Viewable Assembly Presentation

Good Morning,

It is great to be back and to start another Academic Year. We have seen a number of changes over the summer. Provost Mitchell has mentioned many of them. I will elaborate on others later.

I am often asked what it is like to be a University President. I thought I would share my typical day with you. Usually, when I come in in the morning, I am out in front of the day and the turmoil that I know will encompass the rest of the day. After spending the morning on the phone or in meetings, I usually feel that the day has gotten away from me and I am surrounded. Finally, I realize I can’t get my arms around the day and let the bulls go by.

In my Investiture speech, I laid out a vision for TAMIU and our GOING BEYOND where we have been and are today. I will touch upon some of those broad goals throughout my presentation.
Since my arrival eleven years ago, I have focused on the three guiding principles that shape my approach to the continued evolution of TAMIU. Many of you have already heard these at least eleven times, and maybe more but I think it is important that they continue to be reinforced. 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, physicians and scientist, engineers and leaders. We need to ensure that our graduates have the expertise, knowledge and soft-skills to continue to be competitive in the ever-evolving global marketplace. The second principle
is that TAMIU should be an ECONOMIC ENGINE for this region. We need to instill in our graduates an entrepreneurial spirit and we need to be entrepreneurial ourselves. We need to develop new programs and degrees that will promote economic competitiveness for this region. Finally, TAMIU needs to ADVANCE STRATEGICALLY so we become better at doing the three tasks we are required to do – teach, engage in research/scholarly activity and provide service to the institution, the community and our professions. The strategic development of academic and research programs will propel us to the next level – doctoral granting institution.

This morning, there are two broad themes I want to touch on – the IMPACT that TAMIU has had on
this community and how we have, as an Institution, GONE BEYOND.

I have had the opportunity to visit with several University presidents as well as with legislators and their staffs. It is clear that the upcoming session will be a difficult one for higher education. The signal from all is that we will need to talk about the IMPACT TAMIU has had on Laredo, the region and the State of Texas. In addition, we will begin celebrating our 50th anniversary next fall, so you are going to hear a lot about the impact of this University over the next two year. I want to begin this morning by talking about that IMPACT.

On the next two slides (6-7) are shown some historical data about TAMIU. READ FROM SLIDES.

One of the most interesting statistic is shown on the next slide (8). In 1990, 11% of Laredoans over the age of 25 had a bachelor’s degree or higher. By 2016, that number increased by 57% to 17.5%. However, we are still well below the state average of 25%. The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board has set a goal that 60% of all Texans 25-34 will have some type of post-secondary certificate or diploma by 2030. We have a ways to go.

Another important point is the fact that 78% (9) of our graduates are employed within a year of graduation compared to 70% statewide. In addition, another 3% are enrolled in graduate school. (10). I might mention that nearly 90% of our graduates are defined as at risk. These numbers are a big part of the reason that we are recognized as among the
top institutions nationally in upward mobility, the importance of which I will address later.

Let me summarize, we have, over the past 49 years, provided high quality higher education access to the citizens of Laredo and the region. We have contributed to the economic well-being of Laredo and our graduates are successful once they leave TAMIU.

Because we GO BEYOND in everything we do, we have been very fortunate this past year to receive numerous regional and national recognitions for our successes, our entrepreneurship, our scholarship and our commitment to students, our community and the state. It is because of your hard work, your dedication to the ideals we espouse and your commitment to our mission that we have received
these accolades. Several Institutional recognitions are highlighted on the next two slides. (12-13)

University Recognitions

• Studies by both the American Council for Education and the Stanford Equality Opportunity Project ranked TAMIU among the top three nationally and number 1 in Texas in increasing overall Upward Mobility Income Rate.
• Zippia singled us out as one of the best colleges for getting a job. We are ranked eighth in Texas and the only A&M Institution in the Top Ten. In 2016, over 80% of our graduates either had a job or were enrolled in graduate school
• U.S. News and World Report ranked us among the State’s top 20 Schools and the 68th Best Western Regional University out of 197 schools. Only two Texas public schools were ranked higher and we were the highest ranked A&M System regional school. This is the first time we have been ranked by U.S. News and World Report.
• Eduventures again ranked us first in Texas and in the top 35 nationally in student retention. Thanks to Minita Ramirez and her team in Student Success and to Cathryn Weitman and her group in University College for the work they do.

