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Texas State University is a doctoral-granting university located in the burgeoning Austin-San Antonio corridor, the largest campus in the Texas State University System, and the 4th largest in the state.
Texas State is also the lead institution of a multi-institution teaching center offering several programs in the greater north Austin area. See Round Rock Higher Education Center (RRHEC).
Texas State University at a Glance
San Marcos is situated on the edge of the legendary Texas Hill Country.
Texas State is located in San Marcos, halfway between Austin (30 miles) and San Antonio (45 miles).
Authorized by the Texas Legislature in 1899, Southwest Texas State Normal School opened its doors in 1903 to 17 faculty members and a student body of 303. Over the years the Texas State Legislature broadened the institution's scope and changed its name, in succession, to Normal College, Teachers College, College, University, and in 2003 to Texas State University. Each name reflects the university's growth from a small teacher preparation institution to a major, multipurpose university. Texas State's original mission was to prepare Texas public school teachers, especially those of south central Texas. It became renowned for carrying out this mission, but today it does far more.
By 1999, when the centennial of the original legislative action was observed, the University was proud to have grown to over 21,000 students and 900 faculty. As of 2014, Texas State University serves over 36,500 students with a faculty and staff of 4,860. It is now the 4th largest public university in Texas.
The University is not the only Central Texas entity that has flourished over the past quarter of a century. The main campus in San Marcos is located midway between Austin and San Antonio and within a few hours of Houston and the Dallas/Fort Worth metropolis. These large cities, and some of the smaller suburban areas within commuting distance, are among the fastest growing areas in the United States. With a population slightly over 54,000, San Marcos was named the fastest growing city in the United States for two years in a row (U.S. Census Bureau, 2014). This growth has been stimulated by and also attracted the movement of business and industry to Texas. And, Texas State University is at the hub of these increasing opportunities for education and research.
San Marcos, home of Texas State’s main campus, is located on the edge of the Texas Hill Country, where extensive rolling prairie blends into more rugged oak and cedar-clad hills. The campus, which climbs up from riverbanks to a ridge on the edge of the hills, benefits from this beautiful location. As is indicated by its tagline “The Rising Star of Texas”, the institution also has a reputation for substantial and useful academic programs that help fuel the economic and educational engines of the state.
Today’s physical campus covers 486 acres with 5,038 additional acres of recreational, instructional, farm and ranch land. Texas State’s Round Rock Campus, which opened in permanent facilities in 2005, covers 101 acres and houses programs in Nursing as well as upper-level courses leading to other bachelor’s degree and certificate programs, plus complete master’s degree programs. This campus is slightly north of Austin and thus a convenient location for both Austin residents completing degrees there as well as those who take courses to help reduce the daily commute to the San Marcos campus.
Texas State’s 36,500 students, of which nearly 4,000 are graduate students, are a close reflection of a racially and culturally diverse state. Over 48 percent of the student body is classified as minority, and the 32 percent who identify themselves as Hispanic qualify the campus as an Hispanic-serving institution. The University has long been identified as a desirable destination for those who are the first in their families to seek higher education. The most recent figures show that 41 percent of first-time freshmen were reported as first generation college students. Other groups also find the campus to be welcoming. The Military Times has named Texas State as one of the most veteran-friendly universities in the country. Payscale and CollegeNet have cited the university for its helpfulness to disadvantaged students.
Texas State students are academically qualified as well as diverse. High school seniors headed for the Texas State achieved a mean SAT score of 1032, better than the national mean of 1010 and the Texas mean of 971.
While 10 percent of students come from out of state, the majority of students hail from many locations across Texas. Recent statistics reveal that approximately 35 percent of Texas State students come from Central Texas, 24 percent from South Texas, 19 percent from the Gulf Coast region, and 12 percent from the Dallas-Fort Worth area.
Texas State students are not only identified by who they are, but also by what they do. Individuals and groups from Business to Science to Mass Communication to Theatre Arts have won regional and national recognition in various competitions. The Texas State chapter of ENACTUS, a global organization that fosters entrepreneurial activities, was named the U.S. champion in an annual competition. Teams of marketing and advertising students from the University have won two U.S. championships and a number of regional championships in the American Advertising Federation competition. Three theatre students were national finalists in the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival program, making it four years in a row that the University’s theatre program has produced at least three Kennedy Center finalists.
Faculty and Program Areas
Over 1,700 faculty members support coursework, students, and research in 98 bachelor’s degree programs, 90 master’s degree programs, and 12 doctoral programs. Round Rock supports 13 bachelors, 12 masters and 13 certificate programs. These are offered through the College of Applied Arts, McCoy College of Business Administration, the College of Education, the College of Fine Arts and Communication, the College of Health Professions, the College of Liberal Arts, the College of Science & Engineering, and University College. The Honors College offers interdisciplinary coursework for high ability students and the Graduate College coordinates the master’s and doctoral programs across campus.
