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ASSEMBLY REMARKS

FALL 2017

 

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Good Morning,

It is great to be back and to start the New Year. 

Last year, I stood before this group as Interim President, not knowing for sure what the future held, both for TAMIU and myself. I wanted to make sure we carried forward the agenda that was in place at that time.  In November, I was appointed President.  In April, at my Investiture, I laid out my vision for TAMIU and GOING BEYOND where we are.  I will briefly touch upon those broad goals later in my presentation.  

This morning, I will stress how we have GONE BEYOND and the recognitions we have received for our entrepreneurship, our scholarship and our commitment to our students, our community and our state.

I want to reemphasize the three guiding principles that shape my approach to the continued evolution of TAMIU.  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. We need to ensure that our graduates have the skills and knowledge to continue to be competitive in the ever-evolving global marketplace.  The second principle is that TAMIU should be an economic engine for the region.  We need to teach our graduates to be entrepreneurial and we need to be entrepreneurial ourselves.  Finally, TAMIU needs to advance strategically so we become better at doing the three tasks we are asked to do – teach, engage in research/scholarly activity and provide service to the institution, the community and our professions.

Let me start by congratulating each one of you, faculty and staff for the outstanding job you do.  Because we GO BEYOND in everything we do, we have been very fortunate this past year to receive again, a number of accolades and recognitions.  Several of them are highlighted on the next two slides.

 

University Recognitions (SLIDE 2 and 3)

  • We were ranked among the best in the Country for Master’s Programs and Best Bang for the Buck by Washington Monthly’s College Guide Ranking.

 

  • We were ranked third among the top 10 best colleges for economic mobility and the only one in Texas as reported by Zippia. This is the second study done in the past year in which we were ranked third in the nation. 

 

  • We were ranked 33rd among the top 100 schools nationally and the top school in Texas in Student Success as reported by Eduventures. Congratulations go out to all for this ranking but especially to Minita Ramirez and her team in Student Success and Cathryn Weitman and the team in University College. 

 

Many of the recognitions listed on the next slide are related to our affordability and the quality of our programs.  I do want to highlight one recognition, which is at the bottom of the slide. 

 

We had an outstanding debut of the KLRN documentary Rhapsody on the Rio Grande: A Confluence of Cultures.  Thanks to Colin Campbell the composer of Rhapsodia del Rio Grande, on which the documentary was based, Brendan Townsend and the Laredo Philharmonic and our artists in residence – Mariachi Nuevo Tecalitlan.  The documentary was not only shown in the KLRN viewing area, it was shown in the Corpus Christi viewing area to rave reviews.

 

  • TAMIU ranked among the Top 15 Most Affordable Bachelor’s degrees by AffordableSchools.

 

  • TAMIU ranks eighth among Southern colleges in Washington Monthly’s 2016 Best Bang for the Buck.

 

  • TAMIU ranks sixth among 30 best Texas Universities in Financeopedia’s 2017 Review for an “…almost impossible to beat net price.”

 

  • On-line College Plan ranks TAMIU 34 out of the top 50 Online Hispanic-serving Institutions.

 

  • TAMIU was recognized by LearnHowToBecome.org as one of Texas’ Best Learning Environments.

 

  • Successful Debut/Premiere of Rhapsody on the Rio Grande, a collaboration between Colin Campbell, the Laredo Philharmonic Orchestra and KLRN.

 

College Recognitions (SLIDE 4 and 5)

 

The next two slides offer a glimpse into the quality of our academic programs and the faculty who teach in those programs. This is a representative sample of the accolades our academic programs have received this past year.

 

Among the most prestigious journals in diversity, Diverse Issues in Higher Education recently recognized several of our programs that excel in graduating Hispanic and other under-represented minorities.  Several of our top programs are listed on the next slide:

Diverse Issues in Higher Education Top Degree Producers– graduating Hispanic Undergraduate and Graduate students:

  • Communication Disorders ranked 2nd nationally
  • Criminal Justice ranked 12thnationally
  • Kinesiology ranked 17thnationally
  • Teacher Education ranked 18thnationally
  • Mathematics ranked 24thnationally and 18th for graduate
  • Accounting ranked 26thnationally and 12th for graduate
  • Biology ranked 25thnationally and 25th for graduate

 

  • Both the MBA and the MPA Online programs were ranked 10thamong the best 20 Online Colleges in Texas
  • The BA in English was ranked 7thin the nation by Affordable Schools

 

  • The College of Education was ranked first among schools offering bachelor’s degrees and third for master’s degrees for students looking to become Texas teachers by ToBecomeATeacher.org. This is the second year in a row they have achieved this recognition

 

  • The MBA was ranked third among the top 50 affordable MBA programs according TopManagementDegree.com

 

Faculty Recognition (SLIDE 6)

Our Faculty members continue to have a regional, national and international impact. 

