The Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) amplified the Texas State University Division of Marketing and Communications by awarding “Introducing TXST’s New University President” and “Wear NEXT Fashion Upcycling.”
CASE is a nonprofit agency devoted to educational advancement in alumni relations, communication, marketing and innovativeness. The association focuses on connecting the community to transform society in values of professional excellence, integrity and respect. By being bold the organization advances higher learning to produce better lives around the world.
CASE decides the winners by identifying what they find to be the most interesting tactics that universities are taking to achieve specific goals. Since 2020, seven awards have been honored to Texas State University.
“These are more than awards that the institution gives… it’s to grow more recognition for the University to build a brand reputation, to get more alumni and students engaged, it truly is a great resource,” says Elias Martinez, assistant vice president for TXST Marketing.
The “Introducing TXST’s New University President” was awarded in the Communications/Communications Initatiavties category. The idea included a video of the new TXST President, Dr. Kelly Damphousse driving around on a golf cart and introducing himself to students. On April 21, 2022, Dr. Damphousse was titled the tenth president of TXST after a unanimous vote from the University System Board of Regents.
The moment is exciting and tense upon a new president’s arrival. The university can follow a new path once transitioning who’s in the presidential position. Before the president takes leadership, unknown factors determine the overall dynamics. For example, the president’s work and communication style decide which ideas will come to life. The newest perspective can either add a unique vision to the campus or not.
At Colorado State University, Martinez learned a lot during their presidential changeover and decided to capitalize on what went well. TXST contacted President Damphousse while he was still serving as chancellor of Arkansas State to start collaborating on ideas. By speaking with him early, the university was able to know what he did and did like and how much he was willing to contribute creatively.
“President Damphousse is someone who is very down to earth, personable, very engaged and loves creative ideas so much that we actually ended up with too many,” said Martinez.
The golf cart video was brainstormed with President Damphousse and included collaboration from a variety of people. The video’s purpose was to showcase how approachable the new president is and his style as a service leader who is here for the students and faculty.
“This was an innovative way to showcase the new president. It was an impressive roll-out. A great use of social media. A true showing of personality with great constituent engagement,” said the judges of CASE in an online statement.
In 2018, TXST NEXT was born. The concept is to push forward the University as the place that cultivates the next generation of leaders and innovators. To uphold this status the “Wear NEXT Fashion Upcycling” came to life after five to six years of market research, focus groups, surveys, creative development and a wide variety of people from different areas of work. All the time and hard work dedicated to this project paid off because the occasion won in the Special Events/In-Person – Multi-Day Events category.
Everyone loves to buy merch for their favorite sports teams, celebrity icons and most notably the school they attend. TXST wanted to give students a personable and memorable merch experience.
Also, the University wants to be mindful to create an idea that is sustainable for the earth. CASE judges were very pleased with TXST’s upcycling and the embrace of uniqueness according to an online statement.
“We partnered with a TXST alumnus, who has a shop out by Lockhart, to create a live screening printing event on the quad. The event made use of old items, so we are not contributing to these landfills,” said Martinez.
The award recognition is important to TXST because the school does not get the best reputation. The false definition that TXST is a party college not focused on academics invalidates the great educational experiences given.
“We are trying to get ourselves in the circle with these higher education folk where they look to TXST for inspiration because we are doing innovative work,” said Martinez.
TXST continues to achieve its goals to establish a new standard for the University. The current focus is on two pillars set by President Damphousse: elevate students and become an R1 institution.
To elevate student success there is a focus on increasing retention and graduation rates. In fall 2022, TXST investments and untied efforts made the first-year retention rate increase from a hovering 77% to 80%. The University strives to continue improving with the ultimate goal being for every bobcat to walk across the graduation stage.
The Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education are the ones that define Research 1 universities. Those classified as R1 are doctoral universities with very high research activity including the specific requirements needed. Currently, TXST is at R2 tiered facility and the hope is to achieve R1 by 2027 — the research is scientific as well as empirical.
“This opens up different funding opportunities of research projects for graduate and undergraduate students that gives them the hands-on experience needed in the real world,” said Martinez.
For more information on Texas State University’s mission visit the president’s homepage at www.president.txst.edu.
Featured Image by Preethi Mangadu.
Written by: Preethi Mangadu