|San Jacinto News Times - Local News
Copyright 2017 - Polk County Publishing Company
Academic department reorganization gets green light at Sam Houston State
Sam Houston State University's governing body—the Texas State University System Board of Regents—has given the go-ahead for an academic department reorganization and authorized the university to set room and board rates for the upcoming academic year. The regents took the action at their quarterly meeting in Austin on Thursday and Friday (Feb. 16-17). SHSU was authorized to separate the existing Department of Agricultural Sciences and Engineering Technology into two separate academic departments: The Department of Agricultural Sciences and the Department of Engineering Technology. "The division will allow the two uniquely different programs to develop distinct mission statements and scope, as well as marketing strategies, which specifically and directly reflect their specialized fields of study," SHSU President Dana Hoyt told the regents. A program name change from industrial technology to engineering technology, the construction of the Fred Pirkle Engineering Technology Center, an increase in faculty positions, and a new partnership and endowment with Quanta Services have elevated student enrollment more than 27 percent over the past nine years to a record 400 students. The Department of Agriculture will continue to offer both undergraduate and graduate degrees in several ag-related programs, while the Department of Engineering Technology will offer Bachelor of Science degrees in engineering technology, construction management, electronics and computer engineering technology, and design and development. In other business, SHSU was authorized to change board plan rates for resident and commuter meal plans to reflect an overall 2.86 percent increase. The increase request was based on the impact of increasing cost of goods, employee wage increase, and an increase to minimum starting wage and operating expenses. The regents also granted SHSU approval to increase room rates from 2.96 percent to 3.10 percent depending on the residence hall. "In the review of housing costs, we are asking for this change based on the increasing costs of operation due to growing student population and more renovations and repairs, particularly in our older buildings," Hoyt told the board. "Funding is also needed for future planned projects to further enhance student housing." The regents also were updated on campus construction progress. The South Dining facility is 99 percent complete, with the installation of graphics, signage and specialty furnishings pending. The new South Residential Complex, which features 700-bed residence halls, green spaces and pedestrian walkways, is 78 percent complete and expected to be finished this summer in time for a fall semester opening. Construction on the Biology Laboratory Building is 10 percent complete. The estimated opening date is summer 2018. The next TSUS Board of Regents meeting will take place on May 18-19, at Texas State University in San Marcos.