 

  • Roberto Heredia was selected as Regent’s Professor. He is one of four current Regent’s Professors on campus and one of only eight selected in the past 47 years.

 

  • Jerry Thompson’s book Tejano Tiger: José de los Santos Benavides and the Texas-México Borderlands, 1823-1891 was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize.

 

  • Jackie and Milton Mayfield were selected to be co-editors of the International Journal of Business Communication, a prestigious journal in Business Communication.

 

  • Stephen Meardon was invited to testify before the U.S. Trade Representative on the impact of NAFTA on the Border Region.

 

Student Recognition (Slide 7)

Our students have excelled also:

  • The DustySWARM team placed sixth overall in the second NASA Swarmathon: 3rdin technical report and 2nd High School Swarmathon Competition. Congratulations to Tarik Tashtoush and the students.

 

  • TAMIU Mariachi Internacionál took second place at a regional competition in Albuquerque this summer. They were also selected to perform at the 2017 Texas Music Educators Association State Convention. Congratulations to Osvaldo Zapata who has done an incredible job as the Mariachi Director.

 

  • TAMIU Percussion Ensemble was selected to perform at the 2017 Texas Music Educators Association State Convention. Congratulations to Jamie Moyer who has guided the percussion ensemble. They are becoming a regional and nationally recognized group.

 

  • Engineering student Michael Gutiérrez was part of a team that won the SHPE National Conference Extreme Engineering Challenge.

 

  • Oswaldo García was a Distinguished Overall Winner in the Graduate Division at the TAMUS Pathways Conference.

 

  • Luís Lascari won the prize for the best undergraduate story at the Texas Association of Creative Writing Teachers undergraduate fiction category.

 

 

 

 

 

 

METRICS

 

I would like to discuss some of the metrics that have driven many of the accolades we have received.  These metrics continue to drive our decision-making and or legislative agenda. 

 

Enrollment Trends and Semester Credit Hours  (Slide 9) – In the fall of 2016, we saw a 3.3% increase in headcount or slightly over 7,400 students. This fall, we are looking at another increase in head count, probably between 4 and 5%. This morning we were at 7,700 students enrolled.  We are on schedule to have the largest freshman class in school history – near 1,300.  Thanks to enrollment management – especially Recruitment, Financial Aid, and Admissions.  They have worked very hard this past year to increase our enrollment.

 

Semester Credit hours also were up over 5% in fall 2016.  This reflects changes in scheduling and a concerted effort across campus to encourage students to take 15 hours.  The average number of credit hours per student has gone up over one and a half credit hour in the past five years.

 

Persistence Rates (Slide 10) – Persistence rates continue to hover in the mid 80’s.  We are the highest among the regional institutions in the A&M System and among the highest in the state. 

 

Four and Six year Graduation Rates (Slides 11 and 12), Although we are in middle of the pack within the System and the Stat).  I am not pleased with our four-year graduation rate.  Six-year graduation rates put us third behind College Station and Tarleton.  Improving our four-year and six-year graduation rates will be a priority this year.  I will have more to say about this later.

 

Comparison of Persistence Rates (Slide 13) – We are above the state average for first year persistence, both for Hispanics and overall and slightly below the state average for six-year persistence and graduation. Overall, we are retaining or graduating slightly over 60% after six years. 

 

Degrees awarded (Slide 14) Last year we graduated 1,389 students, a 7.5% increase over the previous academic year. We will continue to see significant increases in degrees awarded. However, the average number of credit hours our graduates accumulate is over 140, and the average time to degree is over 10 semesters (5.4 years), longer in some disciplines.  One of the areas we need to tackle this year is improving advising at the upper division level.

 

Student/Faculty Ratio (Slide 15) – Student/Faculty has decreased since the budget crisis of 2011.  However, we are still among the highest in the System, along with College Station (23:1). We are looking at ways we can reduce the ratio to 19:1 or 20:1.

 

FINANCIAL DATA

 

The next set of slides addresses the financial health of the University.

