Jeff Sandefer

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Jeff Sandefer
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Bachelor'sUniversity of Texas
Master'sHarvard Business School
BirthdayJuly 16, 1960
Place of birthAbilene, Texas
Office website
Jeff Sandefer is an entrepreneur and professor who co-founded the Acton School of Business.[1]


Sandefer was born in Abilene, Texas.[2] After beginning his business career while still in high school, Sandefer earned a degree in petroleum engineering from the University of Texas.[3] He then received his M.B.A. from Harvard Business School in 1986.[4]

Sandefer began teaching at the University of Texas in 1990. About his time at Harvard, Sandefer said: "I loved the Socratic Method at Harvard—the idea that questions are more important than answers and being in the shoes of the protagonist, having to make decisions."[5] Sandefer started the Acton School of Business. He was previously named as one of the top entrepreneurship professors by BusinessWeek. He has worked as a director of National Review magazine and served as chairman of the Acton Institute of Religion and Liberty. He was a member of Texas Governor Rick Perry's 21st Century Commission on Higher Education.[6]

Acton MBA

In 2002, Sandefer left his position teaching at the University of Texas to found the Acton School of Business. One year later, Princeton Review ranked Acton in the top three among business schools based on student quality, teacher quality and overall experience. Sandefer reduced the length of an MBA to 11 months, which would allow some students to receive their degree for half the cost.[3]

Higher education reform

Sandefer is considered the architect behind the "7 Solutions" system for higher education reform. In 2011, Randy Diehl, Dean of the University of Texas, Austin College of Liberal Arts, rejected the 7 Solutions and called them "the wrong approach." Diehl and other University of Texas professors launched a website in response to the 7 Solutions.[7][8][9]

Texas A&M University System adopted the bonus-pay model from the 7 Solutions.[2][10]

7 Solutions

1. Measure teaching efficiency and effectiveness

Goal (timed out): Improve the quality of teaching by making use of a public measurement tool to evaluate faculty teaching performance that makes it possible to recognize excellent teachers.

2. Publicly recognize and reward extraordinary teachers.

Goal (timed out): Create a financial incentive to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of teaching at Texas’ colleges and universities that will help attract the best teachers from across the nation.

3. Split research and teaching budgets to encourage excellence in both.

Goal: Increase transparency and accountability by emphasizing teaching and research as separate efforts in higher education, and making it easier to recognize excellence in each area.

4. Require evidence of teaching skill for tenure.

Goal (timed out): Highlight the importance of great teachers by evaluating teaching skill in nominating and awarding faculty tenure.

5. Use "results-based" contracts with students to measure quality.

Goal (timed out): Increase transparency and accountability to students with learning contracts between Deans, department heads, and teachers that clearly state the promises of each degree program to each student.

6. Put state funding directly in the hands of students.

Goal: Increase college access and make students the actual customers for higher education with student-directed scholarships for undergraduate and graduate education with funding from the state’s current appropriation that goes directly to colleges and universities. View full solution (PDF).

7. Create results-based accrediting alternatives.

Goal (timed out): Encourage greater competition in higher education and more choices for students by creating an alternative accrediting body that would focus on results and the college’s or university’s ability to uphold any obligation or promise made to the student.

Wallace Hall impeachment

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University of Texas Investigations

Wallace Hall impeachment trialPolitical favoritism in admissions to the University of TexasForgivable loans program at the University of Texas Law School House Select Committee on Transparency in State Agency Operations (TSAO)Joint Committee on Oversight of Higher Ed Governance, Excellence & Transparency

UT Regents
Wallace HallPaul FosterEugene PowellSteven HicksErnest AlisedaJeffery HildebrandBrenda PejovichAlex CranbergRobert Stillwell

Elected Officials
Rick PerryJoe StrausCharles PerryTrey FischerDan FlynnNaomi GonzalezEric JohnsonLyle LarsonCarol AlvaradoFour PriceJim PittsDan Branch

UT Individuals
Bill PowersLarry SagerBarry BurgdorfKevin HegartyFrancisco CigarroaCarol Longoria
See also: Wallace Hall impeachment trial

Texas state legislators are exploring an unprecedented legal step -- impeaching an appointed official. University of Texas Regent Wallace Hall, who was named to the post by Governor Rick Perry, is the subject of an investigation by a Texas state house committee. Legislators who are in favor of the impeachment process initially set out to investigate whether Hall failed to disclose information on his regent application, revealed protected information about students and exceeded his role as a regent in requesting massive amounts of information. Although the committee left open the possibility of revisiting impeachment, an August 11, 2014 vote passed 6-1 to censure Hall, possibly bringing a close to the more than year-long process.[11]

After he was appointed in 2011, University of Texas Regent Wallace Hall began looking into what he believed to be clout scandals within the University of Texas system. Hall investigated the university's forgivable-loans program and admissions policies and preferential treatment to politically-connected individuals.[12] Hall, as an individual citizen, filed FOIA requests with the University system after his inquiries via his role as a Regent were rebuffed.[13] According to his accusers, Hall filed requests of more than 800,000 pages, which some Texas administrators called an unnecessary burden.[14][15] However, a letter from University chancellor Francisco Cigarroa in February 2014 said that Hall likely requested fewer than 100,000 pages.[16][17] In addition, Cigarroa wrote: "During testimony before the Select Committee, some early witnesses implied that the U.T. System has not protected the privacy rights of students, staff, and patients. This is simply not true."[18]

