SFA University

October 11, 2022 – Stephen F. Austin State University’s Campus Recreation and Alumni Association will host the 13th annual Homecoming 5K beginning at 5:45 p.m. Oct. 25 on the SFA campus near the Cole STEM Building located on Clark Boulevard.

The event brings together students, alumni, faculty, staff and community members to raise money for SFA scholarships and to celebrate this year’s Homecoming 5K theme, Mario Kart Rainbow Road. The 3.1-mile course winds through the beautiful SFA campus and along the paved trails of the SFA Gardens’ Tucker Woods and Mast Arboretum, as well as the Lanana Creek Trail.

“The annual Homecoming 5K is a great opportunity to spend time with your friends, family and coworkers,” said Jessica Waguespack, assistant director of wellness for SFA’s Campus Recreation. “Take a break from the stressors of work and school and have some fun and focus on your overall well-being in a positive way. This event is also the main source of fundraising for SFA’s Dr. Raymond Lee Worsham Scholarship, an academic scholarship that provides financial assistance to student employees of SFA’s Campus Recreation.”

The student registration rate is $15; the faculty, staff and alumni rate is $25; the virtual runner rate is $30; and the community member rate is $35. A 1-mile option is available for $5 but does not include a T-shirt; however, T-shirts may be purchased for an additional $10. Registration is also available on race day beginning at 4 p.m.

The Homecoming 5K is a family- and dog-friendly event. Winners in each category will be recognized during an awards ceremony after the race.

For learn more, register or become a sponsor, visit sfaalumni.com/hoco5k.

October 7, 2022 — The student-led Economics Reading Group in Stephen F. Austin State University’s Rusche College of Business is hosting a virtual discussion with Dr. John A. List, author of “The Voltage Effect: How to Make Good Ideas Great and Great Ideas Scale,” at 5:30 p.m. Nov. 15 in the McGee Business Building, Room 133, and via Zoom.

List, the Kenneth C. Griffin Distinguished Service Professor of Economics at the University of Chicago, also co-authored the 2013 international bestseller “The Why Axis: Hidden Motives and the Undiscovered Economics of Everyday Life.” He is known for his extensive use of field experiments in his microeconomic research.

“It is an honor to get to hear from John,” said Dr. Ryan Phelps, associate professor of economics and finance at SFA as well as faculty advisor for the Economics Reading Group. “His consulting experience, including clients like Uber, Lyft and Walmart, is impressive.”

“The Voltage Effect” explores how scaling good ideas can drive change in a variety of arenas, including schools, workplaces, communities and society at large.

To prepare for the discussion with List, Phelps is hosting virtual Read Lunch Learn sessions on Zoom from noon to 1 p.m. every Wednesday from Oct. 19 through Nov. 9. The first session covers the introduction through Chapter 2 of the book.

“I am hoping that anyone working on great ideas will consider joining our Read Lunch Learn sessions on Zoom as well as the main discussion with the author,” Phelps said. “We will cover scheduled readings and discuss our own efforts to scale great ideas toward changing lives.”

For decades, List’s field experimental research has focused on issues related to the inner workings of markets, the effects of various incentives schemes on market equilibria and allocations, how behavioral economics can augment the standard economic model, early childhood education and interventions, and, most recently, the gender earnings gap in the gig economy (using evidence from rideshare drivers). His research includes over 200 peer-reviewed journal articles.

The Read Lunch Learn sessions and the Nov. 15 virtual discussion with List are free and open to the public. The Zoom link for both is gosfa.com/econ-reading-group.

For more information, email Phelps at phelpsrt@sfasu.edu.

October 4, 2022 - Students in Stephen F. Austin State University’s DeWitt School of Nursing are inviting community members to “Say Boo to the Flu” with a free drive-through flu vaccination event Oct. 7-8 at the DeWitt School of Nursing located at 5707 North St.

In partnership with East Texas Community Health Services, fourth-semester nursing students in the community health course will administer the flu shots from noon to 6 p.m. Oct. 7 and from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Oct. 8. The event is open to the public, and health insurance is not required. Children 4 years of age and older are eligible for a vaccine.

“Please consider getting a flu shot to help reduce your risk of illness and minimize the agony of flu symptoms if you do become ill,” said Michelle Klein, clinical instructor for the School of Nursing.

For more information about the School of Nursing, visit sfasu.edu/nursing.

