Message from the President

By Office of the President
Monday, 11 30 2015
Message from the President

Dear Texas A&M-SA community and friends,

We are embarking on the busiest time of the academic year-a time filled with rituals where the typical routine of yet another semester coming to a rapid end, leads to a time to enjoy the restful bliss of winter break. Let's not let this month end without taking a moment to be thankful for all the good fortunes in our lives. My moments of gratitude include the daily inspirations I receive from the faculty, staff and students who call Texas A&M-San Antonio their home. Together, we are stewards of a beautiful campus and ambassadors for its great future.

This semester has been filled with many great moments as we progress on our journey to become a comprehensive four-year university. In eight months and 22 days, we will welcome a new class of first-year students! I extend my deepest thanks to all of those involved in the planning and development work of what has been affectionately known as the "Super" Committee led by Super Heroes VP Mahan and VP Snow. Each member of the Super Committee and the various subcommittees have pursued an audacious undertaking, with a sense of urgency, and they have personified what it means to be Agile! Together, we have accomplished the approval of 4 one-year courses that embrace critical learning objectives that are necessary for student and academic success, a.k.a. Jaguar Tracks. This approach, coupled with a focused plan towards experiential learning and civic engagement, is a critical high impact practice that will elevate student and academic success.

We are also at various stages of recruiting an important group of new staff to provide critical support services for our expansion efforts. This includes additional admissions counselors, an AVP for the university college, a director of experiential learning, a director of the first year experience, an associate provost, a VP for institutional advancement, a marketing manager and an alumni relations manager-to name a few! We are scouring the country to find experienced professionals to lead many important initiatives on the institutional support and student services roles. Faculty recruitments are also underway and I anticipate a campus-wide effort to attract and mentor a cadre of talent to our campus team.

In the spirit of pursuing excellence, you may recall we had a follow-up visit from Tia McNair Brown from the Association of Colleges and Universities and Jarrett Jobe from the University of Central Oklahoma (UCO). Under the leadership of VP Mahan, our teams conducted site-visits to UCO to examine their experiential learning and transformative teaching models; and another group visited Guttman Community College, a campus with a strikingly similar ambitious effort to embed best known high impact practices for success. The campus community topped off our learning organization philosophy with a visit from the renowned John Gardner, President of the John Gardner Institute for Excellence in Undergraduate Education, where we discussed the implementation of the Foundations of Excellence Foundational Dimensions that have proven to be transformative approaches to teaching and learning, particularly for first-year and transfer students. We have a lofty agenda and I remain enthused by our collective pursuit of an audacious future.

Applications for our inaugural freshman class are rolling in and our admissions and marketing departments have partnered to advance efforts, targeting maximum exposure for the University. To date, a little over 1,800 students have applied to Be First! These prospective students are in the midst of becoming part of A&M-San Antonio's history. In accommodation of our increased enrollment, we are working to secure diverse scholarship opportunities and are focused on creating a pathway to prosperity that includes affordable and accessible higher education. Before the winter break, I will appoint a facility planning adhoc committee that will begin updating the campus master plan and begin programming for the new science and technology facility. The current anticipated ground breaking will occur late 2016.

In closing, I was overwhelmed and elated by the community's engagement in the diverse range of the inauguration week of activities. From the visit by General Ramirez to the Scholarly Snapshots, the premier performance of "Mariachi Girl" and our campus-wide conversation about inclusive excellence, the campus was a showpiece for the excellence it continues to achieve.

In the upcoming weeks, our campus community will participate in two University traditions. The Lights of Esperanza is a campus lighting ceremony where the Main Campus will illuminate in celebration of the festive holiday season. The event is tonight at 5:30 p.m. and is open to the surrounding community. A moment we are all excited about is Fall Commencement as we honor A&M-SA students receiving their degree. The ceremony will be held in the Freeman Coliseum Tuesday, December 15, at 4 p.m. For those participating in commencement activities, a faculty and staff holiday reception will immediately follow the ceremony. I invite you to take part in these annual rituals for they are consequential moments for our University. And when our students look back and relive their days at A&M-SA, they will remember a time full of gratitude for the past, joy for the present and hope for the future.


President Matson

Dr. Cynthia Teniente-Matson