February 5, 2016 - NACOGDOCHES, Texas — The Master of Business Administration program at Stephen F. Austin State University is ranked in the top 50 most affordable M.B.A. programs in the nation, according to Top Management Degrees, an online business education career guide.
“The M.B.A. program at SFA is very affordable, especially compared to many of our competitors around Texas and the U.S.,” said Dr. Mikhail Kouliavtsev, Master of Business Administration program director. “We aim to serve business professionals in the East Texas region, providing them with the tools, knowledge and credentials to either jumpstart or advance their careers.”
Dr. Tim Bisping, dean of the Nelson Rusche College of Business, agrees the program is not only affordable, but also has great value for students.
"I am happy to see that our M.B.A. program has received this important recognition,” Bisping said. “The excellent curriculum, combined with top faculty members and affordable tuition, certainly makes our program an excellent value."
Top Management Degrees analyzed more than 500 schools accredited in the U.S. by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business International, according to PR Newswire.
Kouliavtsev explained this accreditation is the most prestigious international accreditation organization and it is a distinction shared by about 700 universities worldwide. In order to receive the accreditation, faculty members, curriculum and other academic aspects of the business programs must maintain a high standard.
Currently, there are approximately 40 students enrolled in SFA’s Master of Business Administration program in the Nelson Rusche College of Business. While many of the courses are offered online, the majority of the program is delivered in the traditional classroom format, Kouliavtsev said.
“We find our current students prefer the in-class interaction with classmates and faculty members to the strictly online format, but online delivery of our program is something we continue to explore for the future,” Kouliavtsev said.
Most of the M.B.A. classes are offered in the evening, allowing professionals to continue to work while pursuing their education. The degree is flexible, meaning students can choose the pace at which they want to complete their degree. Applicants who hold a bachelor’s degree and meet admission standards are accepted into the program regardless of their undergraduate major.
Also, each student’s degree plan is customized to his or her background. Students are required to take 30 semester hours of core courses. Electives can be tailored to meet the student’s interests or career. Kouliavtsev said many students have opted for a study abroad experience to fulfill elective requirements. Students also can branch out and enroll in courses outside of the Rusche College of Business that will complement their skillset.
“Our M.B.A. program reflects the Rusche College of Business’ student-centered mission with the program’s flexible course offerings and customized degree plans,” Bisping said. “Our goal is to equip students to become leaders in their chosen careers, and this program is one of the tools we are utilizing to help our students be successful.”
For more information on SFA’s Master of Business Administration program, visit http://www.sfasu.edu/cob/mba.asp.
February 5, 2016 - NACOGDOCHES, TEXAS – The SFA Ladyjack and Lumberjack basketball teams are ready for Cram the Coliseum when they take on the A&M Corpus Christi Islanders on Feb. 13. Women's game begins at 4 p.m., and the men's game will start at 6 p.m. in the William R. Johnson Coliseum at the intersection of E. College St. and University Dr.
All Nacogdoches County Chamber members received 10 tickets in the February mail packet, and a link to download and print more can be found in Hot News at www.nacogdoches.org
"We'd like for Chamber members to share the tickets with everyone they know, because the entire community is invited to Cram the Coliseum," said Murphey Gayler, Chairman of the SFA-Chamber Connection Committee. "The Chamber is working with SFA Athletics to get another record-setting crowd to these games. Give these tickets to your co-workers, your customers, your family, friends, neighbors and any one else that will go and support the Jacks.”
Cram the Coliseum tickets are compliments of SFA Athletics Department. For all SFA athletic event schedules, please visit www.sfajacks.com. Go to www.nacogdoches.org for more information about this and other Nacogdoches County Chamber events or call 936-560-5533.
Free admission tickets available at Nacogdoches County Chamber of Commerce
February 4, 2016 - NACOGDOCHES, Texas — Students and faculty members in Stephen F. Austin State University’s hospitality administration program have partnered with the Texas Forest Trail Region (TFTR) organization for a semester-long project.
SFA students in instructor Brittany Fish’s destination management course are developing family-friendly itineraries with the Texas Forest Trail Region organization to help promote tourism in the area, while Drs. Chay Runnels, Lisa Mize and Jennifer Newquist, SFA professors of human sciences, are examining family travel itineraries in the research portion of the collaborative venture.
Last summer, Runnels and Newquist learned that family travel in the U.S. was on an upswing, which encouraged them to investigate travel and tourism agencies in East Texas.