October 4, 2022 — Stephen F. Austin State University's SFA Gardens will host the monthly Theresa and Les Reeves Lecture Series at 7 p.m. October 13 in the Brundrett Conservation Education Building at the Pineywoods Native Plant Center.

Dr. Kathryn "Kiki" Fontenot, an associate professor and vegetable extension specialist at the Louisiana State University AgCenter, will present "Containing Edibles to Maximize Your Garden's Beauty and Yields."

Fontenot works closely with vegetable farmers, hobby producers and home gardeners across Louisiana. Her research focuses on vegetable variety selection, fertilizer and herbicide trials, and hemp and blueberry cultivar trials.

She is the past president of the Louisiana State Horticulture Society, secretary of the Louisiana Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association, and an executive board member of the Southern Region Small Fruit Consortium. Fontenot recently authored the book “The Louisiana Urban Gardener: A Beginner's Guide to Growing Vegetables and Herbs.”

The Theresa and Les Reeves Lecture Series is held the second Thursday of each month and includes a rare plant raffle after the program. The lecture is free and open to the public, but donations to the lecture series fund are always appreciated. Parking is available at the PNPC and Raguet Elementary School, located at 2428 Raguet St.

For more information, call (936) 468-4129 or email sfagardens@sfasu.edu.

September 27, 2022 — College-bound students and their families are invited to Stephen F. Austin State University’s Showcase Preview, a weekday open-house event to be held October 10.

“We’ve designed our Showcase SFA events to give attendees an up-close and personal look at everything our campus has to offer,” said Emily Jefferson, SFA director of undergraduate recruitment. “The college search process can be intense, and SFA provides events like Showcase Preview for prospective students and their families to experience our campus in really unique ways.”

The preview was added to the Showcase SFA event series in 2021 with the intent of offering a shorter version of the university’s long-standing Showcase Saturday, which invites future college students to experience a taste of campus life through an action-packed, open-house event.

As a weekday event, Showcase Preview also gives attendees the opportunity to see the campus in action. They will experience the energy of campus as they move between buildings to participate in informational sessions and may even sit in on a mock classroom setting. Smaller than a Showcase Saturday but larger than a campus tour experience, Showcase Preview is the right fit for families looking to make a quick trip to the piney woods.

Showcase Preview will take place from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Oct. 10 on the SFA campus and will feature info fairs and sessions. Jack Walkers, SFA’s team of current students who serve as tour guides, also will be present at the preview to offer tours.

“Showcase is an amazing opportunity to experience life as a Lumberjack! Students can meet faculty and staff from their intended major, get tons of SFA swag, walk through our beautiful campus in the piney woods, and meet so many amazing Lumberjacks,” said Ali St. Germaine, an English graduate student from Pflugerville. “I love being able to share the student perspective on what it means to be a Lumberjack. This is an experience every prospective student should have!”

A welcome session will begin at 9:30 a.m. followed by sessions covering a wide range of topics, including first-year and transfer admission, financial aid, and more. Attendees may then participate in campus and residence hall tours, academic and student services fairs, as well as a mock classroom experience.

“Showcase encapsulates every reason why SFA should be anyone’s new home. Throughout the day, students have the opportunity to experience firsthand what life as a Lumberjack will be like by going on campus tours, sitting in on mock lectures and so much more,” said Julia Hobson, a junior agriculture and pre-veterinarian student from Richmond.

To learn more and register to attend Showcase Preview, visit sfasu.edu/showcase.

September 22, 2022 — More students are graduating sooner, and more first-year students are persisting in their studies, according to Stephen F. Austin State University’s fall 2022 enrollment numbers and success reports.

Even with a decrease in overall enrollment, the university saw growth among several populations and achieved its highest six-year graduation rate in the university’s history.

At a rate of 53.5%, SFA’s fall 2022 six-year graduation rate has consistently risen over several years and in the past five years alone has increased by approximately 5%. Additionally, the university’s first-time undergraduate retention rate is nearly 3% higher compared to five years ago.

“It is very hard to move the needle on retention and graduation rates,” said Dr. Marc Guidry, SFA associate provost, “but we have been doing it with steady progress for several years now through intentional and proactive advising, a revamped early alert system that reaches out to students early in the semester if they are not attending classes or doing assignments, and high-impact programs that direct resources to at-promise students like Generation Jacks and Aspire.”

