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Fall Assembly 2021 puts the focus on momentum

Momentum – the strength or force that allows something to continue or to grow stronger or faster as time passes – was the focus of Texas Woman’s 2021 Fall Assembly held Monday, Aug. 16.

Though held strictly in a virtual mode last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a small audience of faculty and staff attended the event in the Margo Jones Performance Hall on the Denton campus. Many others watched via livestream on the Denton, Dallas and Houston campuses.

Chancellor Carine M. Feyten began her talk with gratitude, shining a spotlight on all that the university has accomplished in recent years. She pointed to:

  • The Strategic Plan
  • Infrastructure growth, including changes to the former golf course, the parking garage, the Student Union at Hubbard Hall, improved lab space in the new Scientific Research Commons, and improved rehearsal space in the Fine Arts Annex
  • Improved communications through the RingCentral project
  • The Jane Nelson Institute for Women’s Leadership, which grew from idea to what is now three centers dedicated to preparing more women to take on successful roles in business and public service
  • The Woodcock Institute, which is committed to the interdisciplinary advancement of contemporary cognitive assessment and applying evidence-based research to clinical practice

“The energy is palpable, engaging and changing,” Feyten said. “Our identity as an institution is strong and strengthening.”

The university gained in stature in late May when the bill establishing the TWU System became law. Though that status at this point is mostly symbolic, the chancellor said, “symbolism has power.” While she plans to put together a group of faculty, staff and students to determine how a TWU System should look, Feyten did outline some priorities:

  • Expand the university’s influence and reputation in Dallas and Houston
  • Grow partnerships in Dallas and Houston
  • Rapidly grow TWU’s philanthropic support in Dallas and Houston

Other Fall Assembly highlights included:

  • Jason Lambert (management, Denton), chair of the Chancellor’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Council, which aims to keep diversity and inclusion at the forefront of work across many facets of the university
  • Jason Tomlinson, vice president for finance and administration, who noted that Texas Woman’s received $6.2 million in new state money, and that Winter Storm Uri caused $3 million in damages to the university
  • Matt Moustakas (risk management, Denton), who encouraged vaccination to combat the coronavirus, calling it the best way to end the pandemic. He also noted that university is launching a Community of Immunity Challenge, which will include both a faculty/staff and a student version, and proposed a program to test unvaccinated faculty, staff and students who come on campus.
  • Monica Mendez-Grant, vice president for student life, who said that 16,611 students are expected to enroll at Texas Woman’s this fall, and a total of 1,845 students were expected to move into residence halls during move-in week.
  • Provost Carolyn Kapinus drew laughter when she confessed that what she misses about Zoom meetings “is my ability to be the same height as the chancellor.” She drew applause with the announcement that, through the use of open educational resources (OER), the university is on track to save students $1 million in textbook costs in 2022.