Highlights from the August 2019 board meeting

August 12, 2019

Dear Colleagues,

We have just returned after ending last week with our quarterly board meeting, and I would like to summarize the discussion and presentations with you. My goal is to strengthen our communication and reduce misconceptions that may arise. This time, I am taking a different approach, using bullet points rather than a narrative to give you highlights. I look forward to your feedback!

Faculty Senate Report

  • Faculty commitment to shared governance is seen in successful spring elections that resulted in filling every seat.
  • Faculty workload policy should be finished in September.
  • The faculty handbook is slated for an update in the coming year.

Faculty highlights in the arts

TWU All-Women's concert choir performs on stage
  • ”Like a sports team going to nationals!” — Our all-women’s concert choir, led by Dr. Joni Jensen, was selected to perform at the American Choral Director Association’s 60th-year Jubilee Conference, and subsequently selected as one of two colleges to perform at the largest national conference next February in San Antonio.
  • Dr. Jensen spoke about the power of choral music: “Loneliness, guilt, depression...you can go through these horrific things (in life) and come out on the other side, stronger...I believe choral art shows the community how we should do things, and I try to inspire my students to recognize that we have a duty to our community to provide, as well as a little entertainment, heart healing.”
  • Colby Parsons shared about his parametric modeling process, which he borrowed from to create elements for a sculpture of the “Owl of Minerva” he was commissioned to install in the new Student Union at Hubbard Hall.

Honors program

  • TWU’s honors programs, which began in 2000, today have more than 300 students. These honors students are more diverse than the national average, and their graduation rate is also higher than the national average. In fact, they tend to graduate early, too — and 55.4% of them graduate with zero student loan debt!
  • The Touchstone Honors program was a significant innovation to recruit transfer students into honors. Looking toward the next advancement, we need ways to accommodate the growing number of high-performing dual credit students. Rather than quantitative and course-based, such an innovation would need to be more qualitative and experiential.
  • Mariah Pallister, a May honors graduate, is pursuing a patent for a device she developed through her capstone project.
    An infographic showing percentages of honors graduates entering graduate or professional programs, degree completion, and without student debt

Open educational resources 

  • Kudos to Dr. Shazia Ahmed and her colleagues in Biology who adopted use of free “open educational resources” (textbook alternatives) in nine courses taken by about 2,000 students — saving them about $400K.

SACS Fifth-Year Report

  • Since 1923, TWU has been continuously accredited. Halfway through our most recent accreditation, 22 standards were evaluated — a herculean task — and there were no findings of noncompliance.

Advancement Report

  • Alumna and Dianne Baker Softball Field honoree, Coach “Bake,” thanked the board for its appreciation of her gift to the university--a gift she was proud and pleased to make.
  • The university’s endowment has almost doubled in the last five years, and a feasibility study is under way on a comprehensive fundraising campaign.
  • About 20 successful Denver alumni this month shared positive memories about TWU with Jasmin Carter and me, noting the excellence of their education and appreciation for the university’s accessibility.

Enrollment Management Report

  • This summer’s total enrollment is up 2.3%, and we predict 15,802 students for this fall, a 1.8% increase over last year.
  • Going forward, advances in student recruiting will include a transition to a “territory management” model, digital viewbooks, virtual campus tour, and digitizing financial aid.

Capital Projects

  • All major construction projects on our Denton campus are on-budget and on-schedule; four will be completed by the end of the year.
  • A new east parking lot on the Denton campus is being built that will add 520 more spaces.
    a bar graph showing the progress of TWU's capital projects through the year 2020

Fieldhouse building

  • The board approved construction of a new fieldhouse to be located near the new soccer fields. This will be funded through auxiliary reserve fees and philanthropic contributions. No education or general funds will be used.
  • This building will provide spaces for concessions, coach offices, storage, locker rooms, ADA-compliant restrooms and a classroom. This will also take pressure off of Pioneer Hall, freeing up that space for more academic functions.
  • There will not be a student fee increase for this project. (Texas Woman’s does not have an athletics fee, as there is at many other universities.)
    artist rendering of future soccer fieldhouse


  • Upgrades to the Denton Campus Bookstore are well overdue; it was last updated back when our enrollment was around 7,000. New features will be added and the facility will be easier to navigate by visitors.
  • The $1.5 million budget for this renovation comes out of auxiliary reserve funds and a $355K investment from our vendor, Follett. (We cannot use tuition or state funding for this project.)
  • Mary Eleanor Brackenridge Hall Student Center Annex
  • With the opening of Hubbard Hall in December, the board approved adding the word “annex” to the current student center building.
  • Student Life funds will be used to enhance and remodel spaces in this building, allowing the university to relocate Student Life departments and free up space in academic buildings.


  • Starting this year, TWU will reallocate 5% of all revenue generated outside of designated tuition to support overall operations. This methodology clarifies that now 49% of university operations support comes from Student Life auxiliary fees.
  • Of the $10.7 million in new revenue, 79.1% will be used for academic support, including new faculty lines, merit increases for faculty, promotion and tenure, equity adjustments, and program support.
  • We have a solid budget to cover operating expenses for this coming year and strong financial reserves. Moving forward, we need to ensure our revenue from tuition and state support (through credit hour production) keeps pace with our increasing expenses (e.g., salaries).

Audit Services Report

  • This group completed four projects this quarter including reviews of board governance policy, the research center, and travel and entertainment expenditures by directors and above. Recommendations include an enhanced travel and entertainment policy, improved compliance with existing guidelines, and strengthened approval processes.
  • The audit plan for 2019-20 includes 10 projects, with at least one per division.

The successes I’ve summarized would not be possible without all of us working together on our shared mission. I’m also grateful for the support from the regents, and as I have done each year so far, I announced that I am giving my performance pay back to the university.

Again, I hope this brief “bulleted” summary is useful to you. The regents meetings are recorded, so you can go deeper on anything summarized above if you would like. You are always welcome to ask questions if you cannot find your answers in the board materials. If you are so inclined, let me know whether you prefer this style of summary or my previous approach.
In any event, I look forward to seeing you all next week at Fall Assembly. I hope you enjoy these last few days of our academic summer.

With Pioneer Pride,

Carine M. Feyten, Ph.D.
Chancellor and President

Page last updated 2:53 PM, August 13, 2019