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ASSEMBLY REMARKS

FALL 2016

 

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Good Morning,

It is great to be back and to start the new academic year.

Nine years ago, I stood before you – having just been appointed as Provost.  In my remarks, I talked about the three guiding principles that shape my approach to what a University should strive to be about.  The first of these is the development of HUMAN CAPITAL.  We are in the business of preparing the next generation of entrepreneurs, captains of industry and leaders who can compete in the global marketplace.  The second is that a University should be an economic engine for the region.  We need to teach our graduates to be entrepreneurial and we need to be entrepreneurial ourselves.  After all, isn’t research/scholarship an entrepreneurial activity?  Finally, a University needs to evolve – not change for change’s sake but evolve so we become better at doing the three things we are asked to do – teach, engage in research/scholarly activity and provide service to the institution, the community and the profession.  This morning, I want to take you on a journey, albeit a short one, over the past year to demonstrate how successful we have been at these three pillars and to talk about the coming year.

Let me start by congratulating each one of you, faculty and staff for the great job you do.  We have been very fortunate over the past year to receive a number of accolades and recognitions, I have highlighted a few of them.

  

University Recognitions (SLIDE 2)

  • The Economist ranked TAMIU 9th nationally for the value of our degrees. That is we did better than expected based on our student profile
  • We were ranked as the 22nd safest school in Texas and the 5thsafest public institution by NICHE.
  • Money Magazine ranked us in the top 40 among affordable schools nationally – only College Station ranked higher.
  • Eduventures ranked TAMIU as the number one Master’s granting institution in the country for student success. We outdid 206 other institutions. Congratulations go out to all of you for this ranking but especially to Minita Ramirez and her staff in Student Success, especially the Recruiting Office and Orientation and Conchita Hickey and the team in University College.  I might add that much of our success is because we have adopted most of the high impact practices, including undergraduate research and will add Global Learning in the spring when we kick off the Signature Courses.

 

College Recognitions (SLIDE 3)

  • MBA Program ranked 3rdnationally among the 50 most affordable.
  • MSCJ ranks 25stamong top 50 on-line CJ programs.
  • MPA ranks 31stamong top on-line MPA programs.
  • MS in Counseling Psychology ranks among the top 15 programs based on affordability.
  • The College of Education was recognized as the number one program in Texas among Universities with BS degrees in Education. The pass rate on the State teacher exam is 98%. We have come a long way in the last five years. Thanks to Dean Weitman and the faculty and staff of the College of Education for their dedication to our students and their desire to make this a premier program.

 

Faculty Recognition (SLIDE 4)

  • Rohitha Goonatilake was elected to the TAMUS Chancellor’s Academy of Teacher Educators. He is only the second TAMIU faculty member to be selected.
  • Jerry Thompson was named the winner of the Fray Francisco Atanasio Domínguez Award by the Historical Society of New Mexico for his book “A Civil War History of the New Mexico Volunteers and Militia”.
  • José (Pepe) Cardona-Lopez received the Peruvian Lifetime Contribution to Literature Award.
  • Jim Norris was awarded the Phi Kappa Phi Love of Learning Grant.

 

Student Recognition (Slide 5)

  • Stephanie Martinez was appointed by Governor Greg Abbott as The Texas A&M University System Student Regent. She is the first female Hispanic and the first TAMIU student to be selected
  • The DustySWARM Team, under the direction of Tarik Tashtoush, won third place in the virtual competition and first place in the outreach paper category at the first NASA Swarmathon
  • The DustyTRON Team, also under the tutelage of Dr. Tashtoush, took 16thplace out of 45 teams at the NASA Robotics Mining competition.  This was their second year of competition
  • The ENACTUS student group took first place in the regional competition and competed successfully at the national level. They were guided by Rob Evans and Andreas Rivas
  • TAMIU Mariachi Group, under the guidance of Oswaldo Zapata, took first place at a regional competition this summer in Albuquerque, New Mexico
  • Jessica Prieto and Keiona Matthews were named All-Americans in basketball. They are the third and fourth TAMIU athletes to receive this honor.

 

I would like to touch on some of the metrics that have driven many of the accolades we have received.  Much of this data was presented at the programmatic budget review and will be part of our presentation at the budget hearings next month.

 

Slide 7 Enrollment trends – We saw a slight downturn in enrollment last fall.  This was due primarily to the loss of dual enrollment students from United ISD.  However, thanks to input from Noel-Levitz and the new recruiting strategies that Student Success has adopted, it looks like we will have our largest freshman class.   

