Texas A&M University-Commerce Expands to Four Academic Colleges
April 22, 2011
Texas A&M University-Commerce Expands to Four Academic Colleges
Larry F. Lemanski, Ph.D.
Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs
The formation of two new colleges has been approved for Texas A&M University-Commerce effective April 4, 2011 by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB). The new colleges are the College of Science, Engineering and Agriculture (CSEA) and the College of Humanities, Social Sciences, and Arts (CHSSA). The new colleges join the existing College of Business and College of Education and Human Services.
The reorganization of Texas A&M University-Commerce into four colleges represents an extremely important move in advancing the university on a variety of fronts. This new administrative structure will significantly improve communications and interactions among university, college and department-level administrations, thus promoting much closer interactions of the college deans, faculty, staff and students. In a study conducted on enrollment per college in 15 other Texas universities (nine Texas A&M University regional campuses, and six other Texas universities), A&M-Commerce was found to have the largest enrollment per college by far at 3,549. The average of the other 15 universities was 1,175 students per college, or less than one-third the size of A&M-Commerce. The addition of the fourth college would bring the average enrollment down to 2,661 students per college. This is still significantly larger than any other university in the study, but represents a major step in providing sound leadership and accommodating future growth at the university. The comparative students per college enrollment data are summarized in the following table (Table #1).
|College||Enrollment||Number of Colleges||Average College Enrollment|
|Texas A&M University-Commerce||10,647||3||3,549|
|Tarleton State (A&M System)||9,000||6||1,500|
|West Texas A&M||7,769||5||1,553|
|Prairie View A&M University||8,608||8||1,076|
|Texas A&M International University||6,419||3||2,139|
|Dallas Baptist University||5,400||7||771|
|Angelo State University||6,387||5||1,277|
|Midwestern State University||6,342||6||1,057|
|Average (excluding A&M-Commerce)||6,577||5.6||1,175|
Table 1: This table shows that universities in Texas with similar enrollments generally have a greater number of colleges and, in fact, several smaller schools have more colleges than A&M-Commerce. An analysis of these data confirms that A&M-Commerce, on average, has by far the largest number of students per college at 3,549. The next largest is Texas A&M International University at 2,139. The average of all the other universities (excluding A&M-Commerce) is 1,175 students per college or less than one third of the A&M-Commerce enrollment per college. Even with an additional college at A&M-Commerce, the enrollment per college would be 2,661, still more than any other university listed. Never-the-less, an additional college will be a major step forward for accommodating the future growth and development of the university.
When enrollment at A&M-Commerce was significantly less, the three college model, although not ideal, was workable. With the current enrollment of more than 10,000 students, it has simply become too inefficient to operate optimally and serve the university, faculty, staff and students at the highest levels. The new college structure will permit a much closer interaction among the dean, college constituents and the central university administration. The new deans will be within the general academic disciplines of their new colleges, unlike the current situation which requires a single dean to oversee departments in the hard sciences as well as the liberal and fine arts. The newly-reorganized administrative structure will provide a much closer match of the expertise required to promote significant interactions among peers, greater oversight and leadership over major issues, and leadership essential for promoting scholarly productivity and increased external funding in specific disciplines, all essential elements of our university strategic plan. The reorganization is critical if we are to move to the next level as an outstanding university that provides the best possible educational and future career opportunities for our students.
The upcoming reorganization also is necessary for the growth of the university as well as its success and prestige. By providing the best possible administrative structure and academic leadership, there will be an optimal learning experience for all current and future students of A&M-Commerce.
The university is currently conducting national searches for two outstanding deans to lead our new colleges. This process includes advertisement in the Chronicle of Higher Education and other highly respected educational postings. In addition, two search committees have been formed and will be chaired by the dean for the College of Business, Dr. Hal Langford, and the dean for the College of Education and Human Services, Dr. Brent Mangus. Each department head was asked to nominate faculty to serve on the committees. The committees will include department heads, faculty, staff, a student representative, community members, and alumni. The search committees have already begun their important work and will continue through the summer and, if necessary, into the fall with regular meetings and interviews. Ideally, the search committees will have a short list of finalists for final review by the provost and official appointment by the president on or before September 1, 2011.
The two new colleges (College of Science, Engineering and Agriculture and the College of Humanities, Social Science and the Arts) will begin functioning as independent entities effective June 1, 2011; their budgets will be completely separated beginning September 1, 2011. Even with one college becoming two colleges, there is virtually no increase to the total budget. The reorganization divided job functions for the colleges such that a neutral budget was possible. New administrative costs will be kept to a minimum.
