Hopes & Aspirations High

President Damphousse’s Latest Message to Faculty and Staff

May 8, 2023

As I look back over the last 10 months, I am moved by feelings of gratitude and amazement.

I am grateful for the way that you welcomed Beth and me into the Texas State University family. From the moment that we stepped foot on the San Marcos and Round Rock campuses, we knew we were joining something special. You genuinely care about our students and each other, and you have made TXST a place where all Bobcats can feel like they belong and can thrive. We are so proud to work, celebrate, and grow alongside you.

I am likewise amazed at all that has been achieved here at TXST. . . because of YOU! The progress we are making now is due to the hard work you have been doing for years to make TXST a better place for our students, our colleagues, and our state. That legacy, combined with your ability and willingness to bring ingenuity, flexibility, and vision to our current university priorities, has positioned us to make real advancements that will greatly enhance how we serve our students, each other, and the global community.

Today, I write to say thank YOU and to celebrate YOUR achievements.

The strong foundation you have built over the years will no doubt support our Hopes and Aspirations High moving forward. Indeed, since my arrival, we have repositioned some building blocks and added some others, reinforcing this foundation even more to elevate student success, to achieve Carnegie R1 status, to increase enrollment, to grow the Round Rock Campus, to reduce administrative burdens, and to improve employee morale. Why? Because we aim to make TXST the most impactful university in the state!

You have done astounding work on this front – dreaming big, looking forward and not back, being nimble and inventive, trying new and different things – while continuing to run university operations and carry out your day-to-day responsibilities to serve our students and each other. Although the full impact of the transformations you are making will take some time to materialize, the fruits of your labor are already beginning to bud. Let me give some specific examples of how your work is advancing our university, and impacting our students:

  • Increasing enrollment
    • Total First Time in College (FTIC) students for Fall 2022 smashed the institutional record set the year before, and there is potential for the Fall 2023 FTIC cohort to set another record. FTIC applications for Fall 2023 are 41,597, a 25% increase over last year. FTIC admits are 28,107, a 15% increase.
    • International undergraduate applications and admits for Fall 2023 are up 375% (+694 applications) and 193% (+225 admits), respectively, over last year. International graduate applications and admits are up by 4.3% (+67 applications) and 10% (+57 admits), respectively. 
    • Transfer applications and admits for Fall 2023 are up by 11% (+405) and 7% (+169), respectively.
    • For the first time in our history, TXST is second among Texas universities in applications submitted through Apply Texas for Fall 2023 (only Texas A&M University has more applications than TXST).
    • TXST is on pace for record overall enrollment this Fall. Total Fall 2023 registration is 7.1% higher in headcount and 10.8% higher in SCH than this time last year. This turns around several years of flat/declining enrollment at our university. This change will have a tremendous impact on our ability to meet the other goals that we have set for ourselves.
  • Elevating Student Success
    • Fall 2022 to Spring 2023 retention of FTIC students was a near-record 92%, and the 1-year persistence rate (Fall 2022 to Fall 2023) is currently running 2.7 percentage points higher than this time last year.
  • Achieving Carnegie R1 Status
    • Total, Federal and Restricted Research Expenditures reached new record amounts. Compared to the same quarter the previous year, FY2023 second quarter key research metrics have increased significantly. Total research and development (R&D) expenditures were $47.9M, a 40% increase (+$13.7M). Restricted research expenditures were $20.3M, a 25% increase (+$4.1M). As a result of your good work, we are on track to surpass $140M in total R&D for FY2023 (an increase of ~$30M).
    • Doctoral applications and admits for this coming year are up 25.4% (+80 applications) and 20% (+27 admits), respectively.

Please take a moment to revel in these achievements -- they are all yours. Our current and future Bobcats are the benefactors of your determination and tenacity, and for that, I am eternally grateful. You have worked hard to move us forward despite headwinds along the way, and sometimes with limited staffing and resources. With the significant changes we have made in our structure and processes since January, I understand that initiative fatigue is real. But help is on the way.

  1. Salary Study: First and foremost, we will complete a salary study this summer to enable us to take strategic steps to ensure that our faculty and staff compensation is competitive. I anticipate significant investments in employee salaries over the next few years to get us to where we all want TXST to be.
  1. Rebuilding our personnel: As part of our restructuring, refocusing, and strategic planning, we are exploring where we need to add positions to best support you and our mission.
  2. Revenue enhancement: This summer, we will round out our leadership team with the addition of a Vice President for TXST Global and a Vice President for the Round Rock Campus. These two vice presidents, in particular, will be charged with increasing TXST enrollment in meaningful ways that will allow us to create improved access to a valuable TXST degree while also providing enhanced revenue streams.
  3. Improving IT, HR, and Physical Infrastructure: We continue to explore ways to improve technology, procurement, hiring, onboarding processes, and facilities to make all of our jobs easier. Several implementation teams have been appointed to find solutions to procedures and policies that address challenges in our day-to-day university operations.

As I have said many times, the work we are doing now not only will increase the impact we have on our students, alumni, and the state, but it will also help increase our revenue so we can invest more in the people and tools needed to support you. My Cabinet and I will work hard over the summer to continue to identify ways to streamline processes, fund priorities, reduce administrative burdens, and improve employee morale. You can visit my website for updates throughout the summer to keep up to date with these improvements.

My friends, I am very excited about our future. Summer is still a very busy time for many of us, but I encourage you to find time to take a break over the next few weeks to pause, to recharge, and to rest as much as you can – you deserve it! You are what makes TXST such a special place. Please know your work is appreciated and you are valued. I know we will have even more to celebrate together in the coming months.

I look forward to providing a comprehensive in-person update at the State of the University Convocation (formerly the University Convocation and Annual General Faculty & Staff Meeting) on August 18 at 9 am. See you there!