 

Slide 8 Semester Credit Hours – Despite the slight drop in enrollment, semester credit hours are up again.  This reflects concerted efforts across campus to encourage students to take 15 hours rather than 12.  In fact, the average number of credit hours per student has risen over one credit hour in the past four years. This is a significant increase.

 

Slide 9 Persistence rates – We are the highest among the regional institutions in the A&M System and among the highest in the state.  Congratulations go to all of you but especially to University College and Student Success

 

Slide 10– Comparison of Persistence Rates – You can see we are above the state average for first year persistence and slightly below the state average for six year persistence and graduation.

 

Slide 11 Degrees awarded  We continue to see increases in degrees awarded. However, the average number of credit hours our graduates accumulate is 142, and our average time to degree is over 10 semesters.  We need to improve advising, especially at the upper division level to ensure our students graduate on time.

 

 

Slides 12 and 13 – Four and Six year graduation rates.   Not very good for four year, although we are in middle of the pack within the System.  Six year graduation rates put us third behind College Station and Tarleton.

 

Slide 14 – Student/Faculty Ratio – As you can see, the student/faculty ratio has decreased since the budget crisis of 2011.  We are among the highest in the System, along with College Station (23:1) and Corpus (23:1). We would like to reduce to 19:1 or 20:1.

 

FINANCIAL DATA

 

Slide 16 – State AppropriationDespite a slight increase in appropriations in the last legislative session, we have not returned to the funding level of FY 2010 and FY 2011.  This year, we will have slightly less than $25M in state appropriations.  We are working hard to increase credit hour production for this fall and next spring, both base period semesters.

 

Slide 17 – Revenue Budget  The pie chart gives you an idea of the different revenue streams that make up our budget.  Tuition and fees have become a larger portion of our revenues over the past several years as state revenue has declined.

 

Slide 18- Expense Budget As you can see, almost 50% of our expenditures are personnel costs, with scholarships second. We rank very high within the System in terms of average faculty salaries at all levels.

 

Slide 19 Administrative Costs – We have made a concerted effort over the past several years to reduce our administrative costs.  We have one of the lowest administrative costs in the System.

 

Slides 20-21 – Tuition and fee comparisons.  We are still very affordable, despite our modest tuition increases.  AS mentioned earlier, we have received national recognition for our low cost and the high value of our degrees

 

Slide 22 – We are planning an average 2% merit increase for this year. The increase is dependent on fall semester credit hours.  The increase would go into effect November 1 and would be realized on your December check.

 

 

 

 

 

PROGRAM SUCCESS

Slide 24

Nursing and Health Sciences – In the past year, the MSN program was accredited for eight years.  Congratulations to Glenda Walker and the nursing faculty.  The BSN students passed the NCLEX (national nursing exam) at 94%, one of the best pass rates in the State. Not to be outdone, 100% of the MSN/FNP graduates passed the exam.  The College was successful in obtaining a $466,000 grant from Methodist Healthcare Ministries that made it possible to hire six additional faculty members and increase cohort size from 60 to 100.

 Education – Graduates of the Teacher Education program have attained a 98% pass rate on TeXes Certification Exam.   The Faculty and staff in the College are to be congratulated for taking a nearly dead program and making it the best in Texas. The College also received a $350,000 grant from LBV Trust , which allowed for the expansion of the Literacy Centers in both Laredo and United ISD’s.  In addition, the College was recognized for having the highest retention rate among teachers in the State.

Slide 25

ARSSB – The Sanchez School of Business has added new degree options in international trade and logistics to the MBA to better serve the region.  They have also expanded the concentration offerings in the on-line MBA program.  The highly acclaimed IBC Speaker series was extremely successful this past year with a wide range of speakers.  The seminars averaged over 350 attendees. 

 

Arts and Sciences – The Department of Psychology and Communication held the first international conference on Latin American Communication Research in a Transnational Setting.  The conference drew participants from the United States, Mexico and Europe. The KLRN/TAMIU Studio in Canseco Hall was officially opened in the fall and is being used by faculty and students.  The initial cohort of Texas Academy students graduated in May. Over 60% of them are remaining at TAMIU.

Slide 26 University College – University College was very busy this past year.  They led the revised the Multidisciplinary degree by creating several options including pre-law and sports management.  The Testing Center was recognized as one of the top 100 CLEP centers in the country.  We also saw an increase in the use of both the Writing Center and the Tutoring Center.  In addition, more faculty are embracing Supplemental Instruction.  Thanks to Conchita Hickey and the staff in University College for the great work they did this past year.  As you know Catheryn Weitman took over the reins of University College in June.

