Today’s approval from the Texas A&M System Board of Regents and support from Chancellor John Sharp to begin construction of our Health Professions Building — the College of Health Sciences’ new home — is a sure vote of confidence in our commitment to quality healthcare, especially in rural communities.
They’re behind us all the way!
We have always been more than an institution of higher education. We are an institution of higher purpose. A purpose made crystal clear when 40 percent of community hospitals in Texas fear closure and the patient-physician ratio in Stephenville alone is 1,779 to 1. Our family, friends and neighbors are looking to us for help.
This best-in-class $80 million building (87th Legislature CCAP-funded project) positions us to fill career gaps in North Central Texas and identifies us nationally as a top-ranked healthcare training institution. Additionally, a total of $7 million in exceptional items from the 87th and 88th Legislatures strengthen the support for Tarleton State as the leader of rural healthcare in our region.
The new Health Professions Building will include specialized laboratory space and public clinics for students to gain true-to-profession experience in three new degree programs — physical therapy, occupational therapy and physician assistant studies. Programs in kinesiology, nutrition science, social work, public health, athletic training, and communication sciences and disorders are already in place. Together they will prepare our graduates to provide interprofessional evidence-based healthcare and advance world-class health-related innovations.
That’s the university John Tarleton envisioned.
Construction for the 92,000-square-foot facility, adjacent to the Nursing Building, begins just after the New Year, with completion anticipated by summer 2025.
The regents also gave us permission to seek Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board approval for degrees in four areas, each strengthening our promise to prepare students for 22nd-century careers:
- BA, BAAS and BS in Leadership and Strategic Studies
- BS in Zoo Animal Care and Management
- MS in Marketing
- PhD in Experimental Psychology, with an embedded MS
Adding leadership and strategic studies programs brings us closer to designation as a senior military school and will prepare students for service in the U.S. Army, U.S. Air Force and related occupations. The proposed bachelor’s in zoo animal care, one of only two in Texas, complements our expanded partnership with Fossil Rim Wildlife Center. The PhD and embedded master’s in experimental psychology accompany fresh research opportunities.
In faculty news, I am pleased to announce that the regents granted tenure to Dr. Kevin Johnson, Associate Dean of the College of Science and Mathematics and Director of the Timberlake Biological Field Station. An expert in oceanography and environmental science, his research focuses on water quality and biological monitoring. Congratulations, Dr. Johnson.
At last week’s groundbreaking for our Research and Economic Development Building, Chancellor Sharp asked if it was common for Tarleton State to enjoy seemingly nonstop success. New enrollment records. New degree programs. New facilities. It is when you have faculty and staff who harbor big dreams and a Chancellor and Board of Regents who love making those dreams real. I am extremely grateful.
I wish you and your families all the best as we near the holiday season. Thank you for trusting me with the university you love and allowing me to work beside you.
As always, bleed purple!
Dr. James Hurley