“Research shows families use vacations to help improve communication and create opportunities for improved connectedness. Families who vacation regularly or engage in leisure activities also report having an increase in their satisfaction with family life,” Newquist said.
Therefore, many of the learning objectives in Fish’s destination management course are geared toward developing students’ abilities in understanding the role of convention and visitors bureaus, chambers of commerce and other destination marketing organizations in promoting tourism to families.
“This project will allow students to relate course content to real-life objectives within the hospitality industry,” Fish said. “By evaluating a destination marketing organization’s current marketing strategies and outreach programs, students will be able to utilize their findings in designing multigenerational itineraries to hopefully increase tourism to chosen destinations.”
Additionally, students will create one-day trip itineraries with photos for use in a brochure and on social media. They also will develop marketing initiatives and promotional ideas to endorse these itineraries to capitalize on tourism.
“While the students are conducting in-depth research, they also are building relationships with current employers in the hospitality industry,” Fish said. “This allows students the opportunity to not only network for their futures, but to truly develop a realistic understanding of the challenges and opportunities the tourism industry faces.”
Recently, Runnels, Mize and Newquist conducted a focus group to begin their research portion of the project. The focus group involved partners from the Texas Forest Trail Region who represent destination marketing organizations from 35 East Texas counties.
“The focus group went great. We had good participation from group members,” Runnels said. “It is exciting to bridge the gap between academia and industry professionals.”
The next step in the research process is conducting follow-up interviews with focus group members to determine the marketing efforts being utilized to target multigenerational families, Runnels said.
Marty Prince, executive director for Texas Forest Trail Region, said she is excited to be partnering with SFA again and to be working with Fish.
“The two organizations have worked closely on projects that have had a positive economic impact on East Texas,” Prince said. “These projects have brought statewide praise and attention to SFA’s hospitality program, provided needed assistance to Forest Region communities and given SFA students hands-on learning opportunities directly related to their field of study.”
February 4, 2016 - NACOGDOCHES, Texas — Senior interior design students at Stephen F. Austin State University will showcase their talents during the "Essence of Design" exhibit on display Feb. 6 through March 4 on the second floor of the Ralph W. Steen Library.
The exhibit is open to the public and will kick off with an opening reception from 10:30 a.m. to noon Saturday, Feb. 6.
Each of the 13 students designed, fabricated and installed a freestanding structure on which to display his or her work. The structures are 8 feet wide, 8 feet long and 7 feet tall and reflect each student's design philosophy and personality, as well as provide a backdrop for each display.
The exhibit achieves multiple objectives in the interior design curriculum, including readying student portfolios for the job-search process; encouraging student self-assessment; allowing students to experience the complete design process, including conceptualization, design development, fabrication, installation and evaluation; communicating the scope of interior design education to the public; and providing a recruitment tool for the program.
To schedule a guided tour of the exhibit or for additional information, contact Sally Ann Swearingen, associate professor of interior design, at (936) 468-2048 or email email@example.com.
January 27, 2016 NACOGDOCHES, Texas – Trio Mélange, composed of music faculty members of the University of Louisiana at Monroe, will perform new music for soprano, horn and piano in a recital at 7:30 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 7, in Cole Concert Hall on the Stephen F. Austin State University campus.
The concert is a joint presentation of the SFA College of Fine Arts and School of Music. The guest artist recital features Claire Vangelisti, soprano, Richard Seiler, piano, and James Boldin, horn, performing works of Carl Gottlieb Reissiger, Auguste Panseron, Eurico Carrapatoso and Gina Gillie.
Vangelisti’s voice has graced both national and international concert and operatic stages, performing repertoire from Bach to Berg. She has performed as concert soloist with organizations such as The San Antonio Symphony, The Temple Philharmonic Orchestra, The Laredo Philharmonic Orchestra, the Texas Chamber Consort and the Monroe Symphony Orchestra. Her stage career includes appearances with Austin Lyric Opera, Lyric Opera of San Antonio, Southwest Opera and The Gilbert & Sullivan Society of Austin.
Boldin maintains a diverse career as an educator and performer. He has performed at the 44th, 45th and 47th International Horn Symposiums and at numerous regional horn workshops. An active orchestral musician, Boldin holds positions with the Shreveport Symphony Orchestra, Rapides Symphony Orchestra and Monroe Symphony Orchestra.
Seiler has taught master classes and performed as a solo/collaborative pianist in the United States, Europe, Canada, Japan and China, has soloed with orchestras in North Carolina, Illinois and Louisiana, and has recorded for Centaur Records (twice) and MSR Classics. Seiler performs and tours frequently, and has performed at numerous international and national conventions.
