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Administrative Changes Under Way at SHSU

By Twila Lindblade/Staff writer
Huntsville Item

Sam Houston State University recently announced administrative changes which will cater more effectively to student needs and help the university to work toward its mission to keep academics first .

SHSU president James Gaertner said several reasons attributed to the university's decision to reorganize.

"These changes are critical to continue our growth," he said in an interview Tuesday. "It will help us to attract and serve our students better so we can retain them."

According to Gaertner, the new system will help create a more homogeneous academic and administrative structure, eliminate or reduce duplicate or conflicting reporting lines and increase efficiency.

One of the new changes is the creation of the SHSU College of Humanities and Social Sciences. The new college will help the university keep similar departments together.

"Sixty percent of our faculty is in the College of Arts and Sciences. But, the departments have little homogeneity. There is not a logical focus," Gaertner said.

The creation of the new college is designed to serve students more effectively.

"If a student goes into a dean's office (currently), there are so many different programs there is less of a chance to be served well," Gaertner said. "Adding a fifth college is part of our growth. It is an effort to put things together to serve all constituents better."

Effective Sept. 1, SHSU will have five colleges: the College of Criminal Justice, the College of Business Administration, the College of Education, the College of Arts and Sciences and the College of Humanities and Social Sciences. No new academic departments will be added, and each department will keep its physical location as well.

SHSU will appoint an acting dean to serve as the dean of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences later this year. The acting dean will be appointed from existing SHSU staff members, according to David Payne, vice president of academic affairs. A search committee will be formed in late August or early September, and a national search will begin to fill the dean position permanently.

SHSU will create a new position, the vice president for enrollment management, as part of its new changes as well. The new vice president will be responsible for recruitment and retention of undergraduate students. Gaertner said the new leader will help to effectively meet student needs.

Several departments will report to the new leader, including residence life, undergraduate admissions, registrar, financial aid and career services. The new vice president of enrollment management will also be responsible for the SHSU visitor scenter, which is expected to be complete in November 2005.

An advisory search committee is currently working to find a qualified individual to fill the role of vice president for enrollment management .

"We are working on advertising the position right now. We will advertise it nationally through online and paper publications, " said Dr. Genevieve Brown, chair of the committee. "We are hoping to find someone with a doctorate degree who has evidence of successful recruitment and retention methods."

Brown hopes the committee will have found a qualified individual to fill the vice president position by the summer.

In order to promote SHSU in a more focused manner, a new position, director of marketing, was also created last week. The position has not been filled, but is expected to by Sept. 1. Although a successful marketing plan has been in place, a more proactive approach is necessary, Gaertner said.

"We've had reasonable success, but it's time to become more focused and strategic," he said.

Gaertner hopes the new marketing plan will add to the billboards, magazine advertisements and other methods the university has used to promote it in the past two years. He hopes to inform the public about SHSU within the region and state.

As part of the new SHSU changes, Payne was promoted last week to provost in addition to his current position as vice president for academic affairs. As provost, Payne will serve as the second in command to the president of the university. Payne is the first to hold the title of provost at SHSU, but it is a common designation at other universities, Gaertner said.

Payne will gradually receive more responsibilities.

"It will be a gradual evolution," Payne said. "I will work to increase cooperation between the various divisions to make functions smoother.

"I am pleased to be a part of the president's movement to enhance our fine academics," he said.

The SHSU administrative changes were made after input from several university officials throughout the past year and a half. Payne believes the reorganization will allow for additional growth and success.

"It sends a clear message that academics are first. It's a wonderful message to send. We are setting the organizational stage for a longtime. The structure will help us to serve for the next 20 years," he said.

Brown agreed.

"I think the changes will advance the mission and vision of the university," she said.

Once implemented, Gaertner said all of the new SHSU changes will provide a structure to better meet the current and future needs of SHSU.

According to Gaertner, most of the new SHSU changes will not go into effect until Sept. 1 in order to allow for its budget and organization time.

Several other restructuring decisions were made last week regarding reporting duties. For a complete list of the new administrative changes, log onto

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Contact: Twila Lindblade
Huntsville Item

SHSU Media Contact: Frank Krystyniak
Feb. 18, 2004
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