Highlights from the August 2021 board meeting

Dear Texas Woman’s Colleagues,

I hope this message finds you well on Chad’s birthday! Texas Woman’s is bustling with activity: student move-in, fall assembly, faculty development luncheon, college meetings, and so much more—and more yet to come. Now is when your planning, course building, and engagement strategies kick into gear. As I said at our assembly: the momentum has built, and our proverbial flywheel is spinning with intention and purpose.

As always, I want to send you highlights from the Texas Woman’s University System Board of Regents quarterly meeting held last Thursday and Friday — the first in-person meeting of the board since February 2020, shortly before the COVID-19 pandemic began disrupting operations across the university.

It was a refreshing change of pace to see regents in person, even though their masks concealed the usual warm smiles.

We used the in-person opportunity to give regents a tour of our newest building, the Scientific Research Commons, showcasing innovative faculty and student researchers. We also toured the renovated space in Old Main for the Jane Nelson Institute for Women’s Leadership.

A group photo of the 2021 Board of Regents with Chancellor Feyten in the Scientific Research Commons building on the Denton campus

Clearly, with COVID-19 continuing to be a significant concern in our approach to our educational mission, we are proceeding with caution as fall classes begin on Aug. 23. Although a governor’s executive order prevents public universities from requiring masks on campus, we continue to strongly encourage masking up and getting vaccinated.

We were pleased to report to regents that our strong summer enrollment will carry over into the fall. While other higher education institutions are projecting enrollment decreases, our projections suggest that we are headed for another year of record enrollment, an increase of about 1.7% over last fall. Continuing students and a surge in new graduate students, who account for more than an 8% jump from a year ago, fuel the growth.

Key staff in our division of enrollment management, led by Vice President Monica Mendez-Grant, have been working diligently, nudging students along with texts and emails to get them enrolled. The division is introducing a parent portal to enhance communications with parents of our students—and financial aid videos in English and Spanish—to further help drive enrollment.

On a related note, we continue to make our degree programs more easily accessible, expanding our reach so that more working students can pursue degrees at Texas Woman’s. Regents authorized the university to offer distance delivery in 16 existing degree programs, including a Ph.D. in reading education and an M.Ed. in school counseling. The other programs, all bachelor’s degrees, are in business, child development, criminal justice, education, family studies, health studies, kinesiology, and sociology.

Regents also approved our new budget, which includes dedicated funding for a sustainable approach to summer school and part-time faculty, a 3% merit pool for base-pay raises, and federal relief funds for students who experienced financial hardships during the pandemic.

I was thrilled to introduce the head coaches of our newest competitive sports teams: Jasmine Owens for our STUNT team and Randi Miller for our women’s wrestling team.

Owens was the 2018 College STUNT Association “Athlete of the Year,” three-time, first-team All-America, and a four-time NCA All-American. And Miller is a 2008 Olympic medalist in wrestling and served as an assistant coach on the 2021 Team USA Cadet World Team in Budapest, Hungary. There are more than 4,000 high school women wrestlers in Texas, and we will have the first women’s wrestling program at a public university here. Regent Chair Wu observed how satisfying it felt to see the vision of the competitive sports initiative in our strategic plan come to fruition in such an impressive way.

We also were pleased to introduce to regents five 2021 Denton High School graduates who will attend Texas Woman’s this fall. They are the first recipients of the Dieb-McDavid Scholarship Program, launched this summer and which our esteemed Regent Vice Chair Stacie Dieb McDavid and her husband fund.
Scholarship recipients and the majors they are pursuing are Kimberly Gomez (psychology), Mayte Martinez-Rico (nursing), Britney McVey (marketing), Valerie Palomino (psychology), and Leilani Ramirez (nursing). The scholarships are valued at $20,000 each over four years and reflect a spirit of paying it forward for Vice-Chair McDavid, who herself is an alumna of Denton High School and Texas Woman’s.

Lastly, I want to express my appreciation to our regents and you—the faculty and staff—who together continue to demonstrate a genuine commitment to advancing the university and its community.

With a pioneering spirit,

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

Page last updated 8:57 AM, August 18, 2021