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 will conduct a comprehensive review of our current strategies, identify strategies that need to be sunset, conduct benchmarking and data analysis, determine which metrics are most important in achieving R1 status, set aggressive targets, identify strategies and resources needed to meet those targets, and prioritize those strategies and resources.

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  • 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.” Henry Ford once said: “If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got.”
    • 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.
  • We received and are implementing many bold recommendations from the Presidential Commission on the Run to R1 and there is much to celebrate!

    • 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.
    • In the first two quarters of this fiscal year, externally sponsored research expenditures increased by 21% compared to last year.
    • TXST’s faculty members are successfully competing for prestigious national research awards. For example, a research team led by Professor Stacey Kulezsa in the Ingram School of Engineering secured $10M of funding from the U.S. Department of Transportation to establish a Tier 1 University Transportation Center at TXST.

    Read the President’s full update to the university community from March 20

  • Jan. 9 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.  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. 

    Funding of these initiatives beyond FY2026 will be re-evaluated as research activities increase and external funding is obtained.   

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

    Cabinet requested that the commission proceed with developing and implementing plans to operationalize how best to use the funds for the purpose for which they are intended. Once the processes and plans are in place, focus should pivot to activities that will sustain R1 status.  

    Related to R1 sustainability, it is requested that all future grants proposals charge the maximum indirect cost allowable by the funding agency, regardless of where the grant activity takes place. The funds are necessary to invest in faculty research to achieve and sustain R1. Examples of how these funds are returned to the research enterprise include investment in research support staff, match funding, accelerator funding, post-doctoral researchers, graduate students, travel, and equipment. We will also use the funds to provide increased funding for current PhD programs and the creation of new high-demand, high-capacity PhD programs. 

    Other actions taken to support enrollment and recruitment guided by the Commission’s work and recommendations: 

    While it is not a recommendation from the Commission, Cabinet approved the position of Associate Vice President for Research and Federal Relations be elevated to Vice President for Research. Effective immediately, Dr. Shreek Mandayam will report directly to President Damphousse, and will serve as a member of his Cabinet. The Office of Research and Sponsored Programs was elevated to the Division of Research. 

    Next Steps: The Commission will deliver a mid-summer report. Select recommendations will be brought to the Board of Regents for approval. 

  • The commission has been working diligently on its charge including thorough data analysis, benchmarking, and soliciting input from faculty and staff via discussions with individual college councils, Staff Council, Faculty Senate, Chair Council and more.

    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. However, making progress in the other two required metrics (increasing PhDs graduates and post-docs) required immediate action to stay on target for 2027 and conform with graduation deadlines.

    To that end, the commission submitted early recommendations to Cabinet that addressed the urgent need to recruit and admit PhD students for spring and summer 2023. Those recommendations were approved and implemented.

    Approved Investments in Growing PhD Enrollment

    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.

    These three PhD programs were selected because of their data-supported, documented ability to scale up enrollment AND graduate PhD students in a relatively short period of time. In time, as more funds become available, TXST plans to invest more in current and future PhD programs.

    These 50 new students will hold research assistantships and receive a full tuition scholarship, through a phased approach. TXST will also make available $2,000 per student, per full year, to the Graduate College to support these students, as needed. 

    • Year-1, students will be awarded a doctoral teaching/instructional assistantship.
    • Year-2, students will receive a split appointment between teaching and research.
    • Year-3, students will receive a research appointment. The phased approach will provide much needed teaching support for our burgeoning undergraduate enrollment in these three disciplines. 

    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. 

    Next Steps

    The next round of recommendations from the commission – due to Cabinet on January 9, 2023 – will include a broader array of university programs and operations than the early recommendations. In the spring, the commission plans to hold a Town Hall for faculty and staff to discuss the Run to R1.

    • September 15, 2022 – Members of the Presidential Commission on the Run to R1 were notified by President Damphousse of their invitation to be an inaugural member of the commission, beginning with a one-year renewable term.
    • October 5, 2022 – In the commission’s first meeting, tentatively scheduled for Oct. 5, President Damphousse will discuss the charge and answer any questions the group may have.
    • January 9, 2023 – Dr. Damphousse set this deadline to receive the first report from the commission, via the chair Dr. Mandayam.
    • Quarterly Updates – Following the commission’s first report, Dr. Damphousse has requested quarterly updates until R1 is attained. The goal is to achieve R1 by 2027.
    • 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
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“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