Slide 27 Library – The Killam Library added new databases in an effort to improve and expand access for faculty and students to materials for scholarship and teaching. They also simplified database searches by interfacing the databases with WorldCat Discovery and last week launched a new website.

Graduate School/Research – The office of Research and Sponsored Research was recognized as among the best research compliance operations in the System.  Grants from VISTA and VITA have allowed us to improved community outreach and increase the number of literacy centers in the Districts.  The Si Texas grant, a partnership with several health organizations in Laredo, and funded by MHM is going to change how integrated health care management is done in this region.  Accolades go out to Glenda Walker and John Kilburn who have led this effort, even at times when it was most challenging and we were not sure if we would get it off the ground

Slide 29

Student Success – Based on the recommendation of Noel-Levitz, a new Presidential Scholarship program was created. This program allows for the automatic awarding of scholarships to academically talented students.  International Programs has aggressively marketed study abroad.  As a result, we have seen an increase in the number of students participating in study abroad and an increase in the number of faculty who are leading these programs. Student Engagement also received the President’s Award for Community Engagement.  Our students donate thousands of hours to community service.  The Office of Recruitment has recruited the largest freshman class we have had to date. Finally, the second year of Discover TAMIU was a great success despite the cold weather.  Thanks to Gina Gonzalez and her committee who organized this important outreach event.

  Athletics – This past year, 8 of 11 teams competed in post-season play.  Eighty-four student-athletes were named to the Heartland Conference Academic Honor Roll.  This represents 30% of athletes.

Slide 30

Development – This year, Institutional Development created the Student Philanthropy Council to instill a giving spirit in students.  They raised $7,000 and established a new endowed scholarship. This past spring, we saw the largest participation of students in the ring ceremony.  Participation by both students and employers in career fairs has increased dramatically. In addition, close to 30% of the class of 2016 participated in the inaugural senior campaign.

Public Relations and Marketing – The redesigned TAMIU.edu web site was launched this summer.  The new design was based on recommendations from Noel-Levitz.  We have improved our social media as well as our local media presence.  Finally, Public Relations and Marketing received 20 national industry awards.   Congratulations to Steve Harmon and his staff.

 

Slide 31

University Success – We helped deliver a very productive collaboration with the Texas A&M Law School in Ft. Worth.  They held a three week course at TAMIU this summer – Border Law.  They engaged the university community, local, state and federal law enforcement in the area, the local judiciary and attorneys and elected officials. The program was very successful.  Five TAMIU students participated in the course.  This collaboration will continue and hopefully expand, possibly leading to a guaranteed admission program, similar to our medical school programs.

 

We signed an agreement with the University of Texas School of Public Health to develop a joint BS/MS in Health Informatics.   This program is similar to our BAMA program.

 

SLIDE 33 Academic Program Development

 

BS in Interdisciplinary Engineering

In Development:

PhD in Criminal Justice

Joint EdD in Educational Leadership with WTAMU

BS in Public Health

In Planning:

MS in Kinesiology

MS in Systems Engineering

MS in Communication Disorders

 

There has also been some discussion about undergraduate degree programs in sports management, sports and leisure studies and hospitality management as well as a MS in athletic training.

Slide 34

We are submitting our SACS follow-up report the end of the month.  However, we still need to be vigilant about engaging in assessment of our courses and programs.  Karyn Miller and her staff will be visiting with all units this fall to discuss assessment.

 

We will launch Signature Courses in the spring.   We have had a great response to the call for proposals and twelve proposals have been accepted.  Remember, this is part of your teaching load

 

We are going to launch the Presidential Speaker Series this year.  Catheryn Weitman is chairing a committee looking at potential speakers.  Anyone who has suggestions should contact her.

 

QEP is in full swing. There will be ample opportunity this year for training on critical thinking strategies and assessments. Encourage you to engage students in your scholarship.

 

Slide 35

 

Accreditation for Engineering, Music and Counseling Psychology

Compliance will take up more and more of our time and effort.

Campus Carry

Legislative Session

  • Outcomes-based funding a possibility
  • LAR - $6M over biennium for engineering
  • Budget

Marketable Skills and 60 by 30

Slide 37 Capital Program Update.

Slide 38-43  Pictures of new building