Message From the Dean
The horrific event that unfolded on Monday evening has left our campus in a state of shock and grief. This senseless tragedy took the life of one of our brave Texas Tech Police officers and we offer our deepest condolences to his family, friends and colleagues. We also extend our sincerest gratitude to the men and women of the Texas Tech Police Department, Lubbock Police Department, Lubbock County Sheriff's Office, The Texas Department of Public Safety, Lubbock Fire Department and EMS. Their quick response showed tremendous poise, planning and preparation and help put our campus and community at ease.
The safety and well-being of our students, faculty and staff are our highest priority. As President Schovanec noted on Monday, grief counseling is available to our students through the Student Wellness Center and for faculty/staff through the Employee Assistance Program. This tragedy is also a reminder for each of us to be vigilant and to report any suspicious behavior to Texas Tech Police immediately.
In this time of grief, it's important for us to support one another and search for ways that we can be a positive influence in the lives of others.
I would like to thank the faculty and staff who attended the Arts & Sciences tailgate prior to the Arizona State game and the alumni who attended the tailgate prior to the Oklahoma State game. The response shown by faculty, staff and alumni to this, our third season, of Arts & Science tailgates has been overwhelming and I am deeply grateful for your support of the college as well as the camaraderie of these events. We had close to 200 attendees for the faculty/staff tailgate and well over 400 at the alumni! I am happy that the college is able to "give back" to you in the form of these events. I must say that the driving rain storm of the faculty/staff tailgate in which the rain "offense" came horizontally at us through the tent sides truly tested faculty and staff defensive resolve – but we hung in there under our tents while watching a few unfortunate structures on the Engineering Key succumb to the storm. I also want to acknowledge my staff, Cathey, Amy, Blayne, Kelly, Samantha, Jackie, and the Arts & Sciences ambassadors who do all the real work in putting these events together. Speaking of the ambassadors, under the amazing leadership of Stefanie and Jackie, the number of college ambassadors has blossomed from an average of 12 over the last three years to 45 undergraduate students this year. And, as Jackie says, they agree to work 30 hours a semester for the college in return for "a backpack, a t-shirt and swag."
Arts & Sciences Day
Equally successful this fall was Arts & Sciences Student Day. This event (the brainchild of Associate Dean Stefanie Borst), is held on the south side of Holden Hall during the first week of the fall semester and is directed at welcoming new and current Arts & Sciences students (and any other TTU student who walks over) to the semester. It is one of our activities designed to give A&S students a sense of belonging to the college. Given the unique diversity of our college, events such as this are important in establishing and reinforcing that connection. This was our third fall holding this event. All 15 college departments and many A&S student organizations set up tables with informational flyers and giveaways. Faculty, staff and students man the tables to answer questions about college programs and opportunities available to them. Last fall we had over 600 undergraduate students attend. This fall we planned for 750. We underestimated slightly – over 1,200 students attended through the three-hour period of the event. Notable attendees included TTU president, Dr. Lawrence Schovanec, the Masked Rider & Fearless Champion, and Raider Red. The Department of Biological Sciences brought several friendly snakes, including a large boa with which students could interact and take "selfies." Economics faculty ran a game theory demonstration with students using real money.
One of the concerns of the college is retention of freshman students. Having worked hard to attract students to Tech and to the college, we want to ensure a successful start to their academic career here. For the first time in over a decade, our first-year retention rate increased significantly, to 84%. We also want our students to graduate in a timely fashion and have begun emphasizing the need to (successfully!) complete at least 30 credits of course work each year. As part of this initiative, at each of the 22 Red Raider Orientations that take place over the summer, our college recruiter, Jackie Manz, hands out t-shirts, during her session, to every new A&S student. Emblazoned on the front of the t-shirt is the college name and the anticipated class year of graduation for these students. This summer the t-shirts read "Class of 2021." To get their t-shirt, the students come onto the stage en masse, and are organized into a group photo. What is incredibly heart-warming is that all the parents in the audience are also busy taking pictures of their child during this group photo. It's an amazing sight when there are 50 students on the stage and 100 parents taking pictures. We hope that, as they wear this t-shirt during the next few years, each student will be inspired to achieve the graduation date of their entering cohort.
As of the 12th class day this fall, the enrollment for TTU stood at 37,010 students. Of those students, 10,854 (29%) are enrolled in A&S. This represents an enrollment growth of 1.25% for the university and 3.79% for the college. Additionally, 27.8% of the undergraduate population of TTU is Hispanic. If TTU maintains an undergraduate Hispanic enrollment that continues to exceed 25% for two consecutive years, TTU will be recognized as a Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI) by the U.S. Department of Education. Such recognition will assist TTU in its efforts to educate and graduate a more diverse student body. In addition, it will give TTU competitive access to $8M to $10M more in federal funding that is reserved for HSI colleges and universities. Such designation would make TTU one of only ten Carnegie Tier One universities to be so recognized.
As always, my thanks for your interest in, and support of, the College of Arts & Sciences. Go Tech!
W. Brent Lindquist
Dean, College of Arts & Sciences