Admission to the concert is free. For more information, call the SFA Fine Arts Box Office at (936) 468-6407 or visit www.finearts.sfasu.edu.
January 27, 2016 - NACOGDOCHES, Texas — Stephen F. Austin State University is home to the SFA Charter School, a multifaceted institution serving both the public and university.
The charter school is located on the first floor of the Janice A. Pattillo Early Childhood Research Center. This 120,000-square-foot facility brings under one roof the nationally accredited Early Childhood Laboratory, SFA Charter School and award-winning Department of Elementary Education.
“The Pattillo Early Childhood Research Center is unique in the state of Texas. This facility supports our theory to practice belief — learning to teach effectively occurs in settings of mutual respect, best practices and critical analysis,” said Dr. Judy Abbott, dean of the James I. Perkins College of Education. “Blending the work of a university with the practice of teaching early childhood and elementary children creates a rich environment for learning.”
The SFA Charter School is a free public school with the flexibility to adapt to the educational needs of individual students. Lysa Hagan, SFA Charter School principal, explained the school offers parents another educational choice for their children.
“Our curriculum is based on a constructivist learning environment, and it is different from a more traditional environment you see in other schools,” Hagan said. “We believe a child comes in to any learning opportunity with background knowledge, so our job is to find out what that child already knows related to the subject and then build on that in an individual way. It’s a very active and hands-on learning opportunity.”
It’s the school’s mission to create a learning environment through a constructivist approach utilizing learning centers and an inquiry-based method that supports the student’s development of self-responsibility, autonomy, openness, problem solving and integrity.
“We believe learning is a social activity,” Hagan said. “There is so much for the children to learn from one another, as well as from the teacher.”
Including the lighting, the charter school’s classrooms are different from traditional settings. Hagan explained the rooms do not use overhead lighting, but use indirect lighting and soft music to create a calm and homey atmosphere. Students also sit at tables always facing each other, so they can discuss what they are learning.
“We have really tried to set our classrooms up as a community or family,” Hagan said.
The school instructs children from kindergarten through fifth grade with two classes at each grade level. Students also can participate in physical education, music and art classes. The curriculum follows the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills, which the Texas Education Agency mandates; however, much of the instruction is utilizing innovative research from educational professionals such as Cathy Fosnot, Lucy Calkins and Ellin Keene.
“Charter school teachers and leadership are committed to meeting state requirements while remaining committed to implementing instructional practices based on research focused on deep learning and child development,” Abbott said. “Additionally, the reciprocal professional development opportunities for SFA faculty members, educator preparation candidates, and charter teachers and students contribute to the unique learning opportunities found at the SFA Charter School.”
Currently, there are about 245 enrolled students. Each year, the school offers an application lottery. Pursuant to charter school law in Texas, the SFA Charter School offers an equal opportunity for any child to attend. Applicants are entered into a lottery where a third party, who is not connected to the school, selects the names. The application process for the 2016-17 school year is underway, and applications are available in the SFA Charter School Office. Applications must be returned by 5:30 p.m. Friday, Jan. 29.
The SFA Charter School and Early Childhood Lab also serve more than 2,000 SFA students each fall and spring semester. Students from various academic departments at SFA, including kinesiology, psychology, music education, human services and human sciences, utilize the charter school and lab for research and instruction.
SFA’s Department of Elementary Education in the James I. Perkins College of Education collaborates with the charter school. In fact, Hagan said the school’s classes reflect methods the SFA Department of Elementary Education is teaching its university students. SFA students enrolled in the Field Experience II course spend three hours a day, four days a week observing and working with students at the charter school. SFA students teach various lessons and work one-on-one with the children.
“We serve as an environment to support university students and serve as a laboratory setting,” Hagan said. “We feel the SFA students know how they learned in school and have a traditional idea of how to teach. We bring them to the charter school, and the students see an alternative method for educating children.”
Also, there are one to four student teachers assigned to the charter school each semester.
According to Hagan, the SFA Charter School has a track record of success and is a state-of-the-art facility for students and educators.
“We couldn’t do what we do without the university’s support,” Hagan said. “We would not be the school or have the success we have without SFA.”
January 27, 2016 NACOGDOCHES, Texas — Members of the Stephen F. Austin State University Board of Regents approved a new online Master of Science in nursing program within the Richard and Lucille DeWitt School of Nursing during their quarterly meeting Tuesday.
