tv Q A at 10 CSPAN December 25, 2014 7:00pm-8:01pm EST
yardley that recently retired after 33 years with the washington post. tv,on american history historians and authors discuss president lincoln's 1864 reelection campaign. and sunday afternoon at 4:00, trial by fire. chronicles the 84th infantry division during the battle of the bulge. find our complete television schedule at c-span.org and let us know what you think about the programs you are watching. us, or send us a tweet. join the c-span conversation and follow us on twitter. our q&a program is 10 years old now. to mark this decade of compelling conversation, we are featuring one interview from each year over this holiday season.
there is one now from 2008. >> this week on q&a, renu universitysident of of houston. chancellor of the university of houston, what is the biggest problem that people like you have when they think about the future of education? it is actually a double-sided problem. one is trying to see how is it that higher education provides
for so many individuals and so many that may not have college education. in from the other side of the coin, keeping american higher education competitive in the global marketplace. >> was the best thing about american higher education? >> i have been asked that question repeatedly. recently when i went to india, it allowed me to do a lot of reflection. successes have academic freedom. i think both of those, the model of governance and the creative space was to be very unique about american higher education. >> when did you go to india?
was there in march and had the privilege of meeting with the prime minister and the cabinet. we had a discussion about the future of higher education in india. i met many business leaders and vice chancellors. privilege of visiting my tiny little hometown. they felt i was in this position and they feel the collective community a compliment. has there ever been an indian as president or chancellor of the university in this country? >> not for a major research university. i don't believe so. i believe i am the first one. >> what impact does that have on your friends and your former countrymen? i think everybody is just so sometimes they
are scared. in tampa, it was a huge celebration. an accomplishment of the community. houston has a large indian population and i can't even tell you how open and welcoming and embracing they have then. invitation, ie don't have to go to dinner myself. first, tell us about the university of houston. how big is it? >> it was founded in 1927. and it is 57,000 students. it is a system of higher education so there are separate institutions that are separately accredited. i am chancellor of the university of houston system.
alumni that0,000 makes annual economic impact of $3.1 billion every year. 80% stay right there in the region. it is a very important university for houston. is the budget? >> over $1 billion. the last four years as provost? >> that's right. >> what you make the switch? how'd you get the job? i was there for four years and seven months and i believe the national average for provost's him where around there. i was there for about two years and i had many universities reach out to me asking to consider presidency or chancellorship. i wanted to make sure it's the right it. -- fit.
i wanted a university that is much of quality and because i do believe in that mission. i wanted public university. a global university. houston just seems to fit the bill. it was the university that excited me when the opportunity was open and available. i believe after the national search, they felt the same. i made a very unusual choice for texas. even houston. but i complement the board and the university for making that decision. >> who runs the board? >> there are nine members of the board and all nine of them are appointed by the governor. >> and your first day on the job was when? >> 15 of january. brand-new. >> where were you born? ,> i was born in northern india
about 220 miles away from new delhi. a very small town. >> what was life like in the early years? life was great. childhood was absolutely wonderful. my father was an attorney. my grandfather was an attorney. a very privileged family in town. i grew up in a lot of care and comfort. my father made sure education was very important. thatther always made sure whatever i did, it was outstanding. she would put her heart and soul in it, no matter what project they got to the school. and as i look at, i think both of them gave me a tremendous amount of values.
