Presidential Commission on the Run to R1

The Presidential Commission on the Run to R1 is charged with helping TXST achieve R1 by 2027. The commission conducted a comprehensive review of current strategies, conducted benchmarking and data analysis, determined which metrics are most important in achieving R1, and identified strategies to meet aggressive targets. Several reports and recommendations were submitted to Cabinet. Numerous bold recommendations were approved by Cabinet and implemented. President Damphousse requested periodic updates from the commission until R1 is attained. 
 

  • Investments:

    • Cabinet approved the allocation of $6 million of university reserves 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. As more funds become available, TXST plans to invest more in current and future PhD programs. TXST will also make available $2,000 per student, per full year, to the Graduate College to support these students, as needed. 
    • TXST will also set aside $200,000 to award scholarships to current students for retention purposes. The programs will have the discretion in collaboration with the dean of the Graduate College as to how they would like to deploy those funds to retain students in financial need. 
    • Recruiting more international and graduate students is a critical part of our Run to R1. To that end, we removed a cap that limited the funds we could invest to recruit international students through partner agencies.
       

    Recommendations approved by the Cabinet and pending Board of Regents approval include: 

    • $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.  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. 

    This brings our total investment since we began our Run to R1 last fall to nearly $18 million.  

    Administration and Engagement:

    • The Division of Research held a Run to R1 Town Hall and 1K Walk/Run to provide faculty and staff the opportunity to ask questions and share feedback about TXST’s R1 trajectory.
    • Cabinet approved the position of Associate Vice President for Research and Federal Relations be elevated to Vice President for Research. 
    • Dr. Shreek Mandayam now serves as a member of the President’s Cabinet. 
    • The Office of Research and Sponsored Programs was elevated to the Division of Research. 
    • Key research metrics are on track to achieve new institutional records – including total R&D expenditures (a 40% increase over last year’s record expenditures) and a record number of admissions to our Ph.D. programs. 
    • The new Postdoc Researcher Catalyst program has exceeded expectations in applications submitted for the 30 funded slots.
    • We exceeded previous records with 85 doctoral student applications and 45 doctoral student admissions for Summer 2023 in programs supported by our Run to R1 investment in research assistantships and tuition scholarships.
    • Similarly, there were a record 343 doctoral student applications across all programs for Fall 2023.
    • International FTIC student applications and admits are up a staggering 377% (+467 applications) and 213% (+136 admits), respectively, over last year.
  • TXST has already surpassed one of the three key metrics required to achieve R1 – research expenditures. Research expenditures in FY2022 exceeded $110 million, which is comparable to other Carnegie R1 institutions in the country. 

    To become an R1 university by 2027, President Damphousse asked the commission to:

    • Think outside of the box and dream big. Be fearless!
    • Avoid the temptation of saying “but we have always done it this way.” 
    • Set aggressive targets and timelines. Make bold recommendations to meet those targets.
    • Explore opportunities for accelerating the Run to R1 on all campuses (including the Round Rock Campus, STAR Park, and Freeman Ranch).
    • Avoid falling into the trap of only focusing on STEM disciplines at the expense of the arts and humanities. A great university must have a real appreciation for a broad range of disciplines.
    • Make tough decisions around recommendations, resources, and priorities. Investment is likely not to be equally distributed.
    • Keep in mind that while achieving National Research University Fund (NRUF) eligibility is important to the university, the focus of this Commission is not NRUF.
    • Periodic Updates – Dr. Damphousse has requested periodic updates until R1 is attained. The goal is to achieve R1 by 2027.
    • January 9, 2023 – Dr. Damphousse set this deadline to receive the first report from the commission, via the chair Dr. Mandayam.
    • October 5, 2022 – In the commission’s first meeting, President Damphousse discussed the charge and answered questions from the group.
    • September 15, 2022 – Members of the Presidential Commission on the Run to R1 were notified by President Damphousse of their invitation to be a member of the commission, beginning with a one-year renewable term.
    • Shreekanth Mandayam, Chief Research Officer and Associate Vice President for Research and Federal Relations (Chair)
    • Cristine Black, Associate Vice President for Budgeting, Financial Planning and Analysis
    • Lynn Brinckmeyer, Professor, School of Music and Associate Dean of Faculty Development and Research
    • Stephen Ciullo, Associate Professor, Department of Curriculum and Instruction
    • Ron Epperson, Major Gift Officer
    • Denise Gobert, Professor, Department of Physical Therapy
    • Andrea Golato, Dean of The Graduate College
    • Jennifer Irvin, Co-Director of Materials Applications Research Center
    • Aimee Roundtree, Professor, Department of English
    • Kate Spradley, Professor, Department of Anthropology
    • Marc Turner, Assistant Vice President for Institutional Research
    • Damian Valles Molina, Assistant Professor, Ingram School of Engineering
    • Melinda Villagran, Executive Director of Translational Health Research Center
two women holding up microchips

“As we accelerate our progress toward becoming an R1 institution, we will stay true to Texas State’s long-standing commitment to teaching, student-centeredness, and student success. In fact, when done right, becoming an R1 institution will honor this rich history and preserve this unique identity. Teaching and research are two sides of the same academic coin. Research professors are not merely the disseminators of knowledge, but the creators of new knowledge. They incorporate their discoveries (and the process of discovery) into course materials, teaching students valuable critical thinking skills. Students who are immersed in rich research environments are better prepared for successful careers, they graduate on time, and they get jobs.”

 

- President Kelly Damphousse