COMMERCE - Texas A&M University-Commerce President Dan Jones welcomed new and returning faculty and staff to campus Thursday during the annual Fall Assembly from Ferguson Auditorium.
The event allows administration to bring everyone up to speed on various initiatives, both physically and academically.
Among the items addressed by Dr. Jones included the announcement of nearly 100 new members to the university family.
Some familiar faces, however, are stepping down. Marcia Lair has served the university since 1977, most recently as administrative assistant to the president under Dr. Keith McFarland and since Dr. Jones took over in 2009. The president announced Alicia Currin will become chief of staff and director of planning and governmental relations beginning September 1. Also retiring after 44 years of service, most recently as associate provost, is Sandra Weeks.
As is becoming routine, a number of improvements will greet new and returning students on campus this semester. The newest walking mall extension adjacent to the Ag Building is now complete, and new signage (some examples above) will help guide students and visitors. New seating and carpet has been installed at Ferguson Auditorium and a memorial dedicated to former student Rachel Rollings has been erected.
Rachel’s Garden sits next to the new University Amphitheatre, among several projects currently underway. Dr. Jones says it will feature a permanent raised stage and full electrical connections, and is available now for event scheduling through the Sam Rayburn Student Center. Also in progress is the new Ag Arena at the University Farm, which will assist the equine and other programs. Additionally, work continues on a 542 bed, $26 million residence hall at the southwest corner of campus. Beginning next year, administrators will seek approval for expansion of the dining area at the Student Center to account for the university’s student growth.
According to Dr. Jones, for the third year in a row A&M-Commerce is on pace to achieve record enrollment. Not just growth, but quality growth, he says, noting that more students are taking more credit hours each semester, which benefits the students themselves and performance-based funding for the university.
This will be the sixth year in a row that Texas A&M University-Commerce will offer a merit pay plan for its faculty and staff. Those receiving a raise will see the change on their October paycheck. This year’s merit pool totals $1.6 million.
Dr. Jones also informed audience members that the university is in the midst of preparing for reaffirmation of accreditation through the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS). And another item administrators will be preparing for is the upcoming Texas legislature and how it will impact the biennial budget.
You can hear the full address above. Below, we've also added recent news on KETR about Texas A&M University-Commerce, which the president referred to Thursday, plus photos of construction on campus since work began at the conclusion of the spring semester.