Highlights from the February 2022 board meeting

Dear Texas Woman’s Colleagues,

The Texas Woman’s University System Board of Regents held its latest quarterly meeting last Thursday and Friday on the Denton campus. They received reports and took action, so I want to share some of those highlights with you.

Chancellor Feyten with the TWU 2021-2022 Board of Directors beneath an arch of balloons

Vice President for Student Life Monica Mendez-Grant, who oversees enrollment management, reported the second-highest ever student headcount for spring. Although it was down slightly from the same reporting period in 2021, we exceeded 15,000 students for the second consecutive spring. In the past few months, we have signed several partnership agreements with North Texas community colleges to provide financial benefits to first-year and transfer students in specific counties who come to Texas Woman’s. I expect these agreements will lead to continued enrollment growth in the coming years.

Another indicator of our growth—and escalating impact on our community and Texas—is the university’s physical expansion. The regents authorized two projects that will have transformative implications for the university: 1) a new health science center just east of Parliament Village and 2) a significant update to Brackenridge Hall.

The Brackenridge Hall project includes renovation of the university’s bookstore, a visitor’s center, a “one-stop-shop” of support services to prospective and existing students and their families, and a significant facelift for the exterior and interior of the venerable building.

The 175,000-square-foot health science facility will include clinics, labs, classrooms, and collaborative workspaces. It will support our Learn to Thrive: Strategic Plan 2022 and the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board’s 60x30 plan. Not only will our allied health students receive valuable education and clinical training, but the university will offer health services to the Denton community.

The regents also approved 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. Our social work program is now the Orien Levy Woolf Division of Social Work. Woolf was a longtime community volunteer. Her namesake charitable trust continued a legacy of giving at Texas Woman’s by establishing the Orien Levy Woolf and Dr. Jack Woolf Social Work Scholarship Endowment, supporting graduate and undergraduate students.

Before her husband’s death in 1974 to cancer, Florence Doswell began developing strong relationships with the nursing team that cared for him. After his death, she made a series of significant contributions to the university’s nursing school. The planned nursing research center will benefit faculty from all three campuses who are conducting original research and those engaged in clinical translational, quality improvement, and evidence-based practice investigations.

In other action, regents approved certain fee waivers for women incarcerated in the state’s prison system. This change will allow us to partner with the Texas Department of Criminal Justice and provide remote instruction to eligible inmates in the prison system.

When launched, the initial program will create a path for qualifying inmates to earn a bachelor’s degree in sociology. Inmates with a college credential have less recidivism and can find higher-paying jobs when reintegrating into society. Although we will agree to waive specific fees, inmates must still pay tuition. I must thank Vice Provost Barbara Lerner for spearheading the effort to put together this visionary program.

Jane Nelson Institute for Women’s Leadership Chief Executive Mary Anne Alhadeff and Sneha Bharadwaj, a professor in the communication sciences, briefed regents on the institute’s book series Pioneering Women: Leaders and Trailblazers. The university launched the series in 2018 with the generous support of former Regent Nancy P. Paup (’73 BS, ’74 MEd) and her husband, Thaddeus E. Paup.

The book series, of which Dr. Bharadwaj serves as general editor, celebrates the achievements of courageous, trailblazing women in the arts, sciences, politics, business, education, and the military and seeks monographs, biographies, analyses, and visual art or photography to help tell stories of women leaders and matters affecting the lives of women. The editorial committee passes publications along to Texas A&M Press for peer review. The first book in this series is Making Space for Women: Stories from Trailblazing Women of NASA’s Johnson Space Center, which is particularly fitting given the university’s association with the space agency over the decades.

Speaking of achievements, Sandee Mott, director of athletics, reported to regents that our athletes continue to excel in their respective sports and in the classroom. Collectively, our athletes earned above a 3.5 GPA last fall, with 40% of our student-athletes earning a perfect 4.0. With that, our student-athletes have now posted an average GPA of 3.0 or better for 79 consecutive semesters. Additionally, our body of student-athletes continues to grow now that the new STUNT and artistic swimming teams have begun competing and with wrestling scheduled to start matches in the fall.

And finally, our University Advancement Alumni Engagement team provided updates on Homecoming 2022, April 20-30. They will host events on all three campuses, focusing on activities that involve both students and alumni.

In my report, I unpacked some headlines from prominent media outlets that suggest that the growing proportion of women in higher education is a crisis for men, as if it were a zero-sum game. I presented some context. In the past several decades, male enrollment in higher education has climbed and is still rising—the rate of women enrollment has just been greater. I also offered the gender-related gaps in pay and lifetime earnings and described economic structures that push women to earn a degree. Finally, I highlighted the leadership spectrum is still dominated by men at the top—only 4.1% of top CEOs in the US are women. My conclusion is that the media’s “crisis” may be misplaced. I plan to turn my report into an op-ed.
Our university system continues to thrive. I am grateful for your unwavering support to continue making our communities better.

With a pioneering spirit,

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

Page last updated 9:05 AM, February 23, 2022