SFA’s enrollment for fall 2022 was 11,327, marking a 5% drop from last year’s total. The decrease correlates with a national downward trend in higher education enrollment as universities continue to struggle from the fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to a spring 2022 study from the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center, postsecondary institutions have lost nearly 1.3 million students since spring 2020 — the brunt of that loss suffered by public institutions.

Despite these figures, administrators say positive progress is being made at SFA in many areas.

“We know the overall enrollment trend nationally is on the decline; however, SFA did have some positive movement forward,” said Rachele’ Garrett, SFA’s interim executive director for enrollment management and Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships director. “For the last two fall semesters, we have seen an increase in our first-year student population. We are also experiencing growth with our admissions and financial aid applications.”

SFA also experienced a spike in dual credit enrollment, which grew by 11% from fall 2020.

“SFA has partnerships with East Texas schools that provide access to core curriculum coursework. Not only are students earning credit toward their high school diploma, but they also are able to complete their bachelor’s degree with SFA much sooner,” Garrett added. “We are encouraged by the growing number of students taking advantage of this program.”

The Micky Elliott College of Fine Arts reported the most significant graduate student headcount increase, with graduate enrollment in the college growing by 18% from the last academic year. Its undergraduate enrollment also grew slightly.

“As of last year, the SFA School of Music offered the only all-online master’s degree in music composition in the country, headed by Dr. Stephen Lias,” said Dr. Gary Wurtz, dean of the college. “With data provided by him, we secured support from SFA Provost Dr. Lorenzo Smith to hire a new faculty composer, allowing us to accept a significant number of new graduate students in an area where we previously had to turn students away.”

Wurtz also attributed the college’s ability to stave off enrollment decline to the “substantial gift to the college by local businessman Bill Elliott last fall. We used earnings from that endowment to offer scholarships to prospective art, theatre, dance and music students, who ultimately chose SFA as their college home.”

In addition to enrollment growth, the Elliott College of Fine Arts also experienced a 14% increase in graduate semester credit hours.

“Ultimately, faculty and staff in the ECFA are dedicated to recruiting,” Wurtz said. “They dedicate numerous hours to visiting high schools, hosting workshops and summer programs, corresponding with prospective students, and more, to promote our programs. There is no shortage of students who want to study the fine arts at SFA, so investing proper resources into scholarships, programs and faculty for this college is a great investment in growth.”

Additionally, SFA’s Hispanic student headcount proportion increased by a percentage point, and international student enrollment rose by more than 12%.

For more information on SFA’s fall enrollment, visit the Office of Institutional Research’s website at sfasu.edu/ir.

By Christine Broussard, assistant director for strategic communications at Stephen F. Austin State University

September 2, 2022 — As part of its goal to provide expert economic research, analysis and consulting services in the East Texas region and beyond, Stephen F. Austin State University’s Rusche College of Business has established the Center for Business and Economic Research.

Housed in SFA’s Department of Economics and Finance, the nonprofit center offers data analysis, market research and economic impact analysis to the community while providing real-world training to SFA students.

“We want to become the go-to resource in the region for expert analysis and commentary on matters of economic policy and economic development,” said Dr. Mikhail Kouliavtsev, chair of the department.

He believes new relationships can be established and existing ones strengthened between the university and local businesses, government agencies, and nonprofit organizations through CBER, as evidenced by past projects completed through the department.

These include an analysis of sales tax revenue for the City of Nacogdoches; assessments of the economic impact of various events and entities, such as the Texas Blueberry Festival held annually in Nacogdoches and SFA’s economic contribution to the local economy; and a detailed study of the Texas Purchasing from People with Disabilities Program’s impact for the Texas Workforce Commission.

CBER also works to inform the public and media about the impact of national and state policies on the local economy, the effects of major events on the economy, and the role of new initiatives, such as the Interstate Highway 69 corridor, in local economic efforts.

In addition to increasing SFA’s outreach and visibility to the community, Kouliavtsev said the center will benefit the university in two key ways.

“A center like this attracts high-quality students and faculty to SFA and promotes collaboration with other research centers on campus,” he said. “Plus, SFA offices and departments that normally contract out market research, economic forecasts and other analyses to external consultants can request help from CBER instead.”

CBER is one of several entities launched recently by the College of Business to help bolster local businesses. Others include Business and Community Services; the Greg Arnold Center for Entrepreneurship, or ACE; and the Small Business Resource Hub, which is housed in ACE.

