Chancellor's First Year at the Helm
Chancellor Duncan has his one-year anniversary as the head of the Texas Tech University System.
It was just more than one year ago that then Sen. Robert Duncan officially began his duties as Chancellor Robert Duncan.
Duncan, a Texas state senator for the better part of two decades, was named sole finalist to replace Kent Hance on May 14, 2014, and officially approved as chancellor during a special meeting of the Texas Tech University System Board of Regents on June 12. He started his new duties as the fourth chancellor in the history of the TTU System a year ago July 7.
“It’s gone by fast,” he said. “The system was in very good hands when I came aboard, and that has helped make this first year rewarding.”
The past 12 months have also been very busy across the TTU System. A few of the highlights include:
- The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB) approved the new bachelor’s degree program in civil engineering at Angelo State University, and engineering classes will begin on campus this fall.
- In January, Lisa Calvert was named the TTU System’s new vice chancellor for institutional advancement. During a year of transition, the system is still on track to raise approximately $160 million in the most recent fiscal year.
- Among the philanthropic highlights of the past year was a $7.5 million gift from the J.F Maddox Foundation to support research and facility renovation in the Edward E. Whitacre Jr. College of Engineering at Texas Tech University.
- The official ribbon-cutting was held for the Gayle Greve Hunt School of Nursing at the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso, expanding educational opportunities for students interested in a nursing career.
- The Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center broke ground for a future School of Public Health building on its Abilene campus.
- Working in collaboration with Texas Tech University President M. Duane Nellis and Texas Tech University faculty members, the university recognized Timothy Cole with an honorary bachelor’s degree during a May ceremony at the School of Law. Cole, who died in 1999, is a former Texas Tech University student who was wrongfully convicted of rape and later exonerated and pardoned.
- Finally, Duncan and the TTU System’s governmental relations team worked with local and statewide lawmakers during the recently concluded Texas Legislative session that resulted in key appropriations increases for higher education and the TTU System.
“The legislative session was good for higher education,” Duncan said. “It was good for the Texas Tech University System. Our government relations team and our local legislative delegation are to be commended for their efforts. They worked tirelessly on our behalf.”
Legislative highlights included the approval of more than $3 billion in capital projects, including $247.1 million for the TTU System. New facilities were approved for Angelo State University, Texas Tech University, Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso and the Lubbock, Odessa and Amarillo campuses of the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center.
Now comes Duncan’s second year, during which he expects to see a greater emphasis on specific goals designed to continue moving the TTU System forward. In addition to continuing to focus on the strategic plan adopted by the Board of Regents to carry the TTU System through 2020, Duncan and his executive team will develop priorities intended to complement and enhance the system’s mission.
“We can expect to see a continued evolution of the Texas Tech University System,” he said. “We will continue to work toward the system functioning in a true CEO capacity, overseeing component institutions and campuses but primarily providing leadership, support and resources.”
Another expected emphasis will be on research collaboration between component institutions. The TTU System and its components are working to incentivize collaborative research projects.
Toward that end, Duncan and the presidents of Texas Tech University, the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center and the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso announced in June a new initiative designed to promote collaborative sponsored federal research systemwide. The Presidents’ Collaborative Research Initiative, which came about from an idea by Texas Tech University President M. Duane Nellis, provides up to $50,000 awards to develop collaborative projects involving faculty from at least two of the three participating institutions with up to four awards made this year.
“We need to do everything we can to promote collaborative work among our institutions,” Duncan said. “We need to create ways for people to share in research opportunities.
“The Texas Tech University System had another great year. We had a leadership change, but we didn’t have a momentum change. The great work being done before I arrived has continued and is continuing across all of our campuses as our footprint and our profile continue to expand nationally.”
About the Texas Tech University System
The Texas Tech University System is one of the top public university systems in the nation, consisting of four component institutions —Texas Tech University, Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, Angelo State University and Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso—and operating at 12 academic sites and centers. Headquartered in Lubbock, Texas, the Texas Tech University System has an annual operating budget of $1.7 billion and approximately 17,000 employees focused on advancing higher education, health care, research and outreach around the globe.
In 2014, the Texas Tech University System endowment exceeded $1 billion, total research expenditures were approximately $215 million and total enrollment approached 47,000 students. Whether it’s contributing billions of dollars annually in economic impact or being the only system in Texas to house an academic institution, law school and medical school at the same location, the Texas Tech University System continues to prove that anything is possible.