The university is seeking approval from agencies including the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board and the Texas Board of Nursing in preparation to offer the specialized program in spring 2017 to enable students to prepare to become family nurse practitioners.
“This program will help the whole community, as well as the School of Nursing,” said Dr. Sara Bishop, SFA nursing director. “We are already one of the best-known schools of nursing in Texas—our graduation rates are great and our students perform remarkably on their board exams. This program will put us up one more level, and we are so excited about it.”
In their report to the board, SFA nursing administrators said access to healthcare is a growing concern across the nation and in 2012, 132 Texas counties had a shortage of primary-care physicians. The leaders believe this program will connect SFA and Nacogdoches communities through learning opportunities.
“Many of the students will be working with area nurse practitioners, surgeons and radiologists and will be placed in clinical sites where they will receive assistance and training from preceptors,” said Dr. Janice Hensarling, associate professor of nursing, who will be the new MSN coordinator. “We have already received so much support for the community, and our program will focus on the needs of rural East Texas.”
This degree will be offered primarily online with a few on-campus clinical courses. The School of Nursing received a $750,000 grant from the T.L.L. Temple Foundation to create the program, and regents authorized utilizing $250,000 of those funds for a five-year contract that will provide consulting services during the development and implementation of the new degree.
“We could not have gained our momentum if it were not for the support of the T.L.L. Temple Foundation. They gave us a great jump start, and we are most thankful,” Bishop said.
Regents also authorized the SFA administration to submit plans to the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board for a $46.4 million STEM facility. Dr. Danny Gallant, vice president for finance and administration, updated regents on the construction timeline, scheduled to begin Nov. 1, which includes a new planetarium, multi-purpose laboratories, and facilities for computer science, physics, engineering physics and astronomy.
Regents approved a recommendation from the administration to increase tuition from $185.50 to $192 per semester credit hour, as well as lab fees for certain courses, and a $50 fee for international students who take a placement exam to prove English proficiency.
“The university recently completed a strategic planning initiative, and one of the four major goals of the new strategic plan for the university is to recruit and retain high-quality faculty and staff,” Gallant said. “The College and University Professional Association provides data regarding the median salaries of public and private institutions across the country, and we have set a goal for the next fiscal year to bring all qualified employees to 80 percent of the median salary for their respective positions. The availability of funding for future salary increases will be based on budget reallocations, our ability to create efficiencies in areas across campus, and enrollment growth.”
A fixed-rate tuition plan is available to SFA students who choose to pay a set amount for tuition for up to four years of coursework. Regents approved a fixed rate of $196 for students in the fiscal year 2014 cohort, $204 for the fiscal year 2015 cohort, $213 for the fiscal year 2016 cohort, and $215 for the fiscal year 2017 cohort. The fixed rates apply from the point of initial enrollment at a public or private institution for up to 12 semesters, with summer enrollment counting as one semester.
Room and board rates for students living on SFA’s campus will not increase during the coming fiscal year, and regents approved a 2.7 percent increase for food services.
“Our contract uses the percentage increase in the Food and Beverage element of the Consumer Price Index as a benchmark for any rate increases,” said Dr. Steve Westbrook, vice president for university affairs. “Although the benchmark for this year was 3.1 percent, we were able to negotiate with Aramark to reduce the increase to 2.7 percent.”
In other business, regents approved a partnership with a firm that specializes in corporate sponsorships for higher education athletics. The university will pursue a contract with Learfield Sports to increase the number of sponsors advertising on new video boards approved during the regents’ July 2015 meeting.
The university partnered in 2014 with ESPN3 to produce telecasts of all home football, basketball, soccer and volleyball games, and more than 80 SFA students are currently enrolled in a course to participate as members of the camera crew for the productions, which are available for viewing worldwide. Regents approved a ratification of the project budget to fund costs for fiber installation requirements that exceeded project estimates.
Regents approved offering an SFA transition course for community college transfer students. The course will be similar to SFA’s freshman transition course, SFA 101, and will introduce transfer students to life at a four-year university. It will be offered at no cost to participants.
The board approved policy revisions, including a revision of the tobacco-use policy that designates SFA as a tobacco-free campus effective Aug. 22. The use of tobacco and vape products, including cigarettes, cigars, pipes, smokeless tobacco, e-cigarettes, vape pens and other products, is prohibited on all property owned, leased, occupied, or controlled by SFA. The policy applies to all employees, students, university affiliates, contractors and visitors.
