90-day update Oct 21 2014

Dear TWU community,

Well, these first 90 days have just flown by and I have to confess that I am still feeling like I am on my TWU honeymoon. Each and every one of you have been incredibly warm and welcoming and I thank you for that. This email is intended to update you on a few ‘big ticket’ items that have been on everyone’s mind. I will try to keep this as succinct as possible but please know that this is just a start and we will be sure to continue communication along the year.

Compensation Plan:
As you are aware, the university implemented Phase I of the plan, which resulted in market-based raises for 88 percent of the faculty and 89 percent of the staff. However, even with the best laid plans, there are sometimes unintended consequences….it is therefore not surprising that we have heard (at times very loudly) about issues with Phase I. I can assure you that we are fully committed to reviewing these issues very carefully. We have begun to review the relevant data to identify any patterns in order to better understand any possibilities of inequity or unfair outcomes – all with the intention of addressing the problems to the best of our abilities.

The Cabinet and I see our next steps as including:

  1. addressing issues related to Phase I
  2. conducting a review of the entire University budget to better understand available funding and budget priorities, including compensation. We plan on holding information sessions for faculty and staff to make the budget process more transparent and understandable
  3. discussing and collaboratively designing a performance-based compensation plan
  4. making strategic decisions related to compensation as part of a larger strategic plan that considers all aspects of the University’s financial health, including faculty, staff, physical, and other resources within the context of our larger priorities.

Strategic Plan:
I am grateful to the TWU community for having engaged in the Visioning I and II processes, and I am particularly appreciative to the leaders of these efforts (Gary Ray, Michael Stankey, Jennifer Martin and Ron Hovis). The work that has been done is invaluable and will provide a powerful baseline of data and information from which to develop and launch a larger university-wide strategic plan. As Visioning II begins to wrap-up, the cross-cutting visioning team will be presenting to the Cabinet this week the results of their work.

My intent is to take advantage of the expertise of an external facilitator to help engage TWU in the strategic planning process and to guide us with best practices. I am still learning every day about TWU and am committed to engaging in this process, but am not quite ready yet to settle on the outline of a specific plan. I can assure you though that it will be inclusive, engaging at all levels, and hopefully ultimately shared by all.

Cabinet Membership:
I have been evaluating the membership of the Cabinet and asked Mr. Lewis Benavides and Ms. Destinee Waiters to join the leadership team. My plan is to have a full cabinet in place by the end of the academic year. We have started a search led by Dr. Monica Mendez-Grant for a VP for Advancement and will soon start the search for an AVP for communications/marketing that will be chaired by Dr. Robert Placido. We have also engaged in an assessment of the Institutional Advancement office and I am grateful to Robin Head and her staff for their cooperation.

Physical Resource Needs and Facilities:
Much work is already underway in reviewing our facilities plan and assessing the various needs for renovation, construction, improvement, and maintenance across campus. Rest assured that the university community will be engaged widely as we move through the process for input and feedback. We obviously need to be fiscally responsible and are exploring a 'phased approach' to some of the construction needs, such as the Student Union. Again, we will be sharing our thinking along the way and invite you to share yours!

Key Developments and Work in Progress:

  • Dr. Mendez-Grant has joined the team as VP for student life
  • Ms. Destinee Waiters has joined TWU as our new general counsel
  • Mr. Kevin Cruser has joined TWU as our new director of governmental relations and legislative affairs
  • I am very grateful to the transition team led by Ms. Anne Scott and Mr. Gary Henderson for their hard work. They have given me a very helpful roadmap for the next few months.
  • Be on the lookout for new banners/flags/merchandise/presence in Denton stores and restaurants. Our marketing and communications team has been working hard to increase our visibility and presence in local businesses and we are excited to see more TWU maroon and white in town!
  • Our IT folks have virtually completed a new webpage allowing you to sign up for ‘Conversations with the Chancellor.’ Be on the lookout for the announcement soon.
  • We will be working on a e-report/newsletter for the campus that will come out fairly regularly and will hopefully replace the many announcements that are now sent to the various listservs on a daily basis.
  • We should soon have a virtual 'suggestion box’ available online. Thank you for the suggestion to do this!
  • A feasibility task force was formed and will be chaired by Dr. Mendez Grant to assess our options for the golf course. The group includes members from the university community as well as from the wider Denton community.
  • I am looking forward to my first board meeting in Houston where some Houston endeavors will be highlighted.
  • There are so many people I would like to thank such as the inaugural committee but I am afraid I might leave some folks out….you each know who you are and I am grateful for you!

Thank you for your support and guidance, I look forward to exciting times together and to the upcoming celebration at the inauguration!!

Best,

Carine M. Feyten, Ph.D.
Chancellor/President
Texas Woman’s University
@TWUpres

"If you talk to a man in a language that he understands, that goes to his head. But if you talk to him in his own language, that goes to his heart." (Nelson Mandela)