Chancellor touts ‘ecosystems of support’ in legislative testimony

Creating ecosystems of support for students at Texas Woman’s University has led to a series of positive outcomes, including high persistence rates among students of all backgrounds and impressive graduation rates for young adults who have aged out of foster care, Chancellor Carine M. Feyten told members of the Texas Legislature last week.

Feyten made her remarks on Feb. 23 during testimony (Feyten’s testimony begins at the 1:50 mark) before the House Appropriations Committee as part of its biennial charge to consider funding for public higher education institutions in Texas. 

The chancellor noted that persistence rates for Blacks and Hispanics are positively correlated to living on campus which is a primary predictor of college success, particularly for Black students. In 2017, there was no statistical difference in persistence between White, Hispanic or Black students.

She also noted that through the university’s Frontiers Program, which offers heightened support to students who have aged out of the foster care system, the university reported that 71% of program students either graduated or were on a path to graduation, well above the state average of 3%.

”We have also built a culture of support in every facet of university life,” Feyten said.  “We call it a ‘campus with a heart’ and it may sound silly but when you really put energy into developing a student-centered culture, it makes a real difference.”

Feyten said the university is constantly seeking ways to support students, and is currently in the process of establishing a Montessori-style childcare facility in a partnership with the Bezos Academy that will provide child care primarily for student parents.

The chancellor’s trip to Austin also included an alumni event a day earlier at the Headliners Club in Austin and a “TWU Day” event at the Capitol in which 30 Texas Woman’s students interacted with legislators and other elected officials.