put your heart and soul in it and try to do your very best. that is where it is. town, i probably saw only for five movies -- four or five movies because there were not that many movie theaters. much not go out very because my father wanted to make sure that i had an escort. everywhere, the driver would take me. the transition here was wonderful. >> what was your religious space? >> i'm hindu. >> what does that mean compared to the other religions in india? hindus are predominantly in india, more than 80%. among thein a town
largelyon that is muslim. so i was very tuned to the muslim faith. but i went to a missionary school. tri-state,n the christianity, islam, and hindu. i have great respect for all of these. >> how do women figure in the hindu religion? religious point of view or a historical point of view, they have enjoyed a very important and very prominent position. there are goddesses and multiple of them. the predominant ones are goddesses for courage, victory, and more. it is pretty much mixed between men and women in india. it is the kind of environment i
grew in. i really didn't have any role model in terms of seeing any woman in my family or even in my town or my extended family that has gone to school. >> what year did you marry? >> 1974. >> how old were you? >> i was 18. >> i read that it was arranged. explain that. graduated from tolege and i wanted to go the masters program but my town did not have an all girls school. they insisted that i wanted to go away from the house and my
father was not very keen on it. i can understand why because it wasn't an acceptable thing. scholarship from india and i said i really want to go and study at the university because of wanted to thatlitical science and was the place for political science education. finally, my father gave in and sent me there. nine months later, our driver came to the door. home, and my mother was not well. the whole family was at home. my future husband, he found me. i cried and i said i absolutely want to study. i do not want to get married. my mother said it takes two or three years to find the right
match and it's ok. is just a short meeting and it will be over. i agreed to do that. i guess i was with my future husband for 29 minutes. he must've been keeping count because i wasn't. he and his mother decided it was a good match for him and he said yes. i thought -- father said it was a good match. i cried and i said no. to joke arounds that it was a democracy. two out of three votes and i got married. >> is that a tradition that is normal for families? time and evenhat today, most of the marriages are arranged but they do give little more opportunity now for young
men and women to meet and get to know one another. most of the time, the future husband or wife are introduced by the family. your father and mother, upper-class? >> yes, very much so. >> successful financially? how well did you live? >> very well. it was three-story, we had servants. it was a very privileged childhood that i had. >> and you are married to the same man today? >> yes. >> how many years? >> 34 years. this may sound crazy but did you ever fall in love with him? >> yes, i am very much in love with him. i fell in love with him very quickly because he is just a wonderful man.
he really is. love grows on you. and people asks me many times, when do you think you fell in love? i said i really don't know. wasably the minute it decided it was going to be. i started to fall in love. >> was it your father that found him? actually, my uncle lived in the same hometown. my uncle informed my father that cure was the young man studying in the united states, coming back for a month on vacation. he thinks it would be a good match. my father came to see him and invited him to come home to see me, i guess. >> what his name? >> savesh.
he was studying his phd and i followed him after we got married. a couple weeks after getting married, i was him -- with him in indiana. allid you have any idea at when you came back home from school that your father was about to introduce you to your new husband? >> no. absolutely -- i had no idea. that's why i cried so much. i was engaged the very same day and i did not eat until 10 days until i got married. i went to a hunger strike. it had nothing to do with him or the concept of marriage. this is my deep desire to do a phd. i somehow had that hunger in my belly to study and to get the highest possible.
-- the highest degree possible. that was all i wanted to do. >> where did they find this man? >> the family was in proximity so my uncle kind of new. is anhey think there eligible match, they ask for a resume. my uncle asked my dad to send my resume which my dad did with a photograph. in-laws.o my future but nobody knows it that time because people send resumes many places. i father sent a copy of the resume and a photograph to my would be husband here in indiana. i asked him later on, how long
it just took you a couple of hours to say yes? ini had your photograph front of me for a couple of months and i fell in love with the photograph. >> what happens if he did not like you? could he back out? >> absolutely. it was anticipated because he did not bring his dad with him. he can say he will go consult with father. they decided to take action and say yes because they had 35 resumes when he arrived in india to look over and do whatever. he decided he did not have time for all of that, 35 encounters. he liked what he saw. >> he picked you out of 35? >> in file, yes. but he saw only me.
>> did you apply for the job at university of houston as chancellor? yes. it they had hired a search agency and the search firm contacted me if i would be interested. i was also contacted by a couple of people from the university of houston that said to take a look at this presidency. a great place and something i would really enjoy. i did a lot of my homework and decided i would put my name in it. >> there were 200 applicants? >> it is typical. it may have been over 100. >> it is interesting, these selection processes. end, why do you think they picked you? methey told me they picked because i had fire in my belly. >> is that an old indian expression?
