Aerial view of TAMU

President’s Brief - September 2023

General (Ret.) Mark A. Welsh III
Interim President

September 25, 2023


Our university leadership team is committed to improving communication and ensuring that necessary information flows effectively to our colleges, divisions and campus organizations. One fairly easy way to maintain transparency from my office is to share regular communication on important operational and administrative updates, along with recent news and accomplishments of our faculty, staff, students and former students via a monthly email. You can expect my President's Brief each month. While I don't want to spam you, I'll also be in touch between editions when necessary.

It goes without saying that this is an incredibly exciting time in Aggieland. We welcomed our largest freshman class ever, with more than 13,000 students from 47 states, 201 Texas counties and 28 countries. As of the 20th day of class, overall enrollment totaled almost 77,500 students, proof that Texas A&M continues to be a destination of choice for top students from around the world.

Also, in the span of a week, two national publications recognized Texas A&M as one of the nation's best universities. The Wall Street Journal ranked us sixth in the nation among all public universities and first in Texas in the “2024 Best Colleges in the U.S.” rankings. Overall, Texas A&M was 38th in the nation out of 400 ranked by the newspaper. U.S. News & World Report named Texas A&M the No. 20 best public university in the nation, and placed three of our great academic programs in the Top 10 nationally. Nine others ranked in the Top 20 in the nation.

Across both sets of rankings, it's interesting to note that substantial gains happened when student outcomes were weighed more heavily. These achievements are made possible by our world-class faculty and staff who do remarkable work each day to fulfill our mission and ensure our students receive a high-quality education and experience. It's always rewarding to see the collective work of our dedicated faculty and staff recognized, especially on a national scale. Job well done!

It's also a testament to what we're all about here at Texas A&M: supporting our students any way we can to ensure their success not only while they're here, but also when they embark on their future careers. As we move forward, we must keep an unmatched student experience top of mind.

In addition to this encouraging data on our students and rankings, here are three important things you should know right now:

  • STATE EMPLOYEE CHARITABLE CAMPAIGN: This year's State Employee Charitable Campaign (SECC) kicked off Sept. 1. I encourage you to join me in participating between now and Oct. 31 by making a payroll deduction or exploring other opportunities to give. Be on the lookout for “Better Late Than Never” prize offerings for participation soon, but the real prize is knowing we're helping so many great organizations across the state and in our local communities. Let's make this the most successful SECC yet!
  • QUICK-LOOK ASSESSMENT ON THE PATH FORWARD: Last week, I shared the quick-look assessment team's report and asked that you provide your feedback through this online form. I've spent time each day reviewing your responses, which will help inform my decisions. I know you're all working hard to support all that is good about Texas A&M. As I've mentioned previously, this assessment will ensure that this great work continues, while also allowing for slight shifts in direction where appropriate. Your active engagement in this process is critical, so if you haven't done so already, I encourage you to share your insights via the form by 5 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 26. Members of the assessment team and I will also be available tomorrow for two additional listening sessions should you wish to voice your thoughts to me or a member of the team. Following a thorough review of all responses, I will share next steps at an all-faculty, staff and student meeting on Oct. 4 from 8:30–10 a.m. at the Ford Hall of Champions at Kyle Field. Coffee and networking will begin at 8 a.m. and there will also be an option to watch via livestream, so please be sure to RSVP to join.
  • ACADEMIC TASK FORCE ON ACADEMIC FREEDOM: In light of recent events that have raised concerns about the protections needed for faculty members when academic freedom is called into question, I asked the Office for Faculty Affairs to develop a task force charged with reviewing existing policies and procedures regarding faculty protections. The team has already made excellent progress, and I'm grateful for their hard work on this important topic. Of note, the group has released a statement for syllabi on the value of academic freedom in the classroom, added language to a university rule on when administrative leave with pay during an investigation is appropriate, begun implementation on a system where complaints against faculty route to one point so that appropriate information and resources are provided and offered guidelines for faculty who are targeted. You can review the complete list of status updates from the task force on the Faculty Affairs website.

Please take a moment to read on for a glimpse at just a few of the thousands of amazing things happening across our campuses each day thanks to your great work!

And, as always, I invite you to reach out to me with your questions, thoughts and ideas at and to follow the Office of the President on Facebook for real-time updates on what I'm up to. Thanks for all you do!

Gig 'em!

General (Ret.) Mark A. Welsh III, Interim President

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