Highlights from the May 2022 board meeting

Dear Colleagues,

Before sharing highlights from the Board of Regents meeting last week, I want to express my deep sorrow regarding the news from Uvalde. While I did not personally know anyone there, I grieve with those of you who do and for the loss of so many loved ones. We are all connected with broken hearts, and we will need to lean on each other as we heal.

While right now, everything else seems trivial, here are the highlights of the quarterly board meetings that took place last Thursday and Friday on the Dallas campus.

Provost Kapinus introduced new members of the Academic Affairs leadership team, and the board approved tenure and promotions for 18 faculty members, listed Inside TWU. As it was her last regents’ meeting as provost, the regents offered deep gratitude for her service to the university and excitement that she would continue at the university in another capacity. In a joint statement, Regent Chair Wu called on all of us—students, faculty, staff, and administrators—to engage in shared governance that includes “transparency, clear communication, and an acknowledgment that we all share a common mission to ‘Educate a woman, empower the world.’”

Dr. Alyssa LaForme Fiss, a professor of physical therapy on the Dallas campus, presented her compelling research targeting mobility enhancement in infants with Down syndrome. Early results suggest remarkable improvements in infants’ exploratory behavior, movement, and motor development through treatment involving a canopy harness system. These results have Dr. Fiss seeking to expand the scope of her team’s pilot with external grants.

As part of our ongoing effort to expand our programs to fit the evolving needs of our students, regents authorized the hybrid delivery of a BA in English and online delivery of a BS in Early Childhood Development. Offering additional instructional modalities to students provides greater access to programs for those who work or who have families that require them to be more flexible in their schedules.

Vice President for University Advancement Dr. Kimberly Russell reported that the Texas Woman’s University Foundation reached $105 million in net assets, its highest level ever. The number of gifts and donors also reached a high-water mark in the third quarter of the fiscal year 2022. It is a positive sign that Texas Woman’s is making progress stewarding philanthropic relationships despite challenges that arose because of the pandemic.

Regents approved a new enterprise resource planning (ERP) system to replace our 20-year-old Oracle eBusiness Suite, which handles financial and personnel transactions. Oracle will no longer support that software after December 2023. The new system should be in place by September of that year. Eventually, it will also replace the Ellucian Colleague ERP, which was implemented in 1992 and handles student transactions. By consolidating these antiquated systems into a single ERP, the university will streamline processes while expanding capability, access to data, and user experience.

Regents also authorized infrastructure improvements for the eastern portion of campus, which will add parking, sidewalks, lighting, wastewater, storm drainage, and other essential improvements in advance of the construction of the new health sciences building. Additionally, the board approved funding for foundation repairs to the older wings of the ACT building, where evidence of foundational stress and cracking has become more pronounced since the building’s construction in 1954.

We also used time at the meetings to recognize outstanding achievement and service by some of our students. The board honored student Regent Brookelyn Bush, which included a proclamation from the Faculty Senate, read by Speaker John Terrizzi, outlining her remarkable service. Aside from maintaining outstanding academic achievement while working toward her PhD, Regent Bush worked tirelessly on board matters, presenting to student forums and addressing student concerns.

The board also recognized outgoing Student Government Association President (and new alumna) Theodora Sam-Brew for her service throughout the year. During her tenure, the SGA appointed new senators to represent online-only learners and first-year students for the first time. She also played a crucial role in SGA initiatives Pioneer Palooza and the “Make-a-Sign, Take-a-Sign” project, which promoted free speech.

Regents acknowledged staffers of The Lasso, the student-run publication published as far back as 1915, for winning 17 awards from the Texas Intercollegiate Press Association for content created during the 2020-2021 year on the monthly magazine-style periodical and its art-based companion publication, The Daedalian. I especially want to thank Student Life leadership, Amy Evans, and Joseph Alderman who serves as the adviser to The Lasso.

It was an extraordinary year in athletics, so regents shared their appreciation for the outstanding accolades achieved by our student-athletes in the past year. Athletics Director Sandee Mott noted the gymnastics team brought home its 12th national championship since 1993, and that recent graduate Isabel Goyco repeated as the individual national champion for her floor exercise. Artistic swimming finished fourth nationally in its inaugural year, ahead of several other powerhouse schools. Our STUNT team won its first game this year, and basketball notched its first win ever in a regional postseason tournament.

By this fall, we will have doubled the number of student-athletes at Texas Woman’s since introducing competitive sports. More impressive, though, is that the growing roster of student-athletes continues to perform admirably in the classroom. Collectively, our student-athletes posted a 3.611 GPA average this spring, with 53 of our athletes posting a perfect 4.0 GPA. This spring marked the 80th consecutive semester in which our student-athletes posted a collective GPA of 3.0 or higher.

Finally, in my report to the regents, I highlighted how our biggest challenge is to ‘think different’ or, in other words, to change our mental models as we expand our reach. Examples include: our competitive sports teams in TWU Athletics; new direction in media relations; shifts in strategic philanthropy that engage women in STEM; our increased efforts in Washington, D.C. with federal funding; new ways we honor alumni and celebrate homecoming; and even our approach to diversity equity, and inclusion that departs from traditional models.

Today also marks one year since state leadership recognized Texas Woman’s as the seventh university system in Texas and the first in the nation with a woman-focus. We are still working diligently on operationalizing that designation. Some of the financial data has been difficult to analyze, so I appreciate your patience as we do our due diligence.

Texas Woman’s continues to reinvent how we do things while staying true to our mission and vision. The success of these meetings is a tribute to all of you who continue to show unwavering support and a true dedication to making the culture on our campuses ever better.

With a pioneering spirit,

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

Page last updated 10:12 AM, May 26, 2022