apparently, they interviewed for candidates -- four candidates. first they narrow down the search committee, they brought a candidates to meet with the first committee that included faculty, staff, alumni, and board members. then they fall back to the campus. actually, to a hotel. it wasn't even the campus. they did not want the search to be very exposed. in my mind, i was anticipating being invited back if i was still in the race along with my husband. you want to make sure your spouse also can carry on. >> what does he do now? >> a professor of industrial engineering. i left from there and that very same evening, they decided i was
their pick. it happened fast for me in both cases. >> i read a lot of material about you that there was a reference that they wanted you to take the school to the next level. in the case of the university of houston, was the next level? i did study in national databases to see exactly where university of houston is. and i also studied every possible state to see the kinds of measures. i could see a lot of potential. i decided i really need to hear from the community. we doled out a plan called the 100 day plan. the first hundred days, i will be out everywhere i can be, and also to come and give me my charge. tell me what you want to see
happen at the university of houston. i had over 12,000 suggestions. idea was they were absolutely hungry for the university of houston to become a nationally competitive research university. we have done a lot of analysis on that. what is it we need to do? and it think it is totally possible for the university of houston to become a top-tier public research university that offers a top-tier learning environment. to do that, it will take a whole community. saying, i heard you. this is what you said. this is the responsibility to make it that greater university. which means a philosophy from donors. engagement from alumni.
more ownership from leadership. statens a desire for the and the governor to see another top-tier university in the state of texas. and also, the congressional delegation. also, it means, what could it do to the country? so far, everything i hear is very positive. but it's a long path and a long journey. the proof in the pudding will be when we see everybody is pulling together. and theu have masters whole gamut of degrees? >> absolutely. a very classy university even though it was established for a very different purpose. somewhere along the journey, they built a fine university.
it is no longer a commuter university because we do have 5000 residential dorm spaces. generally, you will not find that calendar and quality of faculty here. we have nine national academies. >> what does that mean? >> the top faculty anywhere. >> who determines who gets to be in the national academy? academy nominates people to be part of the academy. so being in the national academy means you have made it among the selected in the world. we have a nobel laureate, pulitzer prize winners, tony award winners.
extremely great faculty. time, there are some programs that are ranked in the top 10 in the country. it top three, i mean. hotel and management programs ranked number two in the country. it is the law school, business school. it is excellence all across. there are some elements that have to be paid attention to in order for it to be recognized being a tier one research university. >> how much money do you get from federal taxpayers? grants for research? close to $50 million. >> how much this texas get? or texas a&m? >> quite a bit. ut austin and texas a&m have grants above $300 million.
>> each? >> yes. >> from the feds? >> total. >> what will it take for you to get more federal grants? these are not the areas that require that kind of intensive research investment and equipment with all kinds of chemicals and training. any university is really able to get more federal grants. program, orering -- to have medical school you need to have medical school. but now, that's our future going ahead because houston is the fourth-largest city. a global city and it's the energy capital of the world. we are quite strong in energy.
also, we have the largest medical facility in the world. and that is texas medical center. anderson, 17 entities in texas medical center. they have invited us to be a big player, and i think that future means we will need to create a bigger footprint in that area with or without medical school because there are so many areas in health care that are so much in shortage that we can really do a whole lot. >> i want to go back to the earlier story, if you don't mind. why did you get interested in political science? >> people inspire you.
teachers, it was just very inspiring. during my college days. i am glad they opened that so i could at least go to college. my professor for political always kept telling me that you can do anything you want to do. she would bring the english i reallyn though -- did not have proficiency in english? i could not speak at all that i could read with a lot of difficulty because i had taken english as a subject but had no practice speaking, listening, or writing. >> he still in touch with that political science professor?
>> she was in my hometown in march. >> you went on to get a political science degree phd? >> yes. >> you are 18 years old. 10 days after being introduced to your husband, you got married. what was the ceremony like? did you ever give up? you cry for 10 days. study andy wanted to by would be husband did ask to speak for five minutes to my father and allow him to speak with me for five minutes. he said, you don't seem happy. i am so happy, why are you not happy? i said it is nothing about you at all. i want you to study. we are going to the land of opportunity. america. you can do whatever you want and you can be whatever you want. i don't want a wife that doesn't have aspirations. he wanted me to study.
i did not think it would ever happen. but he kept his promise. , he had drafts of every research paper, just to check my grammar. he really was responsible for pushing me and moving me ahead. anytime i had gone to the next he is very proud of me. was he at the university of south florida? >> i followed him there. >> and he followed you to the university of houston. >> he started his job the day before i did. whatu are 18 years old and -- married. did you take a honeymoon? >> america became our honeymoon. >> when did you leave india?
