Texas Woman’s University received the American Council on Education and Fidelity Investments Award for Institutional Transformation.
The American Council on Education is a non-profit organization focusing on renewing public higher education trust by promoting equity and access. Every year they partner with Fidelity Investments to award universities that have gone through a period of great change and responded creatively to challenges.
ACE cited TWU’s $460 million investment in new facilities, childcare solutions and the competitive sports initiative as the basis for winning the award and the $10,000 prize. TWU was honored on April 14 in Washington, D.C. with an audience of presidents of other universities.
“Five years ago we had half as many student-athletes as we have today so that is a significant increase in the number of student-athletes,” TWU Chancellor’s Chief of Staff Christopher Johnson said. “In this first year of artistic swimming, the team competed nationally and came in fourth place overall, which is phenomenal. Women’s wrestling, a lot of other institutions said you’re going to have a hard time filling your weight classes, but within the first year, Coach Randi Miller was able to fill all of the weight classes, which were like no that never happens. You can see there is a lot of hunger for these types of programs.”
Johnson highlighted TWU’s transition into a university system and the Jane Nelson Institute for Women in Leadership as other parts of the initiatives creating change through TWU. For more information on the strategic initiative plans that TWU has set forward visit the TWU website.
ACE also credits TWU’s growing enrollment and in a press release they said that TWU’s student body is a reflection of the diversity within the state of Texas. Johnson underlined the increase of Hispanic students attending TWU given that the rate of Hispanic students has doubled since 2009. The incoming class of freshmen for the fall of 2022 was 43 percent Hispanic, which is a significant increase from the overall that is 33 percent Hispanic.
“We are recruiting more and more students of color and students who have been marginalized by higher education for a long time,” Johnson said. “That is going to eventually shift the overall student body demographic and we also hope these changes help attract women of color and faculty of color.”
Graduating Health Studies student and SGA 2022-2023 chief of staff Prisha Goyal said that TWU’s drive to improve itself and expand is being done with the feedback of students.
“I had the chance to have a conversation with Dr. Feyten and the architects along with other SGA students and Student Union programming students about what we would like to see in that building and what makes TWU special,” Goyal said. “To be a part of that impact and potentially taking that feedback form and implementing it is really cool.”
Goyal described TWU as a resource that is not widely known or used but she said she hopes that with all the changes and innovations TWU is setting forward more students learn about TWU.
“We are expanding,” Goyal said. “Our business school recently got accredited and it was accredited extremely fast. They started the accreditation process in 2017 and they just got accredited, our computer science program is growing and so many other programs are growing. It’s really doing your research and seeing how many awards we have won. I think in a couple of years we are going to show them that we can play with those big dogs.”
Karyme Flores can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org