In the next few weeks, a variety of campus construction projects will be finished while several new initiatives will be started. Centennial Village’s official ribbon-cutting as well as the dedication of the ‘time capsule’ will soon be scheduled. Temporary structures to house personnel currently in the Hardeman Building will arrive on campus to signal the beginning of the complete renovation of that building. Our long-anticipated gathering areas will also open and make the ASU mall an even more welcoming space. These and other projects are creatively displayed on the interactive map now available from the home page of the ASU Web site.
January will intensify our preparations for the 2009 session of the Texas Legislature. Although Texas appears to be better positioned financially than most states, many constituencies will be vying for surplus funds. While ASU’s priorities have been developed as part of the comprehensive plan for the Texas Tech University System, we have also been very active in positioning the campus to support those requests to the Legislature. For example, under Greg Pecina’s leadership, we have improved our classroom and laboratory utilization rates significantly, according to preliminary figures from the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board. Our laboratory use, which was ranked 31st in the fall of 2007, is now ranked 10th out of 35 Texas universities and we now use our labs 28.83 hours a week, well above the Coordinating Board guideline of 25 hours a week. Our improved classroom utilization numbers moved us from 32nd in the rankings to 26th over the same time period. These measures, particularly the laboratory utilization, are a critical element in the Coordinating Board’s decision to support our top Legislative priority, a new building to house the College of Nursing and Allied Health.
Finally, our integrated strategic planning process will gain momentum as we prepare for the public presentation of Vision 2012 scheduled at 2 p.m. April 1 in the Davidson Conference Center. We anticipate by that date that the mission, vision and values statements developed by our campus planning committees will have been reviewed and adopted by the TTUS Board of Regents. We will also be well into the update of our Centennial Campus Master Plan, which will incorporate public art into the facilities plan for a truly ‘residential campus.’
Most importantly, our planning will introduce metrics against which to measure our progress toward these strategic goals. ASU will not be immune from national discussions on accountability, affordability and efficiencies in higher education. Our integrated planning process must be seen to support our decisions to allocate funds to achieve system-mandated goals, including growth in campus enrollment. As a mentor of mine once noted, “do not confuse effort with results.” As a campus we must enhance those programs and services which support our strategic goals, while taking a very close look at activities and initiatives which are not aligned with that comprehensive plan. Strategic planning across campus is designed to ensure that all members of our campus community have the ability to be an active part of this vital process. I urge you to be involved.
Again, welcome back. It will be an exciting spring on campus. Together we will make the New Year a memorable one for Angelo State University and our city.
Joseph C. Rallo