Hopes & Aspirations High

A Vision for the Future of TXST

Achievements and Actions Taken

We launched the Hopes & Aspirations High vision and introduced more than $50 million in investments to move TXST forward. We are implementing many bold recommendations from presidential commissions and task forces aligned with our mission, values, and strategic imperatives. Read the latest updates and actions taken below.

Re-Organized University Structure

We made changes in our organizational structure to integrate offices, divisions, and departments with similar functions geared toward achieving top institutional priorities:

  • Launched national searches for two key positions -- a Vice President for TXST Global (to support our global aspirations and further explore additional online initiatives) and a Vice President for the Round Rock Campus (to lead efforts to grow enrollment and the impact of that campus). Dr. Thillainatarajan “Thilla” Sivakumaran has been chosen as our inaugural Vice President for TXST Global, beginning July 1, 2023.
  • Created a new Division of Research (formerly the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs) to lead the Run to R1.
  • Merged the Office of University Marketing and the Office of University Communications and Public Relations into one division, University Marketing and Communications, to more efficiently support and promote university priorities.
  • Created a new Division of Student Success, comprised of departments from the former Division of Student Affairs and specific student success services units from Academic Affairs, to better coordinate the delivery of student success initiatives.
  • Re-distributed functions from University College (e.g., US 1100 and advising for first-year and exploratory majors) to other areas in Academic Affairs. The bachelor’s degree in General Studies is moving to the College of Education, and the Common Experience and the Common Reading will be discontinued after completion of this year’s theme and programming.
  • Dissolved the Division of University Administration and moved its functions into the Office of the President. Institutional Compliance and Ethics, and most functions currently under Institutional Effectiveness, including Institutional Research, Policies and Procedures, University Planning, University Outcomes Assessment, and SACSCOC accreditation, will report to the President through Chief of Staff and Vice President Lisa Lloyd. Academic Outcomes Assessment, Academic Program Accreditations, and Academic Program Reviews will stay in Academic Affairs.
  • University Libraries has moved from the Division of Information Technology to Academic Affairs under the Provost.

Bold Action Taken

Below are a few of the recommendations submitted to Cabinet from the presidential commissions, task forces and work group. 

  • Six million dollars of university reserves was allocated to admit 50 new PhD students for Spring and Summer 2023 in three PhD programs: Material Science, Engineering and Commercialization, Computer Science, and Aquatic Resources and Integrative Biology. 
  • We exceeded previous records in doctoral student applications and doctoral student admissions for Summer 2023 in programs supported by our Run to R1 investment in research assistantships and tuition scholarships. Similarly, there were record high doctoral student applications across all programs for Fall 2023.
  • To continue efforts to reduce the cost of attendance for undergraduates, we enhanced our total scholarship pool to attract incoming students by $2.1 million, reversing our initial plans to increase undergraduate tuition, and we continue to plan other ways to eliminate undergraduate tuition increases for the foreseeable future. 
  • Recruiting more international and graduate students is a critical part of our Run to R1 and has become a key enrollment growth priority. To that end, we removed a cap that limited the funds we could invest to recruit international students through partner agencies. 
  • First-year applications and admits for Fall 2023 are on record pace, up 23% (+7,393 applications) and 14% (+3,222 admits), respectively, over last year’s record numbers.
  • International FTIC student applications and admits are up a staggering 377% (+467 applications) and 213% (+136 admits), respectively, over last year.
  •  For the first time in our history, TXST is second, only to Texas A&M University, in applications submitted through Apply Texas for Fall 2023.

The following recommendations were brought to the Board of Regents for approval:

  • $2.25 million per year with an incremental increase to account for annual inflation  to launch a Student Success Center, which will include a student success platform that will allow the university to collect, compile, analyze, and act on data that are known to predict student success. 
  • $500,000 per year with an incremental 3% increase every year to expand student access to virtual mental health counseling and other initiatives supporting student well-being. 
  • $2.1 million in FY2024 and $3.3 million in FY2025 to attract additional post-doctoral researchers to support our faculty members in their research endeavors.  Please note that this is envisioned as one-time seed money that will eventually be replaced by future grant proposals that include post-doctoral research funding (when possible).   
  • $2 million per year (FY2024 through FY2026) for additional PhD tuition scholarships and course release time for faculty members to allow for devoted concentration on research.    
  • $50,000 per year (FY2024 through FY2026) to fund operating and marketing initiatives necessary for recruiting additional doctoral students. 
  • An increase in graduate student scholarships of over $900,000 per year with an approved incremental 3% increase every year.  
  • $40,000 per year with an approved incremental 5% increase every year to hire a consultant similar to the services the university utilizes at the undergraduate level to help guide the university and optimize the utilization of existing and new graduate scholarship dollars. 
  • University set aside $2 million in recurring/permanent funding to support proposals that come up through the strategic planning process to increase faculty and staff in programs with deep applicant pools or offering new in-person and online programs.  

Supporting Employees

Pay Rates and Ongoing Salary Study

President Damphousse’s commitment to increasing funding for programs, salaries, and more positions has not wavered. Funding from the Texas Legislature and enrollment growth are critical to creating and filling new positions and paying higher salaries. While we have already made market adjustments for more than 1,800 faculty and staff members over the past 18 months (costing more than $5.5M), we know we need to do more. In support of this goal, we initiated a salary study with an external partner that will help us update our strategic approach and ensure our faculty and staff compensation is competitive.

To ensure TXST pay rates are as competitive as possible and increase staffing levels, we’ve taken several steps including:

  • Spending well over $5 million to permanently increase the salaries of more than 1,400 employees. 
  • Removing the requirement that some salary increases have presidential approval. 
  • Providing 10% pay raises for 100+ student workers, including in our Student Learning Assistance Center. 
  • Awarding more than $9.6 million in one-time bonuses to employees.  
  • Adding more than a dozen new staff positions in critical areas. 

In addition to our plans to continue working on salary increases, we have:

  • Established a 25% tuition discount for employee dependents beginning Fall 2023. Learn more about this benefit program.
  • Created a new, discounted meal plan for employees with meals that never expire and with a cost of less than $6 per meal. Learn more about the employee meal plan.
  • Launched the Run to R1 Postdoctoral Researcher Catalyst Program to support the salaries of approximately 30 postdoctoral researchers for two years each, starting in fiscal year 2024.
  • Implemented a new faculty title series that will start in Fall 2024. The new title series, consisting of assistant professor, associate professor, and professor of instruction, will provide recognition and advancement opportunities for faculty who make unique contributions to TXST by dedicating their talents to teaching, learning, and instructional activities that enhance student success.

Removing Barriers

We have streamlined administrative processes and removed unnecessary barriers for faculty and staff, including:

  • Reducing the number of SACSCOC outcomes assessment reports significantly for our administrative support units. 
  • Approving remote work for employees during Energy Conversations Days. Each vice president can now determine whether their essential offices can operate remotely during that time. 
  • Eliminating additional approvals for food and beverage procurements.
  • Over 700 employee recommendations were submitted to the Administrative Burdens Task Force, many of which will be addressed by additional implementation teams.