In addition to serving as an academic, research and economic development hub for Texas, the University also serves as a cultural venue. The School of Art & Design’s Galleries 1 & 2 boast 18-foot ceilings, an atrium lobby and over 3,000 square feet of museum quality exhibition space. The galleries, which are used separately for individual exhibitions and in tandem for combined exhibitions, host a number of visiting artist lectures and workshops throughout the academic year.
The Witliff Collections are devoted to collecting and preserving the creative legacy of the Southwest through the acquisition of significant archives and works of the Southwest’s literature, film and music, as well as the photography of the Southwest and Mexico. The Collections welcome visitors, tours, and classes, host lectures, readings, and symposia, assist researchers, and present major exhibitions year-round in over 6,600 square feet of viewing space.
Varied musical and dramatic artists and groups either come to campus or have their homes here. Performances take place in the School of Music’s Recital Hall, Evans Auditorium, and venues within the Theatre Center. The Department of Theatre and Dance also presents annual performances at the outdoor Glade Theatre.
The newest addition to Texas State’s cultural menu is the Performing Arts Center. It houses the 400-seat Patti Strickel Harrison theatre and a 300-seat recital hall, plus a grand lobby, rehearsal space, a scenery shop, staging areas and classrooms.
In 2012, Texas State University was designated as an Emerging Research University by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board. This was confirmation not only of what the University had done, but where it is going. The Coordinating Board defines Emerging Research Universities as institutions that offer a wide range of baccalaureate and master’s degree programs, serve a student population within and outside the region, are committed to graduate education through the doctorate in targeted areas of excellence. Texas State currently enrolls more than 450 doctoral students and had $39 million in total research expenditures in the 2014 fiscal year. This designation allows Texas State to progress toward National Research University Fund status, which allows access to special funds designed to bolster higher education research.
To coordinate efforts to achieve designation as a research university, in 2014 the University adopted a 10-year Strategic Plan for Research with targeted investments of institutional funds to support increased research activity across the campus. Texas State’s Initiative for Interdisciplinary Research Design and Analysis (IIRDA) [insert link to IIRDA] is the primary point of contact for faculty seeking expertise in the design, analysis and publication of research at the highest levels. Statisticians provide assistance with the development and articulation of technical components, selection of appropriate analytic methods, identification and creation of appropriate measurement instruments, data management protocols, as well as data analyses and interpretation of results.
Facilities, Services and Centers
A cross-section of Texas State’s many specialized research/education facilities and centers gives just an indication of the scope of production as well as the promise of potential.
STAR Research Park -The Austin–San Antonio region has a current shortage of laboratory space for early stage companies and collaborative efforts. Texas State is partially addressing that need; however, as an incubator the facility is only part of the picture. The University will also provide firms with access to business mentors, specialized service providers, sources of capital, specialized instruments and equipment as well as Texas State faculty and students. Less tangible but very real for the newborn companies is the benefit of being identified as a resident of a technology incubator located in a university-affiliated research park.
High Performance Computing (CHiPS) Laboratory enables manufacturing and service organizations to achieve higher levels of productivity and performance, global competitiveness, and customer satisfaction through simulation modeling and analysis, operations research and statistics. One of the largest projects at CHiPS is called the Next Generation Semiconductor Wafer Fab Characterization. Sponsored by ISMI – a consortium of leading semiconductor manufacturers – this project combines simulation modeling and analysis for small wafer lot manufacturing with an emphasis on the impact on Automated Materials Handling Systems.
The Meadows Center for Water and the Environment is housed on the shores of the second largest springs in Texas. These springs feed the San Marcos River and are home to eight endangered species, including the Texas blind salamander. Texas State is one of the best places in the world to study aquatic ecosystems and species.
The Center for Children and Families fosters collaboration among academic units and community-based agencies for proposal writing, research, education and service delivery. This mission promotes comprehensive services for children and families across the lifespan. Its interdisciplinary work is supported by units from five of Texas State’s academic colleges and has included a First Generation College Student Program, a Rural Distance Education Project, and a Positive Youth Resiliency Project.
The Freeman Center provides 3,500 acres of Texas Hill Country habitat and on-site facilities. Its three-fold mission of research, education and outreach yields the information and knowledge that enables good stewardship and the sustainable use of Texas land and water resources.
The Center for P-16 Initiatives provides opportunities for students in Central Texas to increase college access and success. Its primary goals include improving college access for economically disadvantaged students in Central Texas through increasing their financial literacy, assisting with the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, and providing preparation for college academics and college life. The Center also places an emphasis on early literacy activities for pre-kindergarten children.
