Tarleton President James Hurley Launches Faculty Development and Research Initiative

Friday, September 24, 2021

STEPHENVILLE, Texas — Tarleton State University’s research enterprise is already a powerful economic engine, driven by faculty experts who lead their fields and create new ones. But they need more time for discovery.

President Hurley’s Faculty Development and Research Initiative, unveiled today, continues Tarleton’s record-breaking research efforts and makes a significant investment to provide more time for faculty to uncover fresh knowledge and deliver life-changing breakthroughs.

The initiative reflects the university’s commitment to academic excellence through innovative instructional practices as outlined in the 10-year strategic plan, Tarleton Forward 2030.

“Tarleton’s academic researchers are exploring solutions to world challenges and enriching our lives through innovation and development,” Dr. Hurley said. “Ensuring they have the time and resources they need is paramount to their impact on our state, nation and the world.”

President Hurley’s plan initially reduces classroom teaching to three courses (from four) each semester for 47 tenure-track faculty researchers and backfills instructional capacity with high-achieving graduate students.

Tenure-track faculty members representing all colleges, but concentrated in seven departments, were selected for a pilot program based on their success in securing external research funding. These initial participants are in addition to full-time faculty researchers already making robust discoveries in the university’s 11 research centers and institutions.

“Reducing the teaching load for faculty equates to more time for research,” said Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. Karen Murray. “And using master’s-level students as instructors elevates opportunities for leadership and increases the likelihood they’ll be employed by an institution of higher education in their early careers.”

She said selecting high-caliber graduate students and “developing them into extraordinary master instructors will complement and diversify Tarleton faculty.” Mentoring and support through the university’s Center for Educational Excellence will help ensure their long-term teaching success.

Dr. Hurley: “We have a formidable legacy of educational excellence, coupled with a spirit of research, innovation and development. This grow-your-own faculty initiative will help increase the pipeline of future professors and researchers in higher education. Being able to increase research productivity and strengthen the workforce is a win-win proposition.”

A founding member of The Texas A&M University System, Tarleton is breaking records — in enrollment, research, scholarship, athletics, philanthropy and engagement — while transforming the lives of more than 15,000 students in Stephenville, Fort Worth, Waco, Midlothian, A&M RELLIS at Bryan and online. True to Tarleton’s values of excellence, integrity, and respect, academic programs emphasize real world learning and address regional, state and national needs.