Two interim deans already have been appointed to provide administrative leadership until the permanent deans are appointed. I am very pleased that Dr. Salvatore Attardo will serve as the interim dean for the College of Humanities, Social Sciences, and Arts at the University, and I am equally pleased to announce that Dr. Jerry Parish will serve as the interim dean for the College of Sciences, Engineering, and Agriculture. Dr. Attardo and Dr. Parish will bring the expertise, experience and leadership needed for transition of these two new colleges to independent status.
Dr. Salvatore Attardo joined A&M-Commerce in 2007, as the department head of the literature and languages. In 2010, he became interim dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. Before joining A&M-Commerce, Dr. Attardo was a professor of linguistics and coordinator of the linguistics program at Youngstown State University for 15 years. He has published two books and more than seventy articles and other publications, including a co-authored textbook.
Dr. Jerry D. Parish, CSTM, is a tenured full professor of engineering and technology, and has served as the associate dean for the College of Business & Technology since 2003. He first joined the faculty and administration of A&M-Commerce in 1994 as the department head of industrial technology. Before coming to A&M-Commerce he was at Berry College in Rome, Georgia where he was director of graduate studies in business and the evening program in management, interim dean-business school, and department head of engineering, technology and management. From 1978-1987 he was at Southeastern Louisiana University as the department head of industrial technology. Dr. Parish has more than 33 years of higher education experience as a faculty member and administrator and 12 years of business/industrial experience.
Given the looming financial situation for the state of Texas and the university, when the idea arose to move forward or explore the feasibility of creating an additional college, President Dan Jones and the System chancellor and vice chancellor offices stressed that to gain the approval of the Board of Regents, a revenue neutral plan would need to be prepared. By starting with the College of Arts and Science budget and “teasing” the various lines apart for reassignment within the two new colleges, and adding the engineering component from the College of Business and Technology, the budgets worked out to be completely revenue neutral. The budget figures are summarized in Table #2. The new administrative costs are kept to a minimum with the new reorganization since most positions will come through downsizing of administration in the old large college and moving positions into the new stream-lined colleges. New costs over the first five years include hiring a dean and budget officer. Reassigned positions include the current dean of Arts and Science, plus 2.5 FTE associate deans, two administrative assistants and one FTE budget officer. All of these costs were from reassigned pins. The current budget officer from the College of Arts and Sciences has volunteered to handle both new colleges, which will provide additional savings if approved.
|Proposed Funding Need for College Reorganization|
|College of Science, Engineering & Agriculture||College of Humanities, Social Sciences, & Arts|
|Assoc Dean (supplement)||40,000||Assoc Dean (supplement)||40,000|
|Adm Asst||35,000||Adm Asst||35,000|
|Budget Officer||35,000||Budget Officer||35,000|
|Proposed Funding Source for College Split|
|FY 2012 Funding Source:|
|Deans Account 131000-20300||198,171||(1) Dean, (1) Budget, & (2) Admin Assist|
|Vacant PIN||40,000||Administrative portion of PIN|
|Library Operating||75,024||Permanent Fund Swap with Provost HEF|
Table 2: This table illustrates that the administrative personnel cost for the College of Science, Engineering and Agriculture ($250,000) and the College of Humanities, Social Sciences and Arts ($240,000) will total $490,000. The funding available from the resources already available in the College of Arts and Sciences Deans Account, vacant PINs and ongoing HEF funding totals $492,301 or actually slightly more than is required for the two new colleges. Moreover, it is likely that one budget officer could be shared, at least initially, by the two new colleges which would generate an additional salary savings in that category.
A&M-Commerce has focused on educational leadership in the state of Texas for many years. It is beginning to emerge as an outstanding research/scholarly/creative/arts/performing arts university as well with scholarly/creative activities and world-class faculty members. New programs such as the proposed nursing program will likely grow rapidly, creating the need for an additional new college at A&M-Commerce in the near future. The university also will see the addition of a master's and Ph.D. in computational science, a Ph.D. in global E-Learning, an international executive MBA and several other new programs. Our online classes and international programs are gaining local, national and international popularity at a tremendous rate as well. These, along with many other new and expanding programs will continue enrollment growth for our outstanding university.
The reorganization of Texas A&M University-Commerce into four colleges represents an extremely important move in advancing the university to the next levels on a variety of fronts. This new administrative structure will significantly improve communications and interactions among university, college and department-level administrations, thus promoting much closer interactions of the college deans, faculty, staff, and students. The newly-reorganized administrative structure will provide a much closer match of the expertise required in order to promote significant interactions among peers, greater oversight and leadership over major issues. It will also provide essential leadership in promoting scholarly productivity and increased external funding—critical areas for the university if we are to achieve these key elements of our strategic plan and move to the next level as an outstanding university that provides the best possible educational and future career opportunities for our students. I strongly believe that this reorganization is a key to present and future growth, success and prestige of Texas A&M University-Commerce and will help us provide an optimal university experience for our current and future students.