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Spring 2015

Awards & Accomplishments

    The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching again has recognized Texas Tech University for its commitment to community-based service and outreach initiatives.

    Texas Tech is one of 240 U.S. colleges and universities selected by the foundation for its 2015 Community Engagement Classification. The university was one of the original 76 colleges and universities to receive the classification in 2006. Since then, 361 campuses have achieved the designation.

    Unlike the foundation’s other classifications that rely on national data, this is an “elective” classification – institutions elected to participate by submitting required documentation describing the nature and extent of their engagement with the community, be it local or beyond.


    The agricultural communications undergraduate program offered by Texas Tech University’s Department of Agricultural Education and Communications is ranked as the best in the nation, according to a new University of Arkansas study.

    Forty programs throughout the country were identified in the study, titled, “Characteristics of U.S. Agricultural Communications Undergraduate Program.” Led by Jefferson Miller, a professor in the Department of Agricultural Education, Communications and Technology at the University of Arkansas, the research focused on creating an account of existing programs, a description of those programs and identifying program demographics and top programs.

    Following Texas Tech were the University of Florida, Oklahoma State University, Texas A&M University and Kansas State University.


    Texas Tech University was ranked No. 21 among other national four-year universities for its online programs by BestColleges.com for the 2014-2015 academic year. This is the second straight year the university has been ranked.

    The rankings are based on admissions, enrollment, retention and graduation data, and each school must offer at least three fully online degree programs.


    An assistant professor in the Texas Tech University Department of Plant and Soil Science, was recently awarded the Carnegie African Diaspora Fellowship (ADF), a program for educational projects at higher education institutions in Africa.

    Theo Udeigwe will collaborate with professor Evans Basweti at Kisii University in Kenya to develop graduate student training and mentoring, hoping to develop strong, research-oriented students who can initiate project proposals for funding and construct scientific papers.

    Sponsored by the Carnegie Corporation of New York and managed by the Institute of International Education, the same institute that manages the Fulbright scholar program, the Carnegie ADF program supports African-born academics at accredited higher education institutions in the U.S. and Canada in partnership with accredited higher education institutions in select African countries.

    Capacity-building education projects are developed by U.S./Canadian scholars and African host institutions and are evaluated and approved by an advisory council.


    The Texas Tech University Meat Judging Team in the Department of Animal and Food Sciences had its second dominant performance of the season, taking top honors Monday at the Southwestern Livestock Exposition’s Intercollegiate Meat Judging Contest in Fort Worth.

    Texas Tech blew away the competition, outdistancing second-place Colorado State by 81 points while dominating almost every division. Texas Tech won the reasons division with a record 893 points and also took first in placings, overall beef, beef judging and beef grading.

    The team, from the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, opened the spring judging season by taking the title at the National Western Stock Show in Denver in January.

    See full results here: http://today.ttu.edu/2015/02/meat-judging-team-grills-competition-at-fort-worth-stock-show/


    Todd Little, a professor of educational psychology and leadership in the College of Education, received the inaugural Distinguished Contributions to Mentoring of Developmental Scientists Award from the Society for Research in Child Development (SRCD).

    The SRCD created this award to honor outstanding mentorship in the field of child development, since mentor relationships are the primary resource for new scholars to learn how to conduct high-quality research.

    Little, who founded the Institute for Measurement, Methodology, Analysis and Policy (IMMAP) and StatsCamp at Texas Tech, mentors students but also fields questions from colleagues on the best statistical methods, a subject about which he is passionate. He has been a co-author on hundreds of different papers with more than 300 unique authors in 87 unique journals.


    A graduate student in the Texas Tech University College of Architecture, recently was awarded the Student Design Honor Award by the Fort Worth chapter of the American Institute of Architects.

    Richard Lucio was honored for his work entitled “Reclaiming Urban Ecologies,” which is part of the college’s Urban Design Studio led by assistant professor Jeffrey S. Nesbit. The studio examines the growth of Shanghai, China, as it continues to build on lush surrounding marshlands in the Yangtze Delta, and students are tasked with addressing the myriad of concerns about the city’s growth.


    U.S. News & World Report recently released its 2015 Best Online Programs rankings, where Texas Tech University’s Worldwide eLearning received a spot in three different areas, all for graduate programs – computer information technology, engineering and education.

    In 2014, Texas Tech’s online engineering and education programs were ranked but both advanced to a higher ranking this year.