Other programs at the Center include Generation TX, a statewide, grassroots movement focused on creating a culture of college and career readiness. Many of these programs are coordinated through the efforts of the Collegiate G-Force Organization. G Force mentors provide hands on assistance to students and families in Central Texas to navigate college access. Many mentors are first generation college students who know from first-hand experience how difficult it can be to apply to and succeed in college.
The Texas School Safety Center (TxSSC) serves as the central location for safety and security information, including research, training, and technical assistance for kindergarten through 12th grade schools and junior/community colleges throughout Texas. Specifically, the Center provides universal and regional services to students, educators, administrators, campus-based law enforcement, community organizations, state agencies, and colleges/universities in an effort to increase safety and security in Texas schools. In addition, the TxSSC also builds partnerships among youth, adults, schools, law enforcement officers, and community stakeholders to reduce the impact of tobacco on all Texans through prevention, training and enforcement initiatives.
The Xiphophorus Genetic Stock Center, named after a genus of fish, produces and maintains special strains of genetically identical stock. The high degree of genetic identity in organisms is scientifically important in order to ensure that experiments yield reproducible (dependable and repeatable) results. Genetic stock centers carefully track the ancestry of each organism maintained at the center, and purposely breed individuals to control and enhance genetic identity among different lines. By limiting the amount of variation in an experimental model system, scientists are much better able to see biological differences that result from specific genetic differences, allowing them to connect genes with function and/or disease much more quickly.
College Level Centers
The Center for Study of the Southwest engages faculty and students in the richness and diversity of Texas, the Southwestern United States, and Northern Mexico and gives focus to intercultural studies through examining the regions people, institutions, history, art, and physical and cultural ecology. In 2001, the National Endowment for the Humanities selected the Center to serve as the Southwest Regional Humanities Center, part of an initiative to establish such centers around the country. Although that initiative came to an end, funding from that program continues to support some of the Centers humanities activities. The Center also collaborates with Humanities Texas, the state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities.
Two regional journals, Southwestern American Literature and Texas Books in Review, disseminate scholarly understanding of the region and its writers to academic and general audiences. The Center has also sponsored conferences and symposia, including National.
Department Level Centers
ALERRT - The Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training (ALERRT) Center at Texas State University was created in 2002 to address the need for active shooter response training for first responders. Using more than $30 million in state and federal grant funding in the last 12 years, the ALERRT Center has trained more than 60,000 police officers nationwide in dynamic, force-on-force scenario-based training. In 2013, the FBI partnered with the ALERRT Center at Texas State and named ALERRT its standard for active shooter response training.
The Center for Texas Music History is part of the History Department at Texas State University. The Center’s current projects include graduate and undergraduate courses on Texas and Southwestern music history; Texas Music History Unplugged, a lecture/concert series that brings prominent Texas musicians to campus; and a Texas Music Oral History Program which involves Texas State graduate students in conducting and transcribing interviews of a variety of people from throughout the Texas music community. The Center also publishes the Journal of Texas Music History and has been key in designing exhibits, maintaining an online research database, partnering with Texas Music Café, a weekly radio and television show.
The James and Marilyn Lovell Center for Environmental Geography and Hazards Research, located within the Department of Geography, provides a focal point around which its scholars can gather to share ideas and mentor students. Faculty scholars seek to better understand Earth’s environment, to analyze and reduce the impacts of natural and technological hazards, and through their work to improve policies directed toward the Earth's environment.
Through its annual distinguished lecture series, the center brings to campus speakers from a variety of disciplines to engage and energize students, faculty, and the general public. Among other activities, the Center offers occasional papers and professional poster presentations that can be freely downloaded from its publications page, maintains a list of over 275 journals and other publication outlets that are of interest to the geographic community, provides opportunities for collegiality by coordinating faculty, student, and outside speaker presentations, and seeks funding to support the research activities of its faculty and student scholars.
The Forensic Anthropology Center at Texas State (FACTS) is a multifaceted forensic anthropological research, teaching, and outreach center within the Department of Anthropology. FACTS includes a body donation program; the outdoor Forensic Anthropology Research Facility and the Osteological Research and Processing Laboratory, both at Freeman Center; and the Grady Early Forensic Anthropology Research Laboratory.
FACTS faculty and students conduct forensic anthropology research in human decomposition processes, the postmortem interval, human skeletal variation, and forensic osteological methods. Faculty and staff also work with outside researchers, instruct graduate students, offer workshops, short courses and other training in forensic anthropology, and provide forensic anthropology case services for law enforcement and medical examiner personnel. Assistance is also provided to archaeologists and cultural resource managers.