>> probably one week or so. he went home for five days of vacation total. as soon as i got my passport and visa, we left. >> where did you go? >> and what did you do he was getting his ph.d., what did you do when you arrived? >> i within a month he took me to the graduate advisor at purdue in political science department. and he translated my dialogue with him and i said i want admission for masters. and he said, well, you know, you're not old enough and you probably should do a couple of years of bachelor's degree. and i can understand why because i was not able to even speak english. and as argumentative and as, you know, rigid-headed as i am, i said, well i finished my bachelor's. i have degree here. i want to do masters. and i was doing my masters. >> so this professor frank
wilson, at purdue who was the graduate director at that time, he passed away, unfortunately, too a couple of years ago. he said, ok, i'll let you take two classes sit in there and see how you do. if you pass, then we'll talk about it. so i sat in two classes. i took two classes, and i worked like i've never worked in my life. i watched eight hours of television a day just to get comprehension. >> what television? >> i love lucy. andy griffith. dick van dyke. just so that i can comprehend even english because i couldn't even get the accent. >> how did you in watching those programs how did that teach you english? >> well, i could at least understand some english and some i could follow from the actions. because if i just went to watch news, which i did too, although i didn't understand, and that is simply because there was nothing for me to put together in a context. so those shows really gave me a much better sense of language. so i started picking up. i started enjoying. i started watching more and more, more and more. and two months down the road, i mean i came there, i think in probably
i landed in west lafayette in july, and in august i was in masters classes. >> did you understand the classes when you sat in there? >> not the first one at all. i actually left the classroom crying. and my husband said what happened? and i said, well, i didn't understand anything at all. and he said, well, let's go talk to the professor and see and this professor actually was from texas and with a very heavy texan accent. and he said, you know, what it's ok, you'll get to it. he says i understand why you aren't getting it. so then, you know, we just he encouraged me just go and talk to professors individually. and, you know, it just took me maybe one month, i would say. >> and then i started to i would read a lot too. i mean i never went to class without having read that chapter from first page to the last page at least three times. >> how did you understand that though? >> well, because i knew the grammar. i could read with a lot of difficulty and then i'll ask me husband. he would translate it sometimes some things for me. >> what did you speak at home with him? >> hindi.
because i couldn't speak english. >> and what were your grades in those classes. >> i got both as. >> well, you know, that would probably drive people in that crazy who got ds and cs and they say, how does this woman do it? how did you do it? >> well ... >> i mean, in other words, people who could speak the language. >> because people spent three hours in the classroom. i spent probably 20 hours for the same three hours because i read the chapter three times before. i read the chapter three times later on. and i didn't have at that time technology to tape the lectures or any such thing. but basically i then followed from the books and i would visit the professor, and they were all always very nice. during their office hours, they expect the students to come. >> did you participate in the discussion in class? >> yes, i had to make my presentation which i did. but otherwise, in a slow free flowing conversation, probably not and the reason was because by the time i would formulate the sentence i want to say from hindi converting into english in my head, the conversation had just moved on.
so i really could never do a lot of interactive for the first couple of months. >> then i got a little more courageous. and by the time i was leaving from there and we are finishing the class, yes, i could do conversations. but i did form a study group. everybody helped me, basically, that's what it is. >> meanwhile you're married for a couple of weeks in the process, and you don't even know the man. and you're in a different country. had you ever been overseas before? >> no. never. i never sat on a plane before. >> and then in a class and speaking a language that you i mean any advice for others that are confronting the same problems? >> well, i just say have fire in your belly because that fire will keep you moving. have passion. >> where did you get the saying that is attributed to you for saying, "when life gives you lemons and everyone else is busy making lemonade, think about making margaritas." where did you get that?
