Highlights from the February Board of Regents meeting
February 16, 2018
Dear Texas Woman's Community,
We’ve just concluded our first Board of Regents meeting of 2018, and I’d like to share some highlights with you.
Campus master plan
As you know, we began working on a 20-year master plan nearly a year ago. The three considerations underpinning this effort have been: where do we need new/expanded facilities, how can we expand and improve on the quality of our beautiful green spaces, and how can we optimize the movement of our students, faculty, staff, and visitors across campus. The firm developing the plan has concluded its data collection phase and has moved onto the design phase, which will be completed in August.
In March, you will see history in the making. Construction of this magnitude has not been undertaken on the Denton campus for nearly a quarter of a century. First and foremost on the minds of most on the Denton campus is the new West Campus parking garage, which is on-time and expected to open in October.
The student housing project funded by a public-private partnership will begin with move-in planned for August 2019. The soccer field will relocate to the current golf course (which will be reconfigured) and will open for play this August. Hubbard Hall will begin its transformation to a magnificent student union, ready for students in Fall 2019. An expanded medical services facility in Jones Hall will be ready later this year. And a $51.4 million new Science and Technology Learning Center will provide a strong corner entrance to our campus on the southern end of Bell Avenue, with labs and classrooms open in mid-2020. Finally, the Undergraduate Lab Building will be renovated for new music rehearsal and art studio space by the end of this year.
Tuition and fees
Our student advisory committee has worked with us to recommend an increase in our student fees, and our Chief Financial Officer (CFO) and Provost have recommended an increase in designated tuition and fees. Overall, for a typical student taking 15 hours, the increase will be about 3%—on par with our peers around the state—for the next two years beginning in fiscal year 2018-19. The Board of Regents voted to accept these recommendations.
Fundraising continues apace
Given the growth in donors and gifts over the past few years, we are now pursuing a goal of nearly twice our current endowment. Already, the TWU Foundation has distributed $1.6 million for the university’s use this year—double the amount distributed just four years ago.
Attracting more students
We heard about new initiatives to attract and welcome more students to TWU, from a special day devoted to talented, already-accepted students to new data analyses that support better competitive positioning of TWU across the state. An early look at summer and fall enrollments reveal stable interest in TWU, but we are working to significantly expand this interest through new internal collaboration and external outreach.
Drs. Gretchen Busl and Ashley Bender in English provided information about their recent (and TWU’s first) National Endowment for the Humanities grant to incorporate global perspectives and experiential learning opportunities in a number of TWU’s humanities courses. We also heard from Dr. Parker Hevron in History and Government regarding his work on a National Science Foundation grant that looks at judicialization and the risk of negative episodic media coverage. As Provost Utter shared with me, only a small percentage of faculty across the nation are awarded these types of grants, and it is particularly impressive that these are junior faculty members who obtained this funding.
A new school plaid
Among the efforts to raise TWU’s visibility is a major project led by Dr. Sheri Dragoo in fashion and textiles. Last semester, she engaged her class in creating plaids that reflected the university’s new visual identity and history. Five of her students are now competing to be named designer of the university’s official plaid, voted on by faculty, students, staff, alumni and university friends. So far, more than 2,500 have voted for their favorite plaid. The official plaid will be announced before the end of the month. Imagine the Pioneer Plaid products that may result from this initiative!
After three years of competing in the annual Outdoor Nation competition of universities coast-to-coast, TWU this year moved up from third to second place. At the recent national outdoor retail and snow show attended by 25,000 people, we overheard a president of a competing university say, “I’ve never heard of Texas Woman’s University--and they’re beating us?” As a panelist at the luncheon, I was so proud to see that our focus on health and wellness is so relevant and timely. Recent research suggests that, on average, students spend seven hours in front of a computer screen but only four minutes outdoors. In addition, only 20% of minorities participate in outdoor activities. Yet TWU had more than 1,800 participants in its Outdoor Nation activities, and 60% were minorities. In 2017, sports retailer REI surveyed women about the outdoors, and 85% said outdoor activity positively affected their mental and physical health, happiness, and overall wellbeing.
What a difference a year can make! Under new coaches, our volleyball team went from a challenging, losing season in 2016, to one of the best seasons on record in the past 20 years! Coming in as the underdog and having beaten nationally seeded Angelo State and then Texas A&M Commerce, TWU made it to the conference championship for the first time since 1997. Though 15th-ranked Tarleton State came away with the win, I couldn’t be prouder of the hard work (both on and off the court), dedication, and Pioneer spirit demonstrated by the team.
That same Pioneer spirit will spread its wings even wider for all of our athletics teams this year when our first mascot, Minerva’s owl, will come to life at sporting events.
I encourage the TWU community to get out and vote on March 6th for the Texas primaries. Fewer than 7% of voters participate in this election, so your vote has even greater impact than in the general elections. Between legislative sessions there is still plenty of action under way, and I will be testifying before the joint committee examining non-formula funding, such as for the Center for Women’ Leadership in Business, Politics, and Public Policy.
Today, was a special day as we took a moment to celebrate Regent Schrader’s birthday. We heard from the governor’s office that we expect the appointment of six regents in the near future to replace the positions that are currently vacant or with expired terms. I gave special thanks to Regent Paup who, along with her husband Ted, gave the university $100,000 in unrestricted funds on Valentine’s Day. And I also extended very special thanks to BJ Crain, who has served as our interim CFO for nearly three years. This will likely be her last board meeting.
For more information on the Board of Regents meeting this week, please visit the board website.
Finally, I want to thank everyone in the Texas Woman’s community whose efforts are collectively visible at every board meeting. I greatly appreciate your continued commitment to our mission and success.
With Pioneer Pride,
Carine M. Feyten, Ph.D.
Chancellor and President
Page last updated 4:04 PM, July 20, 2018