Regents approve reorganization, rate increases

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Sam Houston State University’s regents did their homework for their regular quarterly meeting this week in Beaumont on the three Rs–reorganization, renovations and rate increases.

The regents approved the addition of a College of Humanities and Social Sciences and changing the name of the College of Education and Applied Science to the College of Education.

James F. Gaertner, SHSU president, told the regents that now a disproportionately large percentage of departments (53.3 percent) and faculty (60.8 percent) are housed within the College of Arts and Sciences.

“By adding an additional college, departments and accompanying faculty members will be realigned into newly formed colleges with more homogeneous academic content and organizational efficiences to better serve the needs of our students,” Gaertner said.

The new structure was created after input from faculty through forums and e-mails, from the faculty senate, and from administrative officers, Gaertner said.

The new College of Humanities and Social Sciences will include the departments of English and foreign languages, family and consumer sciences, history, mass communication, political science, psychology and philosophy, speech communication and sociology.

The College of Arts and Sciences will include the departments of agricultural sciences, art, biological sciences, chemistry, computer science, geography and geology, mathematics and statistics, music, physics, and theatre and dance.

The College of Education will include the departments of curriculum and instruction, educational leadership and counseling, health and kinesiology, language, literacy and special populations and library science.

David E. Payne, provost and vice president for academic affairs, has asked the faculty for recommendations for the position of interim dean of the college, and said that a national search will be conducted for a permanent dean.

The changes become effective Sept. 1, 2004.

In business relating to facilities, the regents authorized an approval process for the $1.6 million renovation of the Estill Hall dormitory that will allow work to begin in May with completion prior to the 2005 spring semester.

The board’s chairman and either vice chairman or local committee chairman were authorized to award the construction contract, which is usually done by the board as a whole. Design work was not completed in time for that to happen at this week’s meeting.

The board did award a contract to Bartlett Cocke General Contractors of San Antonio for an $18 million renovation to the present Farrington Building and construction of a new 61,732-square-foot science building.

The new facility will house the chemistry and forensic science programs, while physics will remain in the Farrington Building. Completion is expected by late spring of 2005.

Also approved was the addition of a $1.2 million auditorium for the Smith-Hutson Business Building expansion.

A planned auditorium was eliminated from the bidding process when it was thought that it would be too costly. After lower than expected bids were received, it was determined that the auditorium could be included.

The regents also approved increases in room rates, effective in the 2004 fall semester, averaging about 5.3 percent. Meal plans will increase 3.1 percent.

Increased costs of operations, utilities, post office service and renovations and repairs including computer cabling of all dorm rooms were given as reasons for the room rate increases.

Similar increased costs and contractural inflation commitments to the food service contractor were listed as reasons for the meal plan increases.

In other business, the regents approved this summer’s planned study programs in Greece and Mexico.

The Social and Economic Aspects of Olympic History will be taught in Greece.

Additional courses to be offered in Puebla, Mexico, beyond those previously announced, include International Agriculture, Tropical Horticulture, Range Management, International Research in Clinical Hypnosis and Educational Leadership Internship.