>> i don't know. it just came some time many, many years ago, actually because i love margaritas. but after that somebody did bring me a card or sent me a card that had very similar line to it. so i have no idea they took it from me or i took it from them at some point in time, i have no idea. it's one of the many analogies i use. >> how many children? >> two daughters. >> no, where are they? >> both of them are ophthalmologists. and one is she's also a glaucoma surgeon. she did her fellowship in glaucoma. and she is a partner in practice in sarasota, florida. >> are they married or single? >> she is married. she married her sweetheart from high school, ninth grade. they both started to date. he's not indian. he's caucasian american. florida boy. and they got married five years ago. he's just a great guy.
and she's such a great gal. and the younger one she just is completing her residency in another two weeks from emery in ophthalmology and she's going for glaucoma fellowship to wills eye institute. >> so, i mean, i'm sure you've been asked this question before, but you didn't arrange the marriage for your daughter. >> no, not for the first one, obviously, because in ninth grade, actually that's pretty early even for americans, i would say to say i want to go see a movie with this boy in my class. when she came and said that, i said oh my gosh it's starting all ready. and my husband said, well, you deal with it. so they dated, and they just dated each other for 11 years and got married. >> what is your attitude about the arranged marriage idea? is it good or bad? >> well, you know, it worked great in my case. i know many cases it has worked great. i know in many cases it has not worked great. the reasons indian marriages do work very well is because it's the expectations you set.
you know, it's just the expectations are not just the romance. i mean the expectation are for marriage and you've got to make it work. a lot of time, actually woman ends up sacrificing as well. so what i would say about it? i think, i would not arrange marriage for my daughters, the younger one who's there now, simply because it's just too much of a responsibility. but, at the same time, i wouldn't want her to do it all by herself either because it doesn't bring in the wisdom that i have seen in the world. so many times i tell her this is what you need to look in a guy. and she's very good. i mean, so i hope it will work out between the two of us we'll figure out. >> i told you before we started that i'd read this book by fareed zakaria, which is a best seller, he's an indian by birth, american now. the post american world, and it's all about globalism and one of the subjects that you spend a lot of time on.
rather than talking about this book, in particular, if you were going to tell the american people what you saw in india this time around, and what you know about this country, what would you say the future for this country is? i mean because we're getting a lot of warnings that india and china are growing so fast that there's going to be some very heavy competition. >> well, competition is never bad. that's what we learn. that's one of the values of this country. in globalization, naturally the capital labor will flow to its advantage position. so the kinds of positions and jobs that have gone to india are where india has competitive advantage. the important thing for us not to cry about what kind of competition is being created about other countries. but to focus on what kind of competitive advantage we have in this country and strengthen that. >> in my view, higher education has always been a competitive advantage in this country. innovation, creativity, have always been a competitive advantage.
the freedom to think. the freedom to take risk always have been competitive advantage. so for america to stay competitive in this global world, is not going to be by keeping other countries, but it's going to be by developing competitive advantage. and that's why, i think, higher education is so critical. and it's the other side of the coin, as i said which is keeping america competitive in the global educational marketplace as well. >> what year did you get your ph.d.? >> i finished 1975, after a year-and-a-half. then my husband and i went back to india. >> for how long? >> five years. and during that time two daughters were born. and then, i decided to come back here five years later, and i came back to purdue with a one-year-old and a three-and-a-half-year-old i
started my ph.d. at that time. so i did my ph.d. in 1986. >> what did you do during those five years in india? and what did your husband do? >> he worked for two different places there and one was higher education training type of place more organizational development kind of an institute. and then he went into a private industry. but during that time, i worked within a company there, as well, for a short time. >> then once i got pregnant, i knew i had to stay home. so i started i picked up writing. so then i started writing fiction and poetry and publishing, which i still do, in hindi. >> what kind of in hindi? >> in hindi. i write fiction and poetry in hindi. and i publish it in india indian magazines. >> what kind of give us some story line? >> most of the time they are like a person like me which is mostly a person who has really
left the country and is now in america and those are the kinds of stories i like to read, as well. because there is a commonality of experiences that people like me who are the first generation of immigrants they face. so most of them are relating to that. >> have you written your own story in a fiction way? >> not yet. but one of these days, i think, i will. right now, i just don't have any time. >> now, are you an american citizen? >> yes. i'm an american citizen. >> do you have dual citizenship with india? >> i do not. india does offer. i think i might take my indian citizenship back as well. but right now, it's only american citizenship. >> do you sell your fiction in india? >> no, i do not sell. i basically write right now for magazines, but very popular magazines. because it is reaching out to the millions of people. i reach out to a selected group of people with my academic writings here.