    The 2015 rankings for Texas Tech include the online graduate computer information technology program at No. 14, the Whitacre College of Engineering graduate program at No. 20 and the online graduate education program at No. 107. This is the first year Texas Tech’s computer information technology program has been ranked.

    The engineering and education programs both tied with four other higher education institutions, but the Whitacre College of Engineering remained in the top 20 and is the highest-rated institution in Texas. The education program advanced from No. 166 to No. 107.


    A Texas Tech University top administrator and a professor of petroleum engineering became fellows of the National Academy of Inventors (NAI).

    Robert V. Duncan, senior vice president of research, and Mohamed Soliman, the Livermore Chair Professor in the Herd Department of Petroleum Engineering, will be honored for their work March 20 during a luncheon and induction ceremony at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, California.

    The NAI Fellows Selection Committee chooses people for fellowships who have demonstrated a highly prolific spirit of innovation in creating or facilitating outstanding inventions that have made a tangible impact on quality of life, economic development and the welfare of society.


    A Texas Tech University climate scientist has been named by editors of Foreign Policy magazine as one of the publication’s 100 Leading Global Thinkers of 2014.

    Katharine Hayhoe, director of the university’s Climate Science Center, received the award Nov. 17 during an event in Washington, D.C., and was featured in the magazine and on the publication’s website. Earlier this year, she was named to the 2014 TIME 100, the annual list of the most influential people in the world.

    Each autumn, Foreign Policy’s editors make a list of people who, during that year, made a measurable difference in politics, business, technology, the arts, science and other areas. After compiling thousands of names, they hash out the list. Hayhoe was named to a category called “The Naturals,” which includes people who help others become better stewards of the planet.

    This year’s issue focuses on the events that disrupted the global order.


    Texas Tech University’s Rawls College of Business MBA program earned the No. 74 ranking among top schools in the United States by Bloomberg Businessweek. The Rawls MBA was unranked in the organization’s last rankings in 2012.

    Bloomberg Businessweek ranked 85 schools in the U.S. and 27 international schools, which is its largest group since the organization began ranking MBA programs in 1988.

    The Rawls MBA offers a variety of programs for students, including a science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) MBA, an MBA for working professionals, an MBA in health organization management and dual degree MBA programs.


    An associate professor of meat science in the Department of Animal and Food Science at Texas Tech University received the United States Department of Agriculture Food and Agricultural Sciences Excellence in Teaching Award this weekend.

    As part of the award, Chance Brooks received $2,000 to be given to the college or university of his choosing to support and strengthen instructional programs. Brooks received the award Sunday during a ceremony at the annual meeting of the Association of Public Land-Grant Universities in Orlando, Florida.

    The award, one of six regional awards, is presented to recipients who exhibit teaching innovation, excellence and quality, dedication to the profession and to students, and professional growth and development in promoting the nation’s food and agricultural system.


    The Texas Tech University School of Law won the championship in October at Stetson University College of Law’s Seventh Annual National Pretrial Competition in Gulfport, Florida.

    Robert Sherwin, an assistant professor in the Texas Tech School of Law and the director of the advocacy programs, said this is the program’s 32nd championship in national or international competitions. Stetson Law’s competition simulates a three-hour federal court pretrial evidentiary hearing focusing on skills involved in brief writing, moot court-style oral arguments and mock trial-style witness examination.

    Texas Tech Law lost in the championship round in last year’s competition and has reached the semifinals in four of the last five years. In addition to winning the overall championship, Texas Tech Law also won the Best Memorandum of Law Award for the Plaintiff. Texas Tech Law outpaced the Chicago-Kent College of Law for the overall title while the Regent University and Mississippi College law schools were the other semifinalists.


    This year has been a memorable one for Texas Tech University’s Military and Veterans Programs (MVP). Earning seven recognitions in 2014, MVP is among the most celebrated military and veterans support units in higher education.

    This year, the MVP has earned the following awards:

      Purple Heart University: Texas Tech is the third university in the nation to acquire this designation by the Military Order of the Purple Heart.

      “Best College for Veterans:” The 2015 U.S. News & World Report ranked Texas Tech as one of the top 50 universities for veterans.

      “Best Online Graduate Engineering Programs for Veterans:” The 2015 U.S. News & World Report also ranked the Whitacre College of Engineering’s online graduate program No. 2 in the nation for veterans.