 

State Appropriation (Slide 17)We lost over $4M in state appropriations as compared to the last biennium.  This translates into over $2M less in state appropriation for this academic year.  Budget cuts could have been worse as the Texas Senate wanted to eliminate all special item funding.  As it is, our special item funding took a significant hit. If it had not been for a 7% increase in SCH, one of the highest in the State, things would be quite different.  In spring of 2018, we will again put into place measures that will help ensure that our SCH production for the next base period increases.  

 

Revenue Budget (Slide 18) State Appropriation is down as I mentioned before.  Please note that tuition and fees, as a percentage of our budget, continues to grow.  In response to the loss of funding, we have initiated a flexible freeze for all positions except for faculty and those that are grant funded.  We are looking at other cost-saving measures.

 

Expense Budget (Slide 19) - Nearly 50% of our expenditures are personnel costs, with scholarships second.  Scholarships are important for continued growth.

 

Expense Budget (Slide 20) - Nearly 70% of all our expenses go directly to our core mission

 

Administrative Costs (Slide 21) – We have made a concerted effort over the past ten years to reduce our administrative costs.  We now have one of the lowest administrative costs in the System, second only to College Station.

 

Salary Plan (Slide 22) – We are planning an average 1.5% merit increase for this year. The increase is again dependent on an increase in fall semester credit hours.  The merit increase would go into effect November 1 and would be realized on your December check. Several of our sister institutions are proposing no merit increase.

 

Average Salaries (Slide 23) – Our administrative salaries are among the lowest in the System and our average faculty salaries are among the highest.

 

Research Expenditures (Slide 24) – Research expenditures were up again this past year.  Thanks to John Kilburn and the staff of ORSP and all the faculty members who submitted research grants.  Overall external support is also up this year.

 

Tuition and fees (Slide 25) – Tuition and fees will go up 1.8% this fall.  We are still very affordable, even with our modest tuition increase.

 

PROGRAM SUCCESS

 

Nursing and Health Sciences (Slide 27)Use Slide to Highlight Successes.

 

Education (Slide 27) – Use Slide to Highlight Successes.

 

ARSSB (Slide 28)Use Slide to Highlight Successes.

 

Arts and Sciences (Slide 28) Use Slide to Highlight Successes.

 

University College (Slide 29) Use Slide to Highlight Successes.

 

Library (Slide 29) – Use Slide to Highlight Successes.

 

Graduate School (Slide 30) – Use Slide to Highlight Successes.

 

Research and Sponsored Projects (Slide 30) - Use Slide to Highlight Successes.

 

Slide 29

Student Success (Slide 32) Use Slide to Highlight Successes.

 

Athletics (Slide 32) – Use Slide to Highlight Successes.

 

Development (Slide 33) – Use Slide to Highlight Successes.

 

Public Relations and Marketing (Slide 33) – Use Slide to Highlight Successes.

 

Finance and Administration (Slide 34) - Use Slide to Highlight Successes.

 

University Success (Slide 35) – Use Slide to Highlight Successes.

 

THE FUTURE – GO BEYOND

 

Goals and Objectives Next Five Years (Slides 37 and 38)

    The broad goals I talked about during the Investiture are listed on the next two slides.  Annual strategic initiatives will be drawn from these goals.

 

  • Grow TAMIU into a comprehensive, regional University with multiple doctoral programs and a strong research portfolio.
  • Expand academic offerings to meet regional needs with an impact on local and regional economy.
  • Establish Texas A&M International University as a destination institution.
  • Engage students in undergraduate research experiences.
  • Expand regional energy, health and other research initiatives.
  • Increase recruitment and outreach footprint.
  • Increase philanthropy/donor support

 

Academic Program Development (Slide 39)

 Discuss Engineering, CJ and Public Health

 

Goals for 2017-2018 Academic Year (Slides 40-41)

 

  • Develop a ROADMAP for improving four and six-year graduation rates:
  • Have Organized a Taskforce
  • Examine Course Prerequisites and Corequisites
  • Sequencing and Scheduling of Courses
  • Catalog Descriptions for Lower Division Courses to Match TCCN Descriptions
  • Advising and Mentoring of Undergraduate Students
  • Junior and Senior Year Experience.

 

  • Develop Program Proposals in Interdisciplinary Engineering and PhD in Criminal Justice.

 

  • Integration of Computer Science across the Curriculum – Gig Economy and programming/coding.

 

  • Organize Taskforce to look at integrating entrepreneurship across the curriculum.

 

  • Create an entrepreneurship/incubator on campus.

 

  • 25/50 Celebration Committee

 

 

Capital Program Update (Slide 43) – Talk from Slide

 

End with excerpt from Rhapsody on the Rio Grande