Stephen F. Austin State University’s Board of Regents approved several new face-to-face and online degree programs during its quarterly meeting Monday.
As part of the SFA Envisioned Strategic Plan, the university seeks to engage students in experiences that prepare them for the challenges of living in a global community, and SFA administrators are working to develop relevant new programs through a variety of delivery methods and at various locations.
Two degree programs approved within the James I. Perkins College of Education include a Bachelor of Science in human services and a Bachelor of Science in food and nutrition. In the College of Liberal and Applied Arts, regents approved a Bachelor of Science in criminal justice, Bachelor of Arts in intercultural communication and a Master of Arts in publishing.
“There are ‘three Rs’ in higher education: rigor, relevance and relationships,” said Dr. Steve Bullard, provost and vice president for academic affairs. “We need to offer our students rigorous programs while staying relevant in regard to technology and industry standards. We must continue to develop meaningful and impactful relationships with our students, alumni and industry professionals to better prepare our students for successful careers.”
The board approved new online programs: Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Arts degrees in both public administration and communication studies, as well as a Bachelor of Arts in intercultural communications. These programs will begin fall 2018, pending approval from the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board and the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
“Part of SFA’s Strategic Plan is meeting students where they are, and that involves offering content online and offsite,” Bullard said. “Through our recent partnerships with select institutions and our development of additional online programs, we continue to expand SFA’s reach and invest in the East Texas community and in opportunities to provide services to students throughout the state and beyond.”
In order to improve SFA’s online efforts, regents approved a five-year contract renewal and upgrade of the university’s learning-management system, Desire2Learn. This $1.2 million contract includes upgrades that allow secure online access to students, faculty members and SFA employees. The system’s functions include course creation, lesson management, testing, grading and communication tools.
In other business, the board selected Bentz Whaley Flessner to serve as campaign consultants for a comprehensive fundraising campaign. For 40 years, Bentz Whaley Flessner has specialized in providing strategic fundraising counsel and offering innovative and collaborative advice to public and private colleges and universities, hospitals, academic medical centers, health care systems and community organizations.
Regents approved issuing a request for qualifications to architectural firms to develop architectural programming for athletic facility renovations.
“SFA’s Campus Master Plan 2020 serves as a guide to ensure that campus facilities meet educational program needs and operational requirements,” said Dr. Danny Gallant, vice president for finance and administration. “The university recently received architectural design services for a proposed Performing Arts Center complex, and we will seek similar assistance in developing detailed plans for renovating our athletics facilities.”
Gina Oglesbee, chief audit executive, updated regents on the university’s audit plan and reported on a variety of audits, including audits of the JAMP grant, contract management, School of Art, Controller’s Office and Department of Elementary Education. Regents approved the annual audit report.
Regents ratified $98,726 in additional grant awards allocable to fiscal year 2017 and grant awards totaling more than $4 million for fiscal year 2018.
Two repair projects were approved by the board Monday. Regents approved an electrical infrastructure project that includes replacing a transformer and equipment in the Griffith and Kerr power plant, and installation of a new main transmission line. Additionally, the board approved installing a new sewer line from the tennis pavilion across Wilson Street to the city sewer main line.
Regents received reports on the Texas government code contract reporting, information technology assessment, current construction, the Intercollegiate Athletic Advisory Committee and the Nacogdoches – SFA Joint Economic Development Committee.
SFA President Baker Pattillo, Faculty Senate Chair Le’Ann Solmonson and Student Government Association Vice President Nikki Wood also reported to the board.
In addition to approving policy revisions, course fee deletions and minutes from the July meeting, regents approved:
• updated agreements between SFA and the SFA Alumni Association and SFA and the SFASU Foundation;
• a marketing campaign budget of approximately $930,000;
• an agreement with Myers and Stauffer, certified public accountants, for information technology audit services; and
• a contract amendment to the human resource applicant tracking and onboarding system, PeopleAdmin, to include tools that will help the system work with the university’s current Banner system and to meet SFA’s security standards.