law And Governance


IHELG:  A Second Twenty-Year Plan of Action

Campaign 2002

Since its establishment in 1982 by the UH Colleges of Education and Law, the Institute for Higher Education Law and Governance has undertaken significant research in higher education law and governance, and Institute scholars have published their findings in a wide variety of scholarly journals and books. In the years since then, Institute staff and affiliated scholars have produced a dozen books; nearly 200 journal and law review articles; and significant work in the IHELG monograph series, conference proceedings, and other scholarly vehicles. Four "special issue" journals have been Institute-edited, including the Review of Higher Education (higher education law); the Journal of Law and Education (undocumented college students); the Journal of Higher Education (racial harassment on campus); and the Journal of College and University Law (intellectual property).

Through these means, Institute research has been widely disseminated and read. The research agenda has been primarily focused upon four areas of inquiry (monitoring legislation and litigation, statewide boards and systemwide governance, finance and financial aid, and postsecondary equity), and many experts in law and education have contributed scholarship in this developing field of study.

Institute staff have undertaken a thorough review of research needs, developing trends in the law affecting college governance, and resources that can be effectively directed toward these tasks. This review has confirmed the four research foci, and has generated an exciting and important interest in research affecting higher education in Texas, the United States, and other countries.  After nearly two decades of defining this area of scholarship, IHELG will continue to be a leader in the field of study.

Institute research priorities include several comprehensive projects, as well as smaller specific studies. Each will be undertaken as resources permit, and will be directed by Institute affiliates and staff, UH faculty, and other Institute-affiliated scholars from around the world.

* University/Corporate Governance and Intellectual Property. As universities become increasingly involved in externally funded research activities, a number of legal issues arise concerning university patent policies, copyright and royalty rights, faculty authority, tax policies, and university autonomy. IHELG research will explore these developments in intellectual property on campus. A comprehensive survey of 1000 Texas faculty, "Faculty Attitudes Toward Industrial Research on Campus," was published in 1989. In addition, IHELG has produced a book on Colleges and Unrelated Business Income Taxation (UBIT).  In 1999, IHELG and the UHLC Intellectual Property and Information Law Program collaborated on a major conference, College, Cyberspace, and Copyright:  Intellectual Property Issues on College Campuses.  

* Legalization of the Academy. This project will include a comprehensive review of legislation and litigation affecting postsecondary education. While it is clear that more laws have been enacted and litigation directed at universities, it is unclear whether this is a phenomenon affecting all sectors of U.S. organizations or whether the trend disproportionately affects education.  What have been the costs and the benefits?  How are universities reacting to external forces?  These important questions will be explored through case studies and other approaches, and the results will be utilized to improve the legal practices of institutions.  A study of litigation in Texas colleges was published in 1988.  A major Institute casebook on this topic, The Law and Higher Education, has been widely used in law schools and schools of education. 

* Legal and Financial Issues in Student Residency Requirements.  Earlier IHELG research on this topic has proven to be exceedingly useful to legislators and institutional officials in understanding the issue raised by residency requirements to determine in-state status.  Several recent court cases have examined state requirements, and have posed fundamental questions concerning the extent to which states may classify students and the length of durational requirements.  National data have been gathered and analyzed, while case studies of different classification systems were conducted in key states.  Immigration legislation has also caused significant changes in this area, and major Institute work in this field has been published in books and law reviews.  The Spencer Foundation has generously provided funds for IHELG’s important work in this area.

* Student Legal Services.  Most institutions maintain administrative services for students, in addition to academic support services. This IHELG research project will survey campus legal services and judicial systems, and will examine the various means by which the services are funded and administered. This survey, the first such comprehensive study undertaken on the topic, should provide excellent baseline data and lead to a better understanding of legal issues involving students. Are there alternative means available to mediate campus disputes? If services are provided, what should be their procedures? How should these services be financed?

