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Gibson Gives Fall 2012 Faculty, Staff Address

Sept. 6, 2012
SHSU Media Contact: Julia May

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Sam Houston State University President Dana Gibson began her address to faculty and staff on Thursday afternoon (Sept. 6) with a few identifying markers for the class of 2016.

“They can’t picture people actually carrying luggage through airports rather than rolling it,” she said. “Star Wars has always been just a film, not a defense strategy. They have had to incessantly remind their parents not to refer to their CDs and DVDs as ‘tapes.’”

According to early, unofficial figures, the class of 2016 coming into Sam Houston State increased by more than 9 percent over last year’s number. On the third class day, figures showed SHSU with the largest number of students in its history, with more than 18,500 enrolled, or an increase of more than 4 percent over last fall’s enrollment. These figures are changing daily, however, and official figures will not be released until after the twelfth class day.

“With a lot of Texas universities having no substantial increase in enrollment this fall, it will be good for Sam Houston State University going into this upcoming legislative session to have an increase of almost 5 percent,” she said.

Semester credit hours have increased by more than 5 percent, an important figure because each public institution in Texas receives a general revenue appropriation from the legislature based on a designated dollar amount multiplied by the semester credit hour.

During the address Gibson explained the procedure for getting approval for new structures.

“There have been lots of focus groups, and we’ve had an advisory group with representatives from students, faculty, staff and administrators meeting all year,” she said. “We hope to finalize an update to the master plan over the next couple of months so that we can present it at the Board of Regents meeting coming up in November.”

With regard to the proposed research park, Gibson explained how the park would be utilized.

“We are looking at a donation of land between 60 and 80 acres. That land will be the location of buildings relating to research,” she said. “One of the items that has already been identified as a need for this area is a business incubator. We already have faculty, staff and students with ideas for business development, so this would offer an enhancement for those things.”

In addition to niche projects such as the wastewater and invasive species studies that are already being worked on at SHSU, the research park would also provide an opportunity for the university to attract research and development for law enforcement and corrections industries.

Gibson discussed the Sam Houston University Foundation, Inc., formerly known as the Sam Houston Foundation, which reorganized this year and changed its tax-exempt status to better allow for assisting the university with private fund raising.

“The foundation is now more typical of what you see with other university foundations,” she said. “It also allows us to qualify for matching grants from some corporate foundations that only recognize a 501c3 tax-exempt status. Other benefits are the flexibility the organization has in managing resources and the ability to keep anonymity for donors.”

Gibson also spoke about an efficiency task force, composed of faculty, student and staff representatives that was created last year. The group has hosted several town hall forums and received suggestions through paper forms and online surveys.

“The work of the task force helped with a more efficient budgeting process, provided plans for more streamline assessment and reporting, and helped with better-coordinated technology acquisition,” Gibson said. “It has also helped with keeping tuition and fees low and managing time better.”

Gibson mentioned a number of highlights from the previous year. Among them are the SHSU-The Woodlands Center grand opening; the Faculty/Staff Annual Fund Campaign with 82 percent participation campus-wide; being named to the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll for contributing more than 600,000 hours of service; selection as a “Great College to Work For” for the third consecutive year; and a number of individual awards for faculty, students and student organizations.

Gibson also discussed upcoming legislative items that Sam Houston State will address, including funding and increasing the incentive-based funding; reimbursement to the university for the loss of funds due to waivers and exemptions; tuition revenue bonds for construction of academic buildings; and raising the caps on student fees.

Prior to Gibson’s address, she presented awards to a number of faculty and staff for years of service and recognized four staff members for their contributions beyond the scope of their jobs.



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