The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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University president presents updates, goals for A&M’s future at yearly address

State+of+the+University+of+Address
Photo by Photo by Jesse Everett
State of the University of Address

In his State of the University Address on Thursday, University President Michael Young discussed four strategic initiatives — the president’s excellence fund, the student success initiative, enhancing research support and faculty hiring.
The 25th president of Texas A&M, who took office on May 1, 2015, said the university remains strong as it turns 142 years old.
“Our strength is in our ability to rise into new heights of academic excellence, physical accountability to the state, our students, their parents and affordability compared to our peer universities – and more importantly, the returns on investments which is reflected in lowered debt loads and higher potential earnings,” Young said.
Reflecting on the core value of selfless service, Young recalled how the joint efforts of the university saved lives during the devastating hurricane Harvey.
“Hurricane Harvey gave our students, faculty and staff the opportunity to do what they do best — helping day in, day out,” Young said. “Our Qatar students also hosted a fundraising event on their campus selling T-shirts and juice to support their fellow Aggies here at Texas. We felt their love and support 8,000 miles away.”
Young provided a progress report on the Vision 2020 plan, a set of university goals laid out in 1999 by a group of faculty, staff, students and graduates. It included diversity, elevation of teaching and research parity with the best public universities in the world.
Although there is more work to do, Young highlighted some of the successes achieved so far.
“We are nearing more than a billion dollars in research expenditures,” Young said. “Our mission is to have an impact on the state, nation and the world.”
One of the current strategic initiatives is the president’s excellence fund — a 10-year, $100 million fund help faculty collaborate on research.
“An example of this fund is the Triad (T3) award seed grants,” Young said. “One-hundred projects have been funded at $30,000 seed grant each. Half of the funded teams are assistant professors. … Our mission is to support research and discovery that make the human condition better.”
Young said he is committed to enhancing faculty capacity for research through grants, partnerships and commercialization.
“In the last 3 years, more than $25 million were invested in faculty research,” Young said. “We are committed to renewing that in the coming five years.”
In regards to faculty hiring, Young and his team are trying to add 30 tenure-track professors in the next 12 months and 100 new faculty over the next five years.
Looking ahead, Young said another set of goals with specific metrics is being put in place — Vision 2030.
The committee tasked with researching and presenting these future goals will be co-chaired by Vice Provost and Chief International Officer Michael Benedik and John Zachry, a distinguished former student from the Class of 1984.
Transformational learning was one of the three strategic imperatives introduced by Young in 2016, with the aim of providing intensive, intellectually transformative learning opportunities for students.
“This not only includes innovative classroom experiences, but capstone projects, undergraduate research, innovation and entrepreneurship programs, scholarships, internships and study abroad,” Young said. “In fact, we have more students who study or work abroad internationally than any other public institution in the world.”
Young also spoke on the Student Success Initiative, noting that the first-year student retention rate of 92.2 percent is good, but A&M aims to meet a goal of 95 percent.
“Graduation rate is [also] good, but can be better,” Young said. “We anticipate that in May 2019, we are expected to surpass 500,000 living former students across 165 countries around the world. The Aggie Network is global, our future is bright and their contributions to the world are truly extraordinary.”
Young concluded his address by encouraging all faculty, staff, students and alumni to embrace the Aggie core values in all they do.
“Always remember that what we do matters,” Young said.“This university matters.”

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