For more information, visit sfasu.edu/cber or contact the center at (936) 468-4301.

August 29, 2022 – The Children’s Performing Arts Series returns to the Stephen F. Austin State University campus in the 2022-23 academic year with four fun shows designed to entertain and educate East Texas youngsters.

The series, presented by the Micky Elliott College of Fine Arts, features curriculum-enhancing programs presented by Texas artists. Although selected shows are designed to engage audiences of all ages, careful consideration is given to show topics, which always include teachable classroom elements, according to Diane Peterson, Fine Arts Box Office manager and director of the series.

“CPAS shows are a great way to supplement class curriculums, and our in-depth study guides provide suggestions for pre- and post-performance activities and discussions,” Peterson said.

CPAS shows bring hundreds of students from schools throughout East Texas to the SFA campus to enjoy the productions.

With the renovation of Turner Auditorium still underway, teachers can expect a few changes this year. Performances will be in Kennedy Auditorium, 1906 Alumni Drive, and three show times will be offered at 9 a.m., 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. to accommodate the smaller venue.

“Kennedy holds half the audience that Turner would, so we expect shows to sell out quickly. We encourage teachers to book their classrooms early to take advantage of these great field trips that provide fun and educational outings for children,” Peterson said. “We also offer great discounts for large groups.”

This year’s lineup includes “Oskar’s Not So Simple Comeback” on Thursday, Oct. 6; “The New Little Red Riding Hood” Thursday, Nov. 10; “Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! The Musical” Wednesday, March 1; and “Reading and Rhyming with Mother Goose” Wednesday, April 26. Tickets go on sale Sept. 1.

“Oskar’s Not So Simple Comeback” opens the Children’s Performing Arts Series at SFA on Thursday, Oct. 6.

Presented by Alley Theatre, “Oskar’s Not So Simple Comeback” targets children in kindergarten through fifth grade. When Oskar starts attending school in person again after an extended period of remote learning, he’s excited about joining his classmates for his favorite activity: Sportsball! But much to his dismay, his skills have deteriorated, and he’ll have to find a way to restore his talent and confidence. After trying to tackle his problems on his own, he is compelled to find connection and support from his peers, his teachers, his parents, and his community, finding the solution to all his woes comes in the unlikeliest of places.

The forest comes to life with “The New Little Red Riding Hood” presented by Storybook Theatre on Thursday, Nov. 10.

In “The New Little Red Riding Hood” presented by Storybook Theatre, Big Bad Wolf has retired as the forest’s caretaker. His daughter, Wanda Wolf, is finding out she has big shoes to fill, especially when her BFF, Little Red, the great-great-great-granddaughter of the first Little Red Riding Hood, is trashing out the forest! Using Storybook Theatre’s signature “edutainment” format, the forest comes to life as the audience interacts with Granny Red, Wanda and the forest animals to help Little Red understand what she’s doing is wrong. This show targets kindergarten through fifth grade.

From the Caldecott Honor award-winning book, “Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! The Musical!” offers innovative music mixed with a simple story that speaks to children. The musical comes to SFA Wednesday, March 1.

When a bus driver takes a break from the route, a very unlikely volunteer springs up to take his place – a pigeon! And you’ve never met one like this before! From the Caldecott Honor award- winning book, “Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! The Musical!” is sure to get everyone’s wings flapping with its innovative mix of songs, silliness and feathers. The production, which targets pre-kindergarten through fifth grade, is based on the book by Mo Willems and presented by Main Street Theater.

Join Mother Goose and her puppet friends for “Reading and Rhyming with Mother Goose” Wednesday, April 26, on the SFA campus.

Join Mother Goose along with Lamby, Mary, Goosey, Itsy Bitsy and her other puppet friends as she shares the music of language expressed in rhyming in “Reading and Rhyming with Mother Goose,” presented by MCP Shows. In this fun and hilarious interactive show, children will learn these classic poems by acting out the various rhymes utilizing props, and they will leave the theatre with enthusiasm for reading, language and creativity. This performance targets pre-kindergarten through second grade.

Tickets are $7.50 for individuals and $6 per person for groups of 20 or more. To order tickets, call (936) 468-6407 or (888) 240-ARTS. Visit the CPAS website at www.cpas.sfasu.edu for additional information.