Many of the other recognitions listed on the slides are related to our affordability and the quality of our programs.

College Recognitions (14)

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.

Several of our top programs are listed on the next slide:

• The Mathematics Program ranks 3rd among the top 10 best colleges for mathematics majors in Texas.
Online MBA Program ranks 12th nationally among top 50 online MBA programs.
Online MPA Program ranks 15th among the top 50 online MPA programs.
• The School of Nursing ranks 33rd out of 754 schools as among the best in the central United States by Nurse Journal.org.
• The online Masters in C&I is ranked 20th among the top 30 online programs by Great Value Colleges.

Faculty Recognition (15)

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

Jerry Thompson received multiple nominations and accolades for his book “Tejano Tiger: Jose de los Santos Benavides and the Texas Mexico Borderlands: 1823-1891,” including a Pulitzer Prize nomination.
José (Pepe) Cardona-López was selected as a Regent’s Professor.
Runchang Lin was elected to the Chancellor’s Academy of Teacher Educators.
Colin Campbell received a Texas Emmy for the documentary “Rhapsody on the Rio Grande: a Confluence of Cultures”.

Student Recognition (16)

Our students have also excelled both inside and outside the classroom:

Mariana Rodríguez received TAMIU’s first President’s Lifetime Achievement Award for her over 10,000 hours of community service.
Parker Holekamp competed in the U.S. Amateur Championship at Pebble Beach, one of only three Division II invitees
Cio Bargallo was named Heartland Conference Offensive Player of the Year in Women’s Soccer.
• The DustySWARM team won fourth place at the NASA Robotics Swarmathon.
DustyElectric team placed third in GreenPower USA electric car competition.
Several students from the College of Education were awarded first place for their poster at the International Association for Research on Service Learning and Community Engagement.

Academic Performance

I would like to discuss some of the metrics that have driven many of the accolades we have received. These metrics continue to inform our decision-making and our legislative agenda. The
State of Texas, the A&M System and SACS are using analytics and predictive analytics more and more and expect us to do the same.

Enrollment Trends and Semester Credit Hours (18) – In the fall of 2017, we realized a 3.3% increase in headcount as enrollment was over 7,600 students. This fall, we are looking at probably another increase between 3 and 4%. This morning we were at 8,001 enrolled students. 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 nearly 5% in FY 2018. This again reflects student accessibility to classes, changes in scheduling patterns and a
concerted effort across campus to encourage students to take 15 hours.

For our new faculty, staff, and those of you who have forgotten, shown on the next slide (19) are our student demographics. This is a snapshot of our student population and the demographics will not change much this fall. It should be noted that more than ¾ of our students are on financial aid, with 69% Pell eligible. Eighty-four percent of our students come from Webb County.

The next two slides (20-21) describe our incoming class, which should be of interest to all of you. We have had a steady increase in the number of First-Time Freshmen and this coming year is no exception. This year, we will surpass 1,400 first-
year students. Thanks to Recruitment for all their hard work and logged miles.

I want to point out two things on this slide. First almost 25% of our students are coming from schools outside Laredo – thus we increasing our footprint. Secondly, 23% of our incoming class last fall (and again this fall) are in the top 10% (second only to TAMU) and over half of all incoming students are in the top 25% of their graduating class. We are recruiting excellent students.

Persistence rates (22-23) – First-year persistence rates continue to hover around 86%, which puts is among the highest of regional institutions in the A&M System and near the top of regional Universities in the State. Second-year persistence rates are also among the highest in the state.

Six-year graduation rates (Slides 24). Our six-year graduation rate put us third in the System behind College Station and Tarleton. Although our average time to degree has dropped from over 6 years when I arrived to 5.1 years, we are still in the middle of the pack when compared to all public institutions in the State. Improving both four and six-year graduation rates continues to be a priority for us, the System and the State.

Degrees awarded (Slide 25) In 2017-2018, we graduated 1,449 students, an 8.2% increase over the previous academic year. We should continue to see increases in degrees awarded as well as graduation rates as we continue to work on graduation rates. A concern for me though is that the average number of
credit hours our graduates accumulate is near 150, with some disciplines averaging much higher than that.

Increasing the number of graduates is an Institutional priority as there is a high likelihood that the number of graduates will be the benchmark for outcomes-based funding. The current proposal from THECB is $500/graduate or $1,000/at-risk graduate. Our new appropriations request for the next biennium focuses on improving advising at the upper division level as well as adding SI and tutoring for upper division courses.