Regents ratified $535,888 in additional grant awards allocable to the 2016 fiscal year; the funds are a portion of $6.6 million for the fiscal year. Regents approved the fiscal year 2014-15 annual financial report, acknowledged receipt of the audit report, and approved the SFA Charter School’s audited financial statements.
During the Tuesday meeting, the board approved:
- the ratification of SFA’s energy service performance contracts with Siemens Industry for three phases of an energy-savings project initiated in 2009;
- a contract for a content management system for the university website;
- a restoration and drainage project budget for the Austin and Rusk buildings; and
- the purchase of networking equipment.
Regents approved policy revisions and received updates regarding the university’s branding campaign and redesign of the SFA website. Regents heard reports from the Faculty Senate, the Student Government Association and from Dr. Baker Pattillo, SFA president.
Submitted by Shirley Luna
January 25, 2016 - The Wind Ensemble at Stephen F. Austin State University will present the program “Welcome Home” at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, February 2, in W.M. Turner Auditorium on the SFA campus.
A concert presented at the conclusion of the Wind Ensemble’s annual winter tour, “Welcome Home” contains “something for everyone” and features music from the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries, according to Dr. David Campo, director of the ensemble this spring in the absence of Fred J. Allen, who is on sabbatical. Associate conductor is Dr. Tamey Anglley, and guest conductor is Dr. James Dreiling.
Opening the concert is the Joseph Kreines transcription of Leo Delibes’ “March and Cortege of Bacchus” from the ballet “Sylvia.” Written in 1876, “Sylvia” is based on the Arcadian play “Aminta” by the Italian playwright Torquato Tasso.
“The play celebrates the love story between Aminta and the beautiful nymph Sylvia, who does not return his attentions until a series of events brings the couple together,” explained Campo.
The program features composer Frank Ticheli’s “Wild Nights,” which is based on the Emily Dickenson poem of the same name. About his work, Ticheli says, “Numerous composers have set the words of ‘Wild Nights’ to music, but, to my knowledge, no one has used this wonderfully sensuous poem as the basis for a purely instrumental tone poem. This was my aim, and in so doing I focused most heavily on the lines, ‘Done with the compass/Done with the chart‘ and ‘Rowing in Eden/Ah! The sea!‘ These words suggested the sense of freedom and ecstatic joy that I tried to express in my work.”
The ensemble will perform Eric Whitacre’s “Lux Aurumque.” Translated as “golden light,” the work received its wind band premiere at the 2005 conference of the Texas Music Educator’s Association, and is dedicated to Gary Green, according to Campo.
Also on the program is Ron Nelson’s ‘Sonoran Desert Holiday,” composed in 1994 as part of a series of eight semi-programmatic overtures he refers to as his “travelogues.”
“Although Nelson intends no specific program, the work contains gestures and allusions to night, to sunrise, to Native American and Hispanic influences, to wide open southwestern expanses, and to the remarkable variety of holiday experiences available in this diverse and beautiful part of our country,” Campo said.
The concert will close with Henry Fillmore’s well-known march, “Rolling Thunder.” Fillmore composed this march in 1916 and dedicated it to Ed Hicker, presumably a trombonist, based on the nature of the march. Music historian Norman Smith said, “At the circus or rodeo, ‘Rolling Thunder’ is used to generate excitement. On the concert stage, it’s known as a ‘show-stopper.’”
“After all,” Campo said, “who wants to hear any more music – or read any more program notes – after the ‘Rolling Thunder’ march?”
Tickets are $8 for adults, $6 for seniors and $3 for students and youth. For tickets or more information, call the SFA Fine Arts Box Office at (936) 468-6407 or visit www.finearts.sfasu.edu.
January 20, 2015 NACOGDOCHES, Texas — Stephen F. Austin State University’s NelsonS Rusche College of Business will celebrate its renovated facility with a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 1:30 p.m. Monday, January 25, on the first floor of the R.E. McGee Building on the SFA campus.
The ceremony will recognize the new Mattress Firm Commons, the Marleta Chadwick Student Financial Advisors and the Mark T. Layton Lobby.
The event is open to the public. Dr. Tim Bisping, dean of the Nelson Rusche College of Business, said the ceremony will allow the college to formally thank and recognize several key people who played a vital role in helping advance the college’s mission.
“The renovations to our building and programs we have initiated were purposefully designed to advance our Learn, Launch, Lead strategic focus,” Bisping said. “The Mattress Firm Commons, Marleta