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Tougher Admission Standards
Among Regents Actions

Tougher admission standards, a new name for the Department of Public Communication, and new fees relating to library use, correspondence courses and degree programs and majors offered online were among the measures approved Friday for Sam Houston State University.

The Texas State University System Board of Regents approved the proposals submitted by Bobby K. Marks, Sam Houston State University president, during a regular quarterly meeting in Beaumont. In addition to Sam Houston State, the board governs Lamar, Angelo, Southwest Texas and Sul Ross state universities.

Under SHSU's current standards, students graduating in the top half of their high school class are admitted with no minimum scores on the ACT and SAT admissions tests. Beginning in the fall of 2002, students in the top quarter will continue to be admitted under that standard, but students in the second quarter must score 19 on the ACT or 930 on the SAT.

Standards for the third quarter were raised from 21 to 22 on the ACT and 1010 to 1030 on the SAT and for the fourth quarter from 21 to 25 on the ACT and 1010 to 1140 on the SAT.

"We believe the new admissions standards will be of great benefit to prospective students by assisting them in identifying levels of preparation which will allow them to have successful educational experiences at Sam Houston State University," said David Payne, vice president for academic affairs.

"These students will now be better able to prepare themselves for more satisfying and fulfilling college experiences," Payne said. "At the same time the university continues progress toward its goal of providing regularly increasing quality education to all those who are admitted."

Joey Chandler, director of admissions/recruiting, said that while the changes may initially cause a slight decrease in students, in the long run they will mean higher enrollments because more students will be retained and more students will want to enroll at a university with higher standards.

"I'm excited about the changes," said Chandler. "It will only improve the quality of our students and will certainly improve retention and graduation rates. Most of all, I want people admitted to Sam Houston State University who can be successful."

In other action, the board approved a name change for the Department of Public Communication to the School of Public Communication, which is expected to provide that area greater visibility and prestige.

"A review of the size, diversity, and general activity of the department clearly reveals that it functions not like a department but like either a school or college," said Don Richardson, public communication chairman.

The school consists of four programs--radio-television with 371 majors, journalism with 175 majors, speech communication with 103 majors and photography with 102 majors (all numbers from fall 2000 enrollment).

The school operates the campus radio and television stations and student newspaper. Richardson expects high interest in a new multimedia authoring and communication major which has been approved recently by the regents and the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board.

The $303 per course fee for online degrees and majors indicates SHSU's continuing move into more distance education. The degrees include a Master of Arts in History, Master of Science in Criminal Justice, and undergraduate majors in history, criminal justice and victim studies.

Fees necessary for offering an online Master of Education Degree in Reading were approved previously.

Also approved was a $30 per student ($15 for summer sessions) library fee, which will be used to increase library hours, staffing, periodical and monograph acquisitions and online access. This proposal was previously approved by the Student Government Association, the University Faculty Senate and the Academic Policy Council and becomes effective in spring 2002.

The fee for a correspondence course will increase from $155 to $189 in September, to be used for increased costs in supplies and postage. Also approved was a $300 per student fee for students with dietetic program internships.

The board also heard a report from Ralph D. Spencer Sr., who is preparing a master plan for development of the SHSU campus from 2001-2010, which he expects to complete and publish in July.

"The campus is habitat," Spencer told the regents. "It should be functional and livable, an inspiration to scholars."

His plan is expected to include recommendations for new student housing, better definition of campus edges and structured parking.

"Few university campus environments are as contained, unified, orderly or convenient as SHSU is or could be," said Spencer. "It is an advantage of considerable value that a student can walk to any campus destination in five to eight minutes, from a dormitory or parked auto. Here that is possible."

Other action by the regents included:

  • Approved contracts and purchase orders of $180,000 for renovation of the University Theater Center, $125,000 to replace the Sam Houston Memorial Museum roof, and $145,000 to replace auditorium seating in the Beto Criminal Justice Center;

  • Approved preliminary plans for a $285,000 renovation of the Smith-Hutson Business Building;

  • Authorized deletion of two master's degrees in art and one in physics, all because of lack of enrollment in those programs and to allow resources to be used in undergraduate programs;

  • Authorized changing the name of bachelor's and master's degree majors from "home economics" to "family and consumer sciences."

  • Approved study abroad programs in Sao Paulo, Brazil; Wuhan, China; San Juan, Costa Rica; Havana, Cuba; London, England; Wurzburg, Germany; Budapest, Hungary; Seoul, Korea; Warsaw, Poland; Barcelona, Spain; Tuscany, Italy and Puebla, Mexico;

  • Approved preliminary plans for heating, ventilation and air conditioning improvements to the Lee Drain, Teacher Education and Gresham Library buildings, with an expected cost of $571,555;

  • Approved preliminary plans for fire alarm and smoke detection equipment in the music building, with an expected cost of $375,000;

  • Approved demolition of the Hathorn House, a two-story residence hall built in 1961, because of foundation settling and damage.

- END -

SHSU Media Contact: Frank Krystyniak
June 8, 2001
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