so my desire is to be able to write when i want to write, feeling like i have wings, i can float. i don't have to really quote citations or anything like that. just very free flowing writing and want to reach out to the millions, that's the time i turn to either fiction or a couple of prose's also i've done or poetry. >> but then, also, it's to keep myself in touch with my language. >> why don't you publish that in english? >> one of these days i probably will. i'll probably write a story. i write otherwise for other things here. >> what's the difference between our political system in the united states and india's? >> well, first of all, this is a presidential system. india is a parliamentary system. in india it's a one person, or prime minister. you give all of the powers, the executive, legislative, judiciary, it seems sometimes everything falls within the prime minister, not judiciary, which seems sometimes. in other words, you have one person to hold accountable. and when things go wrong you
boot the person out. >> i mean here, separation of power. there are three separate groups and, you know, sometimes the executive says the legislature doesn't do this. the legislature says the executive doesn't do this. so those are different models. the most prevalent model in the world is a parliamentary system. >> the other difference, clearly, is a two-party system here. it's a multiparty system in india. i mean it's generally the parties that governments are built now by coalition government. there was time when there was dominance by one party, two parties, and now it's all multiparty. and there are many other differences like that, i would say. >> in 20 years from now, what will india look like compared to where it is today? >> well, it depends what india is able to do between now and 20 years. so one of the things i see which is really heart-warming to me is to see how easily india is
embracing the latest of technology, the latest of global challenges, it's absolutely mind-boggling. i go there once or twice a year and i still say, oh wow, i didn't see this before. >> give us an example of something you see there that you don't see here. >> well, it's like cell phones, for instance. i mean the servants there who would come there and take your i mean even like the vegetable seller, in my hometown, the milkman and the vegetable seller, they come to your doorstep to really sell you fresh produce. he has a cell phone. so i can call half-an-hour before and say, you know, this is what i want. so if he doesn't have it, he'll find some neighbor and bring that vegetable. >> to me, that kind of embracement of technology even though the person has absolutely no reading, writing, skills, i mean he's illiterate, completely, but uses a cell phone. so india is very good about embracing that. >> but at the same time, i also see that this whole technology and globalization is really not trickling down to the people.
and there is a whole section that is not touched in many, many ways in terms of their poverty. and, i think, if india can deal with that, can really create for us organizations where benefits and privileges of globalization are really coming down to the common people, i think, it would be a phenomenal, phenomenal place. but if they don't, then they have some serious challenges on hand too. >> in fareed zakaria's book, he says, "the most acute problem of plenty is the impact of global growth on the natural resources in the environment. it is not an exaggeration that to say that the world is running out of clean air, potable water, agriculture produce and many vital commodities." do you see that here? do you see that in india? >> i see it everywhere. i see it here. i see it in india. most definitely, i see that. in my hometown, when i was growing up, we never thought about water. i mean it was there all the time and taps everywhere. today, the water comes only for one hour in the morning from
five to six and for one hour in the evening, sometimes half-an-hour in the evening, that's it. >> in your hometown? >> in my hometown. >> even in a home of privilege like yours was. >> well, in a home of privilege they have their own system. so in my home, my brother's system, when the water comes, everything gets stowed underground in a tank with a bigger sized pipe that he has been able to get. and then everything is transported back to the top of the house water tank. so that when we are there, we don't feel a difference. water is there in water taps all of the time. >> but for people, in general, it only comes in the morning. you store it in drums. you take showers during that time. and if you somehow slept, you have no water left for the whole day. so for water to be there all of the time, and now for it to be only one to two hours a day electricity is gone every day from eight hours, six hours,
eight hours. i can see those issues very clearly. the water table is dropping. >> but it's not just about consumption in india. we have to realize that. it's about consumption in the entire world, and particularly in the industrialized world. we are in this country, responsible for the problems that we see in other parts of the world. we're all part of one world, one system. >> so yes, it's a great challenge, there's no doubt. >> did you ever think by the way your study of political science ph.d., did you ever think you might want to run for political office? >> no. actually, there was a time, a long, long time, still when i was doing those five years when i was in india between my master's and ph.d. that i was approached for a state seat to run and i said no. i studied political science, and i would stay with my science. so, no i don't think so. >> back to mr. zakaria's book, and i read this because it is a best seller right now, and some americans don't like what they're hearing here, and i want to get your perspective on it.