In summary, we are growing. We are admitting high quality students, many of whom are considered at-risk by the State; we are doing a great job of retaining them through the first two years. Our graduation rates are among the best in south Texas
and within TAMUS. However, we need do a better job of ensuring students graduate in a timely manner.


State Appropriation (Slide 27) – We lost $4M in state appropriations for the current biennium as compared to the last biennium. For this year, that means we will have around $2M less in state funding, with a modest $50,000 increase over last year’s budget. If it had not been for a 7% increase in SCH, one of the highest in the State, things would be much different. We have again put into place measures that will help ensure that our SCH production for this base period is maximized.

Revenue Budget (28-29) This year’s budget is calculated at slightly over $125,000,000 or about $70,000 more than last year. Please note that tuition and fees, as a percentage of our budget, continues to grow. We continue to have a flexible freeze for all state-funded positions except for faculty lines.

The pie chart on the next slide shows the percentage distribution of income. Again, tuition and fees is the biggest contributor to our budget, matched with dwindling state funding. The only new sources of income to fund projects comes from tuition and fees, contracts and grants and gifts. I will address grants and gifts later in my talk.

Expense Budget (Slide 30) - Over 50% of our expenditures are personnel costs, with scholarships second.

Expense Budget (Slide 31) - Nearly 70% of our expenses go directly to our core mission. I might add that our administrative costs are around 6%, which is among the lowest in the System, second only to College Station.


To partially offset the decrease in state funding, we have had to increase tuition rates again. However, tuition increases alone cannot completely make up for the loss of revenue we have experienced.

Our tuition and fee plan (32) for this fall is shown on the next slide. Undergraduate tuition will be raised between 3.8% and 5.5% depending on the plan a student selects. I will remind you that our tuition and fees are still among the lowest in the State.

Our student debt (33) is also among the lowest in the state at slightly over $17,000. This puts us near the bottom of all public institutions in Texas. THECB 60 by 30 plan – debt can be no more than 60% of a graduates first-year salary. We are currently in the low 70’s.

Salary Plan (34) – We are proposing an average 1.5% merit pool for this year. As in previous years, the increase is dependent on fall semester credit hours. The salary increases would go into effect
November 1 and would be realized on your December check.

Research Expenditures (35) – Research expenditures were up again this past year by nearly $1M. 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. However, we need to increase our productivity to help offset decreases in appropriations.

Capital Program Update (36-43) – Talk from Slides


Nursing and Health Sciences (45) – Use Slide to Highlight Successes. Thank Glenda and Faculty.

Education (Slide 45) – Use Slide to Highlight Successes. Mention Dean O’Meara and Tanya Huber

ARSSB (Slide 46) – Use Slide to Highlight Successes.

Arts and Sciences (46) – Use Slide to Highlight Successes. Mention Ediza Garcia and team and Mahmood Khaswane and team

University College (47) – Use Slide to Highlight Successes.

Library (48) – Use Slide to Highlight Successes.

Graduate School (48) – Use Slide to Highlight Successes.


Development (50) – Use Slide to Highlight Successes.

Public Relations and Marketing (50) – Use Slide to Highlight Successes.

Finance and Administration (51) - Use Slide to Highlight Successes.

Athletics (51) – Use Slide to Highlight Successes.

Student Success (52) – Use Slide to Highlight Successes. Talk about community service and Presidential Award. (53)


Goals and Objectives Next Five Years (55) Talk from slide

Academic Program Development (56)

Discuss Engineering, CJ and Public Health and Computer Science.

Challenges and Goals for 2018-2019 Academic Year (57-58)


  • Compliance will take up more and more of our time and effort. SACS 5th year report. Title IX and Consensual Relationships
  • Legislative Session
    • Budget uncertainties and non-formula funding.
    • Outcomes-based funding
    • New LAR - $4M over biennium for Student Engagement in Jr./Sr. years.

GOALS (58)

  • Develop program proposal in Public Health.
  • Improve four- and six-year graduation rates.
  • Increase the efficiency of scheduling classes.
  • Create both an entrepreneurship and business incubator on campus.
  • Expand extramural funding both from federal sources and the private sector.
  • Develop Jr./Sr. Year Experience.


Don’t forget the mixer this afternoon.