      “Best for Vets – Business Schools 2014:” The Rawls College of Business ranked No. 13 out of 64 other business colleges across the country by Military Times.

      Military Friendly School: Texas Tech is listed as a 2015 Military Friendly School® for the sixth straight year by Victory Media Inc., a veteran-owned business dedicated to surveying thousands of institutions across the nation for the best practices with military personnel.

      “Best College for Veterans:” The university was named “Best College for Veterans”again, but by College Factual. Texas Tech ranked No. 7 in the nation for its quality of education, affordability, veteran population and federal program participation in Principles of Excellence, Department of Defense’s Memorandum of Understanding and Service Members Opportunity Colleges Consortium.

      Military Advanced Education (MAE):Named Texas Tech a top school in its 2015 MAE “Guide to Colleges & Universities” research study.

      2015 Best for Vets from Military Times: The university is ranked as one of the top 140 higher education institutions in the nation for veterans, coming in at No. 19, and is one of only three universities in Texas to be ranked in the top 20.


      Texas Tech University recently was recognized for the earning potential of its graduates.
      According to the 2014-2015 College Salary Report conducted by PayScale, three of Texas Tech’s undergraduate programs ranked in the top 20 schools in PayScale’s Best Schools for Majors section:

      Art majors: Texas Tech graduates ranked 12th in this section, earning a mid-career salary of $75,000.

      Physical and Life Science majors: Texas Tech graduates ranked 12th in this section, earning a mid-career salary of $90,700.

      Education majors: Texas Tech graduates ranked 16th in this section, earning a mid-career salary of $52,800.

      The data used in the rankings is collected through an ongoing online survey conducted by PayScale, according to its website. The Best Schools for Majors section was compiled based on earnings of graduates with bachelor’s degrees only as well as the median mid-career salary earnings within a specific major.


      After two years of self-assessments, reading policies and examining curriculum, the dance program in Texas Tech University’s Department of Theatre and Dance earned national accreditation, making Texas Tech the only school in the state in which all four arts programs are accredited.

      The National Association of Schools of Dance (NASD) approved the dance program’s application for accreditation in early September. The schools of music and art, as well as the theatre program, were already accredited by national agencies.

      Genevieve Durham DeCesaro, the head of the dance program, said the accrediting board looked at a number of factors, including curriculum and the program’s facilities. She credited a number of dance and theatre faculty members who participated in the accreditation process, as well as Carol Edwards, dean of the College of Visual & Performing Arts, who supported the process from the start.


      Texas Tech’s student advertising team, Bullet Advertising, recently took third place among 140 teams from universities all across the country at the 2014 American Advertising Federation’s National Student Advertising Competition (NSAC) in Boca Raton, Florida. The competition was hosted by the American Advertising Federation.

      Bullet Advertising qualified for the national competition by taking second place in the regional competition in April, which came on the heels of a first-place finish in the district competition.
      Each year, a client for the NSAC provides a case study with its current advertising situation. Student teams then research the product, identify problems and create an integrated communication campaign.

      This year, with the goal of attracting the 18-to-25-year-old female audience, teams developed a $10 million advertising and marketing campaign for Mary Kay Cosmetics.


      When it comes to attracting international graduate students, the online engineering program at Texas Tech University’s Whitacre College of Engineering ranked No. 6 in a recent survey published by U.S. News & World Report.

      International students comprised 7 percent of the nearly 13,000 students pursuing an online engineering master’s degree that U.S. News & World Report ranked.  Of the 103 students enrolled in Texas Tech’s program, 19 percent were international students, the story stated.

      U.S. News & World Report ranked the Whitacre College of Engineering at No. 20 for Best Online Graduate Engineering Programs and No. 2 for Best Online Graduate Engineering Programs for Veterans. Overall, the Whitacre College of Engineering ranked No. 94 among “Best Engineering Schools” in the 2015 U.S. News & World Report Graduate School Rankings.


      Texas Tech University Independent School District (TTUISD) recently was ranked as one of the The Best Online Schools in the nation. Coming in at No. 18 overall and fourth among online programs affiliated with a public university, TTUISD was the highest-ranked program in Texas.

      Serving students since 1993, TTUISD is a kindergarten through high school education program that enables students to earn their diploma no matter where “here” is, including 56 countries internationally. The middle and high school curriculums are offered online. The education program has served more than 314,000 students overall.

