President's Monthly Update: May 2023M. Katherine Banks
May 15, 2023
As we come to the end of another successful spring semester, I want to thank you for your commitment to our mission, our students and our community.
This month, we celebrate the graduation of 11,900 undergraduate and graduate students in College Station, our branch campuses in Galveston and Qatar, and our educational sites across Texas. I have great confidence that, like the half million Aggies who came before them, the achievements of the Class of 2023 will be exceptional.
Students crossing the stage at graduation is a joyful time for the entire Texas A&M community. As faculty and staff, each of you has played a crucial role in shaping the academic and personal development of our students. You have taught, mentored, and provided them with the support and guidance needed to succeed. Thanks to your commitment to excellence, our students have received a truly transformational education.
Student Support Programs
This year, we advanced important efforts to assist students with the cost of education. We announced a $100 million scholarship development initiative and are supporting the expansion of open educational resources across campus. We launched the Good Bull Fund to support promising student-led projects that benefit the campus and community. We also committed to strengthening mental health services and support for our students by expanding access and services. To date, we have added 10 new embedded mental health professional positions across campus in key academic locations, and created a comprehensive online resource for quick identification of mental health services.
Connecting with Communities - Aggie Park
Aggie Park continues to be a destination for our students, faculty, staff and community. Since opening last year, the 20-acre green space hosted more than 70 events and has become the home of countless memories. This weekend, the venue will host its first music and barbecue festival - the Troubadour Festival . Aggie Park was made possible by the generosity of individual donors and the vision of The Association of Former Students.
University Awards Ceremony
In April, we celebrated outstanding members of the Texas A&M family at our inaugural University Awards Ceremony . Ninety-eight exceptional faculty, staff and students were honored for their contributions in academics, teaching, research and service. Congratulations again to our awardees for representing the university so well.
ASCEND Inaugural Award Recipients
This week, we announced the inaugural recipients of the Research Leadership Fellowships , the first of two awards through ASCEND, our collaborative research seed grant initiative to encourage research partnerships across all disciplines. Recipients of the second phase of our ASCEND awards, Targeted Proposal Teams, will be announced in July.
Academic Leadership Roles
In April, the search committee for the next provost, vice president for academic affairs and chief academic officer hosted five candidates on campus for second-round interviews, open forums, presentations and Q&A sessions. Thank you for your active engagement in this important process.
Earlier this month, we announced the appointment of Dr. Leann Horsley as dean of the School of Nursing . Currently dean and professor at the College of Nursing at East Tennessee State University, Dr. Horsley brings a wealth of experience and expertise to this important role as our nursing programs continue to expand and gain national prominence.
Our national search for the dean of the College of Arts and Sciences is underway. Search committee members have been nominated, an election will soon be held to install these individuals, and committee activities are planned for the summer. More information will follow as the search progresses.
The search for the vice chancellor and dean of the College of Engineering is progressing with campus interviews expected in the fall. Also in the fall, we will launch national dean searches for the School of Architecture and School of Performance, Visualization and Fine Arts.
Graduate and Professional Programs Climb in U.S. News Rankings
Texas A&M’s commitment to excellence in graduate education was recognized in the latest Best Graduate Schools rankings just released by U.S. News & World Report . Our College of Engineering and School of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences both ranked nationally in the top 10. Our School of Law rose to 29, an all-time high and a 54-spot climb over the last four years. Overall, 41 programs ranked in the top 50.
The School of Medicine rankings also improved significantly. Our primary care program ranking rose more than 50 spots from last year to 44 and the medical school’s research ranking rose from 80 to 64. Rankings are one of many metrics used to determine the success of our programs. Our investments in graduate education have positioned Texas A&M among the nation’s best universities.
Coffee + Conversation
I hope you will join us for the final spring semester Coffee + Conversation with University Leaders on May 23 from 8:45 to 10 a.m. at the General Services Complex. I have enjoyed the opportunity to meet and interact with faculty and staff at these events and look forward to continuing the series in the fall.
For those of you leaving campus for a few months over the summer, enjoy the time away. For those remaining on our campuses, I hope you find opportunities to relax and renew before the start of a new academic year. I look forward to resuming this monthly update in the fall, but in the meantime, I encourage you to continue to share your thoughts or questions at firstname.lastname@example.org and to follow the Office of the President Facebook page .
Again, thank you for all you have done, and continue to do, for Texas A&M University.
Thank you, and Gig ’em!
M. Katherine Banks
President, Texas A&M University