An effort was begun in June 2013 to try and impeach Hall from his position as regent. Some legislators are justifying the impeachment on the grounds that Hall did not disclose several lawsuits that he was involved in when he originally completed his Regent background check. Hall updated Governor Rick Perry's office in April 2013 with the full list.[19][20] The lack of lawsuit disclosure by Hall is not unique -- more than 9,000 lawsuits were not disclosed by other appointed Texas officials.[21] No unelected official in Texas has ever been successfully impeached or removed from office.[22] Governor of Texas Rick Perry's spokesperson said the investigations send a "chilling message" to gubernatorial appointees.[23] He added that the investigation was "extraordinary political theater."[24] Texas state legislators have never previously tried to remove an appointed official. Only two elected officials in the history of Texas have ever been successfully impeached.[25]

Sandefer called Hall "bravery under fire" in an email seeking support for the regent.[26][27] In an October 2013 op-ed, Sandefer wrote about the University of Texas, Austin's U.S. News ranking drop in relation to the impeachment investigation against Hall. Sandefer called Hall a whistle-blower who has suffered "vicious personal attacks.[28]

In December 2013, the organization Empower Texans sent a mailer criticizing committee chair Carol Alvarado. The mailer stated that lawmakers improperly focused on Hall's behavior, rather than investigating the allegations of clout at the University of Texas, Austin. Alvarado called the mailer the action of "an outside group that’s trying to influence an investigation." Empower Texans president Michael Quinn Sullivan said the legislature was engaging in a "whitewashing" of potential university wrongdoings. "We're impeaching someone for asking questions," he said. Sandefer is on the board of Empower Texans.[29][30]


Sandefer has a wife, Laura. Together they started the Acton Academy. He and his ex-wife have one daughter.[5]

See also

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External links

Additional reading


  1. Acton Academy, "People," accessed November 25, 2013
  2. 2.0 2.1 Austin American Statesman, "Ex-oilman's drive for market-based education has influenced governor, prompted a backlash," May 9, 2011
  3. 3.0 3.1 Acton MBA "Jeff Sandefer Reinventing MBA," accessed November 25, 2013
  4. Dallas Morning News, "How Texas oilman Jeff Sandefer got control of 17 billion barrels of Australian reserves," June 27, 2011
  5. 5.0 5.1 Center for Ethics and Entrepreneurship "Interview with Jeff Sandefer," October 1, 2012
  6. Philanthropy Roundtable, "Jeff Sandefer," accessed November 25, 2013
  7. Texas Higher Education, "7 Solutions," accessed November 25, 2013
  8. Texas Tribune, "Higher Ed Guru: Seven Solutions a "Good Start,"" October 13, 2011
  9. Texas Tribune, "UT Dean Rejects "Seven Solutions" in New Report," July 6, 2011
  10. Texas Tribune, "Who's behind proposed reforms to Texas Higher Ed," March 16, 2011
  11. Dallas Morning News, "Panel censures but doesn’t impeach UT Regent Wallace Hall," August 11, 2014
  12. American Spectator, "Transparency for Thee," October 25, 2013
  13. Daily Texas Online, "Facing impeachment, Regent Wallace Hall defends actions in debate with Sen. Kirk Watson," September 28, 2013
  14. Daily Texas Online, "Former UT System vice chancellor alleges Regent Wallace Hall’s ‘clear intent to get rid of Bill Powers’," October 24, 2013
  15. Dallas Morning News, "UT regent sought 800,000 documents, official says in impeachment hearing," October 22, 2013
  16. Watchdog, "‘Witch hunt’ fallout: Speaker calls for narrower public records law," February 5, 2014
  17. Texas Tribune, "UT System Responds to Transparency Committee Directives," February 3, 2014
  18. Texas Tribune, "Cigarroa letter to the Committee on Transparency in State Agency Operations," February 1, 2014
  19. Texas Tribune, "UT Regent Wallace Hall Updates Lawsuit Disclosures," April 30, 2013
  20. Real Clear Policy, "The Campaign Against Wallace Hall," August 15, 2013
  21., "Case against UT regent Wallace Hall is a sham — here’s proof," September 6, 2013
  22. News-Journal, "University of Texas regent not worried by impeachment inquiry," September 9, 2013
  23. Texas Tribune, "Transparency Committee to Mull Impeachment of UT Regent," June 25, 2013
  24. Texas Tribune, "Perry Blasts Impeachment Probe of Wallace Hall," October 30, 2013
  25. Texas Public Radio, "UT Regent Wallace Hall Will Testify In Impeachment Hearing," November 13, 2013
  26. Houston Chronicle, "Embattled regent lauded by controversial Perry higher ed guru," August 19, 2013
  27. Alcalde, "Seven Solutions Author Defends Wallace Hall," August 19, 2013
  28. Dallas Morning News, "UT slips to No. 52 in US News rankings amid faux prestige," October 14, 2013
  29. Houston Chronicle, "Empower Texans mailer criticizes Hall impeachment panel," December 19, 2013
  30. My San Antonio, "Clout Mailer from Empower Texans," December 19, 2013