      The Best Schools ranking is based on programming, academic oversight (accreditation status at publication time), state approval, performance, inclusivity, personal attention and cost. According to The Best Schools’ standards, TTUISD “offers flexible educational opportunities, a quality educational platform, incorporates sophisticated instructional techniques, management and technology, and extends learners regardless of age, location or physical limitations.”


      Texas Tech University made significant strides in the 2015 U.S. News & World Report (USNWR) college and graduate school rankings, released in September.

      Ranked among national universities at No. 156, the ranking reflects an increase of five spots from 2014 and nine since 2013. Texas Tech is ranked No. 84 among national public universities, ahead of last year’s ranking of 88.

      Texas Tech’s five-point climb was the largest among Big 12 Conference public institutions and second highest among league schools. Overall, Texas Tech’s improvement from a year ago ranks among the top 15 nationally.

      In addition to ranking No. 84 among public institutions, Texas Tech also ranked No. 47 for Best College for Veterans and No. 93 for Best Undergraduate Business programs. The university also ranked No. 20 for Best Online Engineering Graduate programs and No. 82 for Best Undergraduate Engineering programs.


      Texas Tech University’s Human Factors and Ergonomics Society (HFES) student chapter will receive for the eighth year a gold-level award for the 2014 HFES Student Chapter Awards. Gold-level status is the highest level possible for the chapter awards.

      Members of this organization are primarily undergraduate and graduate students majoring in either Industrial Engineering or Human Factors Psychology. The Texas Tech HFES chapter focuses on creating networking opportunities with those in the human factors community and educating their members and others about relevant topics in human factors.

      Applications were judged on the number and quality of activities engaged in across several categories. Gold-level status requires activity in at least eight HFES categories while demonstrating excellence in at least five of those categories. Also, at least 50 percent of student members must be HFES student affiliate members. Activity categories include recruitment, guest speakers, collaboration, information dissemination, field trips, service to HFES and more.


      Texas Tech University President M. Duane Nellis recently was elected to the Board of Trustees of Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges’ (SACSCOC).

      The SACSCOC is the recognized regional accrediting body in the eleven U.S. Southern states and in Latin America for those institutions of higher education that award associate, baccalaureate, master’s or doctoral degrees. The mission of SACSCOC is to assure the educational quality and improve the effectiveness of its member institutions.

      Members of the Board of Trustees are elected for three year terms by a majority vote of the members of the College Delegate Assembly after nomination by the Nominating Committee of the Commission on Colleges.


      Texas Tech University’s dean of the College of Education is one of the early members behind Deans for Impact, a newly launched organization dedicated to reforming teacher preparation programs in the United States.

      Scott Ridley, who is the only dean from a Big 12 university in the organization and one of three from Texas, said now is the time for such a movement, given recent statistics from the U.S. Department of Education showing two-thirds of new teachers don’t feel like their institution adequately prepared them to be in the classroom and about half of teachers leave the field within five years.


      The NCAA Division I Board of Directors on Tuesday approved the appointment of Brian Shannon, the Charles B. “Tex” Thornton Professor of Law at Texas Tech University School of Law, to serve on the new NCAA Division I Council.

      The Division I Council is a part of the recently completed overhaul of the NCAA’s governance structure. The Council will have primary responsibility for Division I legislation, developing and recommending policies to the Board of Directors and supervising and acting on a wide array of issues, including NCAA championships.

      The new Council comprises 40 members, including a representative from each of the 32 conferences within NCAA Division I, four conference commissioners, two student-athletes and two faculty athletics representatives.

      Shannon has served as the NCAA faculty athletics representative (FAR) at Texas Tech since 2008 and is serving his second term as national president of 1A FAR. Shannon’s peers within 1A FAR recommended him for the appointment.


      Texas Tech University President M. Duane Nellis has been named to the Managing University Intellectual Property task force created by the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities (APLU).

      The task force will examine the purposes of university innovation, technology transfer, commercialization and entrepreneurship. It also will explore whether some institutions’ policies and practices may be contributing to the perception universities are engaged in technology transfer only for financial benefit. The task force will make recommendations to the APLU and its membership on the most effective ways to communicate the purpose of university management of intellectual property.

      Nellis is one of the task force’s seven members, made up of administrators from universities throughout the country. The task force will prepare preliminary comments by December and aims to complete its work early in the spring.

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