>> "nationalism has always perplexed americans," mr. zakaria writes. "when the united states involves itself abroad, it always believes that it is genuinely trying to help other countries better themselves. from the philippines and haiti to vietnam and iraq, the native's reactions to u.s. efforts has taken americans by surprise. americans take justified pride in their own country, we call it patriotism. and yet are genuinely startled when other people are proud and possessive of theirs." >> well, i think, this is true for every country. i won't just blame americans for it. but at the same time, you know, this whole approach and this is not just necessarily american approach, it has been, many scholars have written about it, is the approach of developed countries, that if we are going to developing countries, we are going there to help them. the fact is knowledge is bilateral, multilateral. they are best practices. there are things that we can learn, always. we can learn from africa. we can learn from latin america. we can learn from europe. >> and if we go to other countries thinking there is a culture, there's a local culture
there which is very rich. and if you impose something that is not conducive and synergize with the local culture, the chances are it will fail. however, if you take an idea, listen to the people and see what also you can learn for yourself as well as trying to share with them and let them adopt what is adoptable for them based on their local culture, i think, we can be more successful. >> speaking of culture, at the university of south florida, where you were 22 years and provost for four, what role did sports play there? what change did you see when you became more nationally known? and then what role will sports play at the university of houston? >> well, sports play a big role. i'm a big fan to athletics. i was trained at purdue and big ten. and i got involved. i was at a very impressionable age. so i really got into football and basketball very early on. so i love it. i enjoy it. and in enjoy other sports as
well. >> so when we were at the university of south florida, there was for quite some time conversation about having a football team because there was no football at the university of south florida. and i was president of the faculty senate the year when we actually proposed to have footfall finally. and we got approval for football. >> and as provost, i was very much involved. i went to, i would say, every single football and basketball and some other games, as well, as long as i was in town. and i took pride in it. i always encouraged faculty and donors. as a provost, for me to come out and say athletics are important was a very important message, also for people. so the university of south florida football team ranked number two in the country. and we saw the immediate impact in terms of people coming to the web site, or students wanting to apply to the university. so right there, you could see connection.
you could also see connection in terms of football increasing philanthropy for the university. and sometimes, the saying goes that if you have athletics everybody will just give to athletics. that's not true. even in the best, strongest athletics programs, only 10 percent of philanthropy goes to athletics. so really even, you know, raise the water, it raises all boats. >> now, at the university of houston in the '70s, they did have a very strong program. we're building it back. that's one of the desires. the community wants to see be football, basketball, we have a great baseball, softball very good programs. and they want to see it competitive. but there are many, many elements on what it would take for us to be competitive. so just like for taking research and learning in a competitive mode, i'm doing with the same thing with athletics too. >> at the university of south florida in tampa, how big is the university?