August 26, 2022 - They say everything is bigger in Texas, and Her Majesty’s Consul General Richard Hyde will discover that to be true as he embarks on a road trip around the State beginning on Tuesday 6 September 2022.

Hyde and senior staff from the British Consulate located in Houston, will not be hard to spot in a Union Jack draped Jaguar as they travel to north and east Texas, with bonus side trips into Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma and New Mexico. The route will cover approximately 2,500 miles – nearly 3 times the length of the United Kingdom. This trip follows last year’s 2,500 mile road trip to central and west Texas, with a return drive along the length of the Texas-Mexico border.

Coming in the year of Her Majesty the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, the team will be honouring Queen Elizabeth’s 75th year on the throne by participating in the Queen’s Green Canopy, a global sustainability initiative to plant trees. Consul General Hyde will be planting a tree in each location visited, including one in each of the five states on the itinerary.

Along with the tree planting ceremonies, the team will also host town hall style ‘pop-up consulates’ to meet with local businesses, civic and political leaders and other interested groups. The meetings will highlight the close economic links that the UK has with the state of Texas (as well as celebrating some Great British food and drink!).

The British delegation will be promoting investment opportunities between Texas and the UK, with exports from Texas to the UK amounting to over $10 billion in 2018, with a combination of events helping to support a range of UK interests across business, trade, defence, education and other sectors.

180 years after the UK Government first appointed a representative to Texas, this tour is also a chance to mark the UK’s continuing commitment to enduring relationships, mutual prosperity and extensive security cooperation with long-standing and close allies.

Consul General Richard Hyde said: “The aim of this tour is to focus on cities outside the ‘Texas Triangle’ (Houston, Dallas, Austin/San Antonio). This will enable us to engage with a wide range of politically influential and economically important communities and groups. Whilst honouring Her Majesty’s 75th year on the throne and enhancing the environment with tree plantings, we also hope to demonstrate that the UK is a modern and dynamic partner of Texas, a leading centre of culture, music and sport and a world class centre of innovation and science.”

List of locations for the Great British Tour of Texas (w/ bonus trips into AR, LA, OK and NM)
Below is the list of locations where the British Consulate will visit. The tree plantings and pop-up consulates will be casual, indoor receptions featuring British food and drink.

  • Tuesday, September 6 - Nacogdoches, Meetings and tree planting
  • Tuesday, September 6 - Kilgore, Tree planting and pop-up consulate
  • Wednesday, September 7 - Shreveport, LA, Tree planting and pop-up consulate
  • Wednesday, September 7 - Texarkana, AR, Meetings, tree planting, and pop-up consulate
  • Friday, September 9 - Amarillo, Tree planting and pop-up consulate
  • Monday, September 12 - Lubbock, Tree planting and pop-up consulate
  • Tuesday, September 13 - Waco, Tree planting and pop-up consulate

August 24, 2022 – Lumberjacks near and far as well as friends of Stephen F. Austin State University are encouraged to participate in the university’s second-annual Giving Day scheduled for September 15.

The fundraising event falls three days before the university’s 99th anniversary — SFA welcomed its inaugural class of students on September 18, 1923. Therefore, the theme #LogYourLegacy encourages Lumberjacks to celebrate that nearly century-long legacy by giving in support of the university’s future.

“Coinciding with the university’s anniversary, Giving Day provides a perfect opportunity to celebrate SFA while simultaneously investing in its future,” said Trey Turner, executive director of SFA’s Office of Development. “The donated funds received on Giving Day will be directed to immediate projects and initiatives, as well as help fund endowments that will serve future students for years to come.”

Some areas donors may consider helping include colleges or departments from which they graduated, student organizations of which they were a part, athletics, scholarships and more.

“As we look back at everything that has made SFA a leader in higher education, we know our alumni, friends, faculty, staff and students are who make this institution so incredible,” said Kathleen Thompson, coordinator for annual giving.

A Facebook event page will go live in the upcoming weeks, and everyone interested can follow Giving Day announcements and updates on SFASU Foundation’s Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn accounts. Campaign progress will be actively updated for the @SFASUfoundation on these pages. Athletics will also be sharing content, as will SFA’s main social media accounts.

The goal for Giving Day is to raise $125,000. Donations can be made online during the day through Giving Day platforms, and links will be provided through emails and shared on social media. All donations are tax deductible.

For more information about SFA’s Giving Day, contact Turner at turnertrey@sfasu.edu.