San Marcos Mercury | Local News from San Marcos and Hays County, Texas

August 25th, 2010
Trauth: Texas State grows to meet challenges

082510trauth

Texas State President Denise Trauth, shown here speaking in 2003, said Tuesday that the university’s growth is meeting the challenges of the time. Texas State photo.

STAFF REPORT

Texas State President Denise Trauth said Tuesday that the university is meeting the historical moment with its growth in enrollment and academic programs.

Classes begin today at Texas State, where Trauth gave her “State of the University” speech at the university’s fall convocation. Trauth said enrollment for the fall will reach a record of at least 31,500 and maybe more than 32,000 for the university’s 108th fall semester. The university received trustee authorization for two more PhD programs last week, which will bring the university’s total to 11.

The university has $443 million of capital improvements in the works, and a recently announced $1.85 federal grant to the university and San Marcos will help launch a research and commercialization center that will support an additional PhD program. The university’s growth reaches all the way out to Round Rock, where the St. David’s School of Nursing will open this week.

Trauth seized on a recent study by the College Board in support of the university’s growth. The study said the United States has fallen to 12th among the world’s developed nations in the percentage of postsecondary graduates between the ages of 25 and 34. In 1980, the United States led the world by that measure.

As of 2008, according to the study, 41.6 percent of Americans between 25 and 34 held an associates degree or higher. Texas ranked 43 among the 50 states and the District of Columbia with a college degree rate of 30.7 percent among that age group.

“A nation or a state reaches its peak because of cultural, scientific and economic achievements coalescing,” Trauth said. “These kinds of achievements are typically attributable to college graduates. Texas desperately needs more college graduates, and Texas State University needs to continue to be a part of this trend and we will do that. We have been a part of the cultural, scientific and economic achievements of the state and nation since our founding. It’s what we do.”

While the study put the national postsecondary degree rate among Hispanics 25 to 34 at 19.8 percent, Trauth said about 25 percent of Texas State’s enrollment this year will be Hispanic. The university has been cited for innovations in academic policies and programs that better serve Latino students.

“We want to be a shining star for Texas, delivering exceptional opportunities for students of every ethnicity, and we want to be the model HSI (Hispanic Serving Institution) in Texas,” Trauth said. “We are well on our way toward that goal.”

The university began a new doctoral program in criminal justice last fall and received permission to plan two more doctoral programs. Starting next fall, the Department of Curriculum and Instruction will add Doctor of Education and Doctor of Philosophy degrees.

A university program in materials science, engineering and commercialization yielded a grant of $1.85 million to the university and the City of San Marcos from the U.S. Economic Development Administration. The grant will support the construction of the research and commercialization center at the corner of McCarty Lane and Hunter Road. Eventually, that program will add a doctoral degree.

“This business incubator is a key component of our future doctoral program in materials science, engineering and commercialization,” Trauth said. “This program will prepare graduates who can effectively participate in research that spans multiple fields … Texas has no doctoral programs that couple technological innovation with entrepreneurship. Our program will do that.”

In October, the university will break ground for the north campus housing project, a three-building cluster that will house 612 students. In June, the university broke ground for the new undergraduate academic center. The building will house the PACE (Personalized Academic and Career Exploration) initiative, a one-stop location for freshman advising, career planning and mentoring.

“It’s a place where our first-year students can match their interests and abilities to possible work fields and find out what it takes to get where they want to go,” said Trauth.

In addition to the PACE Center, the building will also house the University College and the Departments of Sociology, Political Science and Psychology.

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