* University Retirement Systems and Pension Plans. It is generally agreed that the professoriate is aging, and fewer positions are opening for younger faculty. This could have severe consequences in the area of retirement systems and pension plans, particularly in states where economic growth has slowed. This project will select several key states, including Texas, and will examine significant legal issues concerning retirement systems. What is the effect of pension resources upon retirement decisions? What are the effects of federal, state, and private pension eligibility upon retirement decisions? Are there non-monetary issues that arise in pension planning? Can retirement plans be used in creative ways by institutional managers for meeting changing requirements for faculty? What are the effects of age discrimination statutes upon academic retirement plans?  IHELG staff were invited to consult with TIAA-CREF on this important topic.

* Reviews of Legislation and Litigation. IHELG staff have monitored major litigation and legislation affecting college governance, and have published work analyzing the trends.

Additional research is essential to remain current, to anticipate developing issues, and to work toward preventive practices that reduce the need for litigation. Resources for surveying such issues will be carefully invested in research topics and to convene educators and attorneys for discussions on the emerging trends. The Institute has convened parties for consultations on residency requirements, on issues concerning undocumented children in public institutions, on governance of science and technology, and on issues of informed consent in research. IHELG and the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) collaborated upon a major conference on academic freedom. Institute monographs have resulted on these topics.

* Higher Education Law Bibliography. The bibliographical resources for studying higher education law are growing, but are doing so in uncoordinated fashion. Monographs written by Institute affiliates have identified major publications, but no single source exists for categorizing the various periodicals, journals, law reviews, reporter services, and other legal resources where scholars and practitioners can turn when they wish to examine a higher education legal topic. The Institute will undertake a major bibliographical project that is multidisciplinary, comprehensive, and useful to a wide range of colleagues. The supplements to The Law and Higher Education also fulfill this responsibility, as do the extensive library and journal holdings, used widely by visiting scholars and IHELG staff.  There are plans to make all Institute publications and book titles available on CD-Rom.  In additon, the Institute’s website is being upgraded to provide even more useful services to this scholarly community.

Of course, this ambitious agenda will be reexamined regularly for its validity, and Institute resources will also be directed at other important projects that present a unique opportunity consistent with the IHELG mission. Additional resources will be necessary for ongoing research projects as well as for more specialized undertakings, but it is expected that any sponsored research will be undertaken only if it can be conducted freely and is consistent with the carefully-articulated foci of the Institute.

In addition, the Institute's service mission will continue to include activities designed to improve the administrative practice of college administration and to convene interested parties for study of legal issues affecting college governance. The specific activities include workshops, conferences, consultations, joint projects, and co-sponsorship of important group activities. For example, in 1993, the Institute convened a workshop on intellectual property policies for Houston area scientists, research administrators, and attorneys, and co-sponsored a seminar on educational finance litigation in Texas. A Higher Education Law Conference is designed to discuss higher education legal issues with Houston-area college administrators. Finally, the Sanchez Lecture series and other such forums will provide the UH community an opportunity to debate important legal issues concerning colleges and universities. Recent topics have included academic freedom, sexual harassment in the academy, the First Amendment, and the role of religion in higher education. In 1999, IHELG began an innovative training program, the Houston Roundtable, designed to prepare emerging scholars in the areas of higher education law and finance.  With the leadership of senior law scholars, the Institute hosted a small group of law faculty and college teachers in other fields to examine their research, compare notes, and develop their research agendas.  This three-day program, a model of cross-disciplinary scholarship and training, will alternate each year on legal and finance topics.  In a few years, a substantial number of scholars should be trained.

Through careful research and systematic inquiry, the Institute's work can be informed by and shared with colleagues. IHELG has become a model of research and service collaborations for improving the quality of higher education for the next twenty years.

Milestones Along The Way


IHELG established by UH Chancellor Barry Munitz. Professor Michael A. Olivas hired as Director and Professor of Education and Law.  First home dedicated in 415 Farish Hall.  Ford Foundation grant awarded.


First conference held, on topic of immigration and education.  Robert O’Neil delivers first Sanchez Lecture.


IHELG Research Affiliate Program established.  Conference for local and state educators hosted.  Residency program undertaken for faculty sabbaticals.


IHELG moves to UH Law Center, 3 BLB.  Hosts fifth conference, on racial harassment on campus.  Hundreth monograph issued.  Professor William Kaplin in residence to complete The Law of Higher Education (second edition).  Editor of Journal of Higher Education, Robert Silverman, in residence.


