Accolades continue despite pandemic
We kicked off the spring 2022 semester with enthusiasm over our academic progress but with cautious optimism brought about by a second year of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Despite the ongoing concerns associated with the coronavirus, Texas Woman’s had a productive 2021 and an exciting start to 2022. In 2021 we opened the innovative Scientific Research Commons and celebrated a new space in Old Main for the Jane Nelson Institute for Women's Leadership; and earlier this month we received regents' approval for a new health sciences building, which will be our largest academic facility, and a major update to Brackenridge Hall that will result in a one-stop service center for students and their parents.
Our foremost priority continues to be providing a safe environment for our students and employees. To that end, faculty had the flexibility to change the modality of instruction – that is, to offer online, in-person or some kind of hybrid instruction for the first three weeks of the spring 2022 semester. I offer kudos to our faculty, who have had to pivot several times in how they deliver their instruction since the pandemic began, but who do so with the interests of their students in mind. It is another example of how the university lives up to its reputation of being a #campuswithaheart.
Naming features honor philanthropists
Woolf Foundation members and scholarship recipients.
Besides approving the major construction projects this month, regents also authorized two naming features that honor longtime philanthropists who have supported Texas Woman’s University. A new Houston J. and Florence A. Doswell Nursing Center for Scientific Research and Discovery will be coming to the Dallas campus, benefiting faculty from TWU’s three campuses who are conducting original research as well as those engaged in clinical translational, quality improvement and evidence-based practice investigations. Additionally, our social work program will now become the Orien Levy Woolf Division of Social Work. Woolf was a longtime community volunteer and her namesake charitable trust continued her legacy of giving at TWU by establishing the Orien Levy Woolf and Dr. Jack Woolf Social Work Scholarship Endowment, which supports graduate and undergraduate students.
University lauded for DEI efforts
Dewaynna Horn, PhD, associate dean in our College of Business (second from right), and I accepted the Greater Houston Women's Chamber of Commerce's 2021 Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Award at the organization's annual luncheon.
Even before the spring semester began, we received word that the Greater Houston Women’s Chamber of Commerce recognized Texas Woman’s for its activities promoting diversity, equity and inclusion in the workplace.
The chamber officially presented its 2021 Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Award to the university at the organization’s annual luncheon on Feb. 16 in Houston.
Texas Woman’s has been expanding its DEI efforts in multiple directions. Our Human Resources department created a framework for affinity groups in 2015, and in the last few years that effort has led to the creation of groups for LGBTQ+, Latinx, and Black faculty and staff. Additionally, the TWU Faculty Senate established a new Equity, Inclusion, and Anti-Racism Committee. And in 2020, the Chancellor’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Council began to expand the exchange of information about DEI work going on across the university.
Recognizing Black History Month
An apt example of our commitment to inclusion is how we celebrate the diversity of our university community. We kicked off Black History Month with #TWUBlackOut, inviting the Texas Woman's community to engage in learning about Black history. Other events include a Black history and culture-themed game night for students and a Black empowerment lunch that helped students capitalize on the value of their personal brand. Additionally, the university highlighted exemplary faculty, students and staff on a webpage devoted to Black History Month.
Expanding access to higher education
Texas Woman’s partnered with North Central Texas College in a program that offers free tuition to rural high school graduates.
Part of Texas Woman’s mission is to expand opportunities for excellence in higher education to those who may not see a path for them in college. And it is in that spirit that we often join forces with other educational institutions to help make that happen. In January, the university partnered with North Central Texas College to launch the Red River Promise Program, which expands access to rural students in 13 North Texas school districts with last-dollar support.
The partnership seeks to create a stronger college-going culture at rural high schools, and offers high school grads a more affordable higher education pathway that won’t result in high debt. The Red River Promise launched just one month after Texas Woman’s partnered with Grayson College and a handful of other universities to establish the Texoma Promise, a similar initiative that benefits rural students in another North Texas region. These are built on the success of the Dallas Promise that has created similar pathways for students coming from urban settings.
English professor a regular on books lists
Genevieve West, PhD, has an eye for literary gold. Besides being a Texas Woman’s English professor and chair of the Department of Language, Culture & Gender Studies, she spends a great deal of her time editing and perfecting the right combination of essays to present in books. In her latest, “You Don’t Know Us Negroes and Other Essays,” which is a collection of works by acclaimed writer Zora Neale Hurston, she and fellow editor Henry Louis Gates, Jr., have caught the attention of book critics from across the country, including those from the New York Times, the Washington Post and Oprah Daily. As a Black author who grew up early in the 20th century, Hurston had a unique, provocative take on race, and the works that West and Gates selected for this book certainly reveal that.
Athletics to honor 2022 Hall of Fame class
I am thrilled that Texas Woman’s will be recognizing two outstanding individuals and one team of distinction during an induction ceremony to the Athletics Hall of Fame on Feb. 26. The honorees are Frank Kudlac, who guided Pioneers gymnastics to nine USAG national championships in his 33 years at the helm of the program, and Chantelle (Clegg) Kadlec, the 1997 Lone Star Conference-North Player of the Year in volleyball and a three-time winner of the Jo Kuhn Award. Additionally, we will honor the 1993 Pioneers gymnastics team, which was the first to capture a USA Gymnastics national championship.
It has been a while since we last inducted new members into this elite group, and we are honored to be recognizing these individuals and this team for their outstanding contributions to sports excellence at Texas Woman’s. It is also worthwhile to mention that our student-athletes continue to excel not only in their chosen sports but in the classroom. Last fall, our student athletes collectively posted a 3.506 GPA, which marked the 79th consecutive semester Texas Woman’s student-athletes posted a GPA of 3.0 or higher.
Lastly, I want to share with you our latest gastronomic addition to the Denton campus: Soulgood, a restaurant whose mission is to save the planet, its people and animals one plate at a time. It opened in January in the Oakland Café space and is operated by Texas Woman's alumna Cynthia Nevels ('96, '10). She launched her enterprise several years ago with an award-winning food truck by the same name. I am thrilled that her flagship operation has found a home in the very place she began her academic career.
Thanks for your interest in Texas Woman's. As always, email me with your comments or questions. I am delighted that you have spent a few minutes with me today.
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Page last updated 3:13 PM, February 27, 2023