Remarks by Eric Algoe, Executive Vice President for Operations, Chief Financial Officer

State of Texas State

Friday, August 18, 2023

University Events Center, Strahan Arena  

I joined Texas State University eight years ago now, and I’ve had the awesome responsibility and opportunity to help shepherd our finances and our facilities with the help of my great team to prepare us for this moment. I’m happy to report that our financial reserves are deep and that our financial outlook is strong. This puts us in rare company across the higher education landscape nationally. Our financial good fortune is a combination of a disciplined approach to budget and planning in the past, combined with a very favorable outcome in the Texas legislative session that ended this summer. Those legislative outcomes included an increase to our formula funding, an increase to the amount the state reimburses us for students who participate in the Hazlewood legacy program, and as Dr. Mandayam and Dr. Damphousse had mentioned, the creation of the Texas University Fund. (I also won’t tell you how to vote.) It truly is a great time to be in Texas.

I want to focus my comments though on our efforts to make Texas State the best place for our employees to work and to live. As Dr. Damphousse mentioned, we’ve invested more money this year into employee salary increases than we have ever done in the past. The $12 million he referenced was for merit increases and our first-ever cost-of-living increase. Additionally, we have committed $1.75 million to addressing our most pressing faculty salary equity issues — a plan which will come into place in the next 45 days and be implemented this fall. 

And we have invested an additional $4 million in other raises and new benefit programs. I’m particularly pleased to announce that we will implement a $30,000 annual minimum wage for full-time employees this fall. This will result in raises of more than 25% for some of our hardest-working employees. All told, we’ll invest more than $17 million in new funding for our existing employees this year. This amount is more than double what we have ever invested in a single year in the past. We truly are doing more with more.

Now I would be remiss if I didn’t recognize that pay is not the only thing that matters in your decision to work for Texas State (but I know it might be the most important thing). Texas State already offers many benefits that other universities in Texas do not. For example: Our staff longevity program awards automatic 1.5% raises every other year for your first eight years of employment; our faculty hiring policy requires us to hire new faculty at competitive market-based wages; we grant employees 2.5 hours per week of paid leave for their personal wellness regimen; we offer comp time to salaried employees; our discounted employee meal plans are the best deal in Texas; and our flexible and remote work policy (love it or hate it) is the standard most other schools want to emulate. These are all Texas State University-specific benefits. Other university employees, other state employees don’t receive any of those benefits.  

However, we aren’t satisfied with what we are doing. We are also focused on bringing our employees new and improved benefits, like new retirement options for those of you in our Optional Retirement Plan; a dramatically improved employee assistance program; beginning this fall, our first-ever employee-dependent tuition discount; new optional health insurance offerings; and new ways to make the processes you have to use, like purchasing and hiring, easier. Yeah, that deserves some applause. We are also launching the University Master Plan update this fall, and all of you and many of our community members will have an opportunity to share ideas for the future vision of our physical campuses.

Finally, I’m pleased to share with you that Dr. Damphousse just this week approved funding 16 more new staff positions — that’s in addition to all of the new faculty positions that we have added over the summer to be ready for this fall. With this last round of new positions, we have now restored as many positions as we lost during COVID. This is a major milestone, and as we hope to see the first overall enrollment growth at the university in seven years — and maybe set a new record for total enrollment — we will do so with the largest total number of employees in our history.

With all that good news to share, I do have one favor to ask:  Be proud to be a Bobcat.  As we continue to grow, we need all of you and a whole lot of people who don’t work for us yet to be a part of our team.  Please go and tell your friends, your social media networks, and your family: we’re hiring.

Thank you!