The spring has been a busy and productive time on campus. We will welcome two new vice presidents to campus in July. Dr. Anthony Blose will join us from Lake Superior State University in Michigan as our new Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs. Dr. Vance Valerio will assume the newly created position of Vice President for Student Affairs and Enrollment Management, a division critical to the success of our enrollment growth goals. We have also hired Susan Williams, a seasoned academic leader from Goodfellow AFB, as the Deputy Director of the new Center for Security Studies. A search will begin shortly for a Center Director, who should be in place by the beginning of the new academic year.
At its May meeting the Texas Tech University System (TTUS) Board of Regents approved several significant initiatives for ASU. To meet the increased demand for campus housing the Board gave the go-ahead for Plaza Verde I, a 400-bed facility north of the University Mall at a projected cost of $35 million. Plaza Verde I is expected to be open by August 2011. The Board also tentatively authorized the demolition of Concho Hall in early 2012 and the construction of Plaza Verde II on the site of the former high rise with a projected opening date of August 2012. Once completed, the campus will have two additional modern residence facilities with a net gain of approximately 500 beds for undergraduate students. Also, 1 percent of these construction costs will support our Public Art Project to further beautify the campus.
ASU is also dramatically expanding its dual credit/concurrent enrollment opportunities for high school students during the summer. Of particular note is the innovative Summer Immersion Dual Enrollment in the Sciences (SIDES), where students take four credits in biology and three in mathematics during the month-long program. For high achieving high school students who participate in SIDES, we will offer a Carr Scholarship to allow them to take the full program at no cost. All of these students are included in the enrollment count by the state to set next year’s funding for ASU. Ideally, many of these individuals will elect to enroll as freshmen once they complete high school.
Naturally, we face significant challenges this coming year. As I noted in my last letter, we must give back 5 percent of our budget to the state for this year and next at a net cost of over $2 million. We must also continue to intensify efforts to increase student enrollment, which is essential to our long-term fiscal stability. Although the spring saw record enrollment at both the undergraduate and graduate levels, the fact that we could not award over $750,000 in gift aid to students because of a lack of qualified applicants strongly suggests that our marketing efforts must continue as a primary focus for all of us.
Let me close by again underscoring the fact that we will succeed as an institution because of our people. A wonderful example is the appointment of Student Government Association President Jeff Harris as the new student regent for the Texas Tech University System. Jeff’s selection by the Governor to represent nearly 40,000 students within TTUS is a testament to the caliber of individuals who define ASU and its surrounding community.
Again, thanks and enjoy the summer.
Joseph C. Rallo