>> the university of south florida was 46,000 students for all four institutions there together, as well. and this is 57,000. >> and this is 57,000 in houston. and you say, that houston is what, the second or third most diverse school in the country? >> yes, houston as a city is fourth largest. the university of houston is either the most diverse or second most diverse university. >> what does that mean? >> that means that we have 14 percent african americans, 20 percent hispanics, 21 percent, asians and 38 percent whites. but the beauty is it's not just numbers. what really, overall, to me when i'm there, you can walk for a few minutes, five to 10 minutes, you will hear many languages in your ears. very international. but at the same time, you will see people not together, not hispanics just talking to hispanics. they are so melted together. this is the face of a future university of america. houston is a future of an american city and university
. >> wait a minute, you've got to go over those numbers gain. >> ok. >> fourteen percent african-american, 20 percent hispanic, 21 percent asian. >> twenty-one percent asians. >> and 38 percent white. >> and some international. >> how did that happen? >> houston is very diverse. and houston takes pride. houston as a city and a community takes pride in diversity and people's success. i mean like i arrived there, i am such a strange person, a strange choice for texas, even for houston. i have been welcomed and embraced unbelievably. >> yes, but given the diversity of the school, you'd be a perfect choice. >> yes, but there are diversity all around, as well, too. but the fact that i am the first person well, in a country forget it, but even for the university of houston, they haven't had they had a woman president before. they haven't had a woman chancellor and president before, either. in texas, in generally, there
have not been that many woman leaderships there. i am a different choice for them. and they went with this choice. i'm international. i mean i'm a woman. i am of a different color. i'm of different faith. i have different accent. i mean i am a different person. but they embraced me simply because i think the university and the city both celebrate diversity. >> and looking at now, the university that is there, it is a great thing that we provide access and outreach to so many first generation students. what we are lacking, right now, is giving them the biggest dream they can have, and that is to stay right here and be in the top tier or tier one public university. >> what would it cost to go to your school for a year, tuition to start with? >> well, the tuition and fee right now is about $5,100 maybe off a few dollars, somewhere there. >> if you live in state. >> right. if you're in the state. >> out of state, would be what?
>> about 15,000 i would say. >> and i saw somewhere you had a year recently a 14 percent increase in tuition. >> no, we haven't had 14 percent. tuition was deregulated in texas about four or five years ago because the state was really suffering from economic problems and at that point in time, they decided to really deregulate and let the universities decide what the tuition should be. so we stay very competitive, where other research universities are in texas. and actually, if you compare them nationally, we are on the very low side in terms of tuition and fees. >> but why is tuition around the company going up much master than inflation? >> well, that's a very good question, and a very good national question. the thing is, first you have to see what is the cost of producing a degree. ok, if you look at the cost of producing a degree, which is a higher education index, it has
really not been going up that high. >> but then the question comes if you determine the cost of a degree production is a certain amount of dollars, and the best way to look at that would be private institutions, because they're not getting any funding from anywhere else, what is it that they're charging? the average private university tuition right now for bachelor's is about $23,000. if you think that is the cost of producing a quality degree, then the only issue that is left is who's going to pay for it? would that state pay for it? would the parents pay for it? or will the students pay for it? and the shift has definitely come throughout the country where the state's portion has declined. and then the parental portion is there, but it's declined and the students end up taking loans to for tuition. so that's all this is about. and i keep seeing, really, when more and more countries are investing more and more in higher education, i mean even poor countries, they don't have really food, they are making that choice, knowing that it's important for future.
we really need to think, as a nation, and, you know, and all of the states, as to what kind of investment we need in higher education. i mean today, many of the universities, purdue university is probably, i don't know what the latest figure is but very close to 11 to 12 percent of their budget comes from the state. >> what's the percentage at houston? >> for the university of houston it's 30 percent is coming from the state. >> and is that going down every year? >> yes. >> we only have a minute left, is it true that you don't have sleepless nights? >> yes. i actually sleep very well. i really do not have sleepless nights because i am a very transparent person. when i have to make a decision, i make it. i say it exactly why. and, i actually, don't keep too many skeletons in my closet. >> someone said you can be rather direct. >> i'm very direct. >> how do we know that? at what point, do we know you're being direct? >> well, i for instance, somebody will come, and i said, well, we
really need to increase retention rates. why is it that 25 percent of the students they come in and they drop out in the first year? i said, it's not acceptable. and then people will come to me with different excuses or this is how it has been historically and we can't change too much. i said i didn't ask you whether or not we can change it. i asked you how we can change. so please go back and get me my answer and bring me more than one so that it know then what's responsible. i push myself hard, and i just like to push my team very hard. and, i think, when you have the vision and it's a collective vision i think, everybody is willing to walk together. >> thank you very much. chancellor of the university of houston and president of the campus at the university of houston. thank you. >> thank you very much. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2014] [captioning performed by national captioning institute]
>> for a dvd copy, call for transcripts, or to give comments about this program. q&a programs are available as c-span podcasts. is 10 years old. each interview from the last decade is available online. you will find interviews of howard university president wayne frederick, michelle r hee, and perdue university president mitch daniels. tomorrow, s.e. cupp.