Closing the loop on suggestions you provided
Dear Dallas and Houston Colleagues:
Over my first year and a half now at TWU, various suggestions have been provided about how to improve the services and working conditions on TWU’s Dallas and Houston Campus. After various discussions in recent months, the Cabinet collaborated on finding solutions to some of the issues affecting the two campuses. Thus, I am delighted in this email to share the following improvements endorsed by the Cabinet.
Perhaps the most frequent comment to me was about food in various rooms. We now have removed the restriction on eating and serving food in all rooms, with the exception of rooms where health and safety are a concern, e.g., laboratories, instrument rooms, etc. This being said, we all now have the shared responsibility to ensure cleanliness and the appearance of our buildings.
Another frequently presented concern was related to the limited hours for which the Dallas and Houston buildings were open. Accordingly, the plans are to extend hours on both campuses from 5:00 am to midnight, Monday – Friday, for students. Faculty and staff soon will have 24/7 access to the buildings. Our hope is that open access will provide faculty greater access to their offices and laboratories in support of their teaching and research. Such access should allow staff to consider ways to improve services as well. Before the implementation of extended hours, security staff need to be hired and trained; consequently, the extended hours will be announced sometime during the Spring 2016 semester.
Although assignment of space was mentioned multiple times, this issue will be addressed when a unified process for evaluating space needs across all three campuses is in place. I am expecting to have a more global process in place quite soon. To help in the interim, however, we have simplified the scheduling policy to (a) make it easier for people to schedule space, (b) minimize disputes over space scheduling and (c) promote opportunities for outside partners to use TWU space, e.g., hospital associations, nursing groups, and other such academic affiliations to advance the reputation of TWU. Also regarding space, we were delighted to free underutilized space on the 10th floor of the Houston Building for the Pioneer Center to support student success.
With respect to personnel changes, one of TWU’s limitations has been the inability to market and advance the University’s brand in Dallas and Houston. Thus, through TWU’s office of Marketing and Communications, positions have now been dedicated specifically for these purposes on both campuses. The first position has been hired for Dallas, and the Houston position will be forthcoming. To improve internal communications, digital signage has been added throughout the Dallas and Houston buildings.
Lastly, a variety of miscellaneous changes were made to improve morale, efficiency and reputation. Examples include:
- allowing small personal refrigerators in faculty and staff offices;
- implementing the flex-time option for staff as created by Human Resources;
- improving the timeliness of notification of campus closures, as led by TWU’s emergency management office. Emergency response plans are also being actively updated.
- increasing internet speed 10x through a partnership with Rice University.
As we continue to make progress, I look forward to providing you further updates for improvements in Dallas and Houston.
Carine M. Feyten, Ph.D.