Jan. 5, 2011
To the University Community:
It is with mixed emotions that I tell you that Provost David Payne has decided to retire effective July 31, 2011. In his usual thoughtful manner he has planned this transition to allow the University adequate time to perform a search. Under Dr. Payne's leadership the academic division of Sam Houston State University has progressed far past what one would expect during his tenure of more than 13 years. First and foremost, Sam Houston moved to a Carnegie Doctoral Research classification status and was recently awarded a Carnegie Community Engaged classification. Dr. Payne led not one, but two SACS accreditation reaffirmations during his tenure with the most recent reaffirmation in December 2010.
During Dr. Payne's administration the University increased the quality and breadth of offerings in undergraduate and graduate programs. Sam Houston experienced two organizational changes under Dr. Payne's leadership creating a College of Humanities and Social Sciences and, most recently, the new College of Fine Arts and Mass Communication. Dr. Payne's unwavering stance on the importance of quality instruction manifested into an approximate 44% increase in the number of tenure/tenure track faculty at Sam Houston State University. The Provost has been a leader and champion of greater technology in the classroom and a proponent of online learning, placing Sam Houston in the forefront.
The award winning SAM Center was the product of Dr. Payne's interest in and ongoing efforts to ensure our students have all the assistance needed to plan for graduation. Because of Provost Payne's emphasis on research, Sam Houston now incorporates a three-course teaching load and has increased the availability of faculty development leave for research faculty. These changes have resulted in an increase in research and creative activity as well as almost tripling the sponsored funding.
Provost Payne has established a strong, objective academic culture that continues to raise the bar on the quality of the academic programs and services at Sam Houston State University. His rigorous expectation for quality benefits our current students, and since it permeates the academic units, these expectations will continue to enhance student and faculty experiences for years to come.
All of us in the Sam Houston community acknowledge what Dr. Payne's valuable leadership has done for the University. In addition - and on a personal note - I must convey that I do not believe I have ever had a colleague of such integrity. Dr. Payne's knowledge and experience have helped me immensely during my recent transition to president, and for that assistance I will be eternally grateful. However, after all these years of dedicated service to Sam Houston State University, Provost Payne deserves to spend more time with his wonderful wife, Grettle, his children and grandchildren. I just hope he continues to spend time with all of us here at Sam Houston.
We are presently in the process of naming the Search Committee membership which will start the task of filling this vital position.
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