Trauth cites progress in key areas at convocation

Posted by Mark Hendricks
University News Service
August 21, 2007

SAN MARCOS – Denise M. Trauth, president of Texas State University-San Marcos, said Tuesday (Aug. 21) that the university has made progress in key areas of its strategic plan and predicted more success in the coming year.

“The goals (of the strategic plan) have been embraced so enthusiastically by those responsible for meeting them that in many cases we were able to reach intended outcomes sooner than we had forecast,” said Trauth.

Delivering her State of the University address at the annual University Convocation and General Faculty Meeting, Trauth examined the progress in five key areas of the strategic plan:

·        Expanding the number of faculty in order to improve the student-faculty ratio. When Trauth arrived at Texas State in 2002, the university had 801 full-time faculty. This fall it will have 950.

·        Establishing competitive salaries for faculty and staff. Faculty and staff salaries are up from a year ago, and more funds are being identified for increases in coming years.

·        The development of an Honors College. The Mitte Honors Program currently serves 700 Texas State students. Trauth plans to take the program to the college-level status, thus allowing it to attract and serve greater numbers of academically gifted students.

·        Diversity. Trauth said that both African American and Hispanic student enrollment has grown. African Americans and Hispanics currently make up 26 percent of the Texas State student body. Of the 171 new tenure-track faculty hires in the last three years, 40 percent have been ethnic minorities. Trauth said the university expects to receive Hispanic Serving Institution status (25 percent Hispanic enrollment) by 2012.

·        Doctoral programs. The Coordinating Board approved a seventh doctoral program – in physical therapy – for Texas State in July. Additional doctoral programs in mathematics, mathematics education, criminal justice, materials science and engineering, computer science, and developmental education are in various stages of approval and planning.

“Of course, the strategic plan is not our only plan,” Trauth said. “We also have a master plan. You know that by the construction fences and rerouted traffic. The campus itself is changing.”

Funding approved by the Legislature in May has allowed planning to begin on the new Academic Undergraduate Building and on the nursing building at the Round Rock Higher Education Center. Construction of the Speck Street parking garage and on the expansion of the Student Recreation Center is currently under way.

“In all, 18 Campus Master Plan projects with a total value of $240 million are under way in one form or another,” said Trauth.

Trauth said the past year has been a notable time for fund-raising at the university. She cited a $5 million gift from Bruce and Gloria Ingram to establish a school of engineering in their name, a $1.5 million gift from Paul Bulmahn for a student trading lab in the McCoy College of Business Administration, a $1.1 million gift from Jerry and Linda Fields for a chair in business ethics in the McCoy College and several gifts to help establish a nursing school.

“The $6 million gift from the St. David’s Community Health Foundation along with the $2 million from the Legislature and gifts from Scott & White and Central Texas Medical Center, will allow the university to help the state meet a critical shortage of nurses. The school will be called the St. David’s School of Nursing,” said Trauth.

The university has been experiencing “phenomenal growth in endowments” and Trauth predicted, “These private gifts will competitively position us to recruit the best and brightest faculty and students.”

Trauth said the university is in the final stages of its strategic plan for athletics, and that the plan will guide the university in its mission of recruiting and graduating student athletes who meet the university’s academic mission.

“We are proud of our student athletes. The fall and spring semesters were the two highest semesters in our history for student-athlete grade-point averages. Our football team had the highest GPA in Division I in Texas. And our graduation rate for student athletes in the best in NCAA Division I in Texas. Our women’s teams also won the Southland Conference women’s all sports trophy for the seventh straight year,” Trauth said.