Awarded Spencer Foundation grant for major study of immigration reform upon higher education.  Papers from conference on college finance published by College Board as Prepaid Tuition Programs: Promise and Problems.  Sanchez Lecture delivered by SUNY New Paltz president Alice Chandler.  IHELG book on UBIT published.


IHELG remodels new suite in UHLC, 202 TUII.  Former UHS general counsel Susan Wheeler in residence.  Monograph number 175 published.  IHELG library purchases 5,000th book.   


First Houston Higher Education Law Roundtable held in Spring.  IHELG/Intellectual Property/Information Law Program Conference,  “IP Issues on Campus: Computers, Cyberspace, and Copyright.”  New Advisory Board named.


IHELG awarded over $1.5 million for the Ford Foundation and Andrew Mellon Foundation to undertake research on college debt and prepaid programs.


Twentieth Year Observances;
IHELG Library Named:
Institute Endowment Named:
IHELG publications on-line

The University of Houston  Institute for Higher Education Law and Governance (IHELG) provides a unique service to colleges and universities worldwide.  It has as its primary aim providing information and publications to colleges and universities related to the field of higher education law, and  also has a broader mission to be a focal point for discussion and thoughtful analysis of higher education legal issues.  IHELG provides information, research, and analysis for those involved in managing the higher education enterprise internationally through publications, conferences, and the maintenance of a database of individuals and institutions.  IHELG is especially concerned with creating dialogue and cooperation among academic institutions in the United States, and also has interests in higher education in industrialized nations and those in the developing countries of the Third World.

The UHLC/IHELG works in a series of concentric circles.  At the core of the enterprise is the analytic study of postsecondary institutions -- with special emphasis on the legal issues that affect colleges and universities.  The next ring of the circle  is made up of affiliated scholars whose research  is in law and higher education as a field of study.  Many scholars from all over the world  have either spent time in residence, or have participated in Institute activities.  Finally, many others from governmental agencies  and legislative staff concerned with higher education participate in the activities of the Center.  All IHELG monographs are available to a wide audience, at low cost.

IHELG has as its purpose the stimulation of an international consciousness among higher education institutions concerning issues of higher education law and the provision of documentation and analysis relating to higher education development.  The following activities form the core of the Institute’s activities:

  • Higher Education Law Library

  • Houston Roundtable on Higher Education Law/Economics

  • Publication series

  • Study opportunities

  • Conferences

  • Bibliographical and document service

  • Networking and commentary

  • Research projects funded internally or externally

Future Plans

After nearly twenty years of scholarship and service, IHELG will undertake  several new initiatives for its second twenty years.  These opportunities will require major philanthropic support and other resources:

Naming Opportunities


$1.0 million

IHELG Library

$  .5 million

IHELG Research Fellows (3)

$.75 million each

IHELG suites (3)

$100,000 each

Monograph Series


IHELG Research Fund


CD Rom/Website Project


Law Roundtable Project


Economics Roundtable Project


Research Assistantships (6)

$  50,000


Successful attainment of our 2002 goal will ensure that IHELG will be able to keep pace with the growing needs of the Greater Houston Area. The campaign for funds is purposely structured to concentrate on gifts from the private sector:  individuals, corporations, and foundations.

All gifts to the UHLC/IHELG are tax-deductible, as provided for in law, and may be paid over a period of several years for maximum financial advantage.  The campaign is equipped to accept gifts of securities and real property as well as outright cash pledges. A named or memorial gift will perpetuate a donor’s expression of esteem and respect – a wide range of these opportunities is available at significant gift levels.  Some examples of available named or memorial giving opportunities are listed above.

It is hoped that maximum advantage will be taken of these opportunities to permanently recognize individuals, corporations, and foundations.  In all instances, the Institute will follow the intentions of the donor regarding the style of recognition given.

To make your pledge contribution to the IHELG 2002 Campaign, please contact Professor Michael A. Olivas (713)743-2078, Dean Nancy Rapoport (713)743-2100, Mr. Greg Robertson (713)743-2207 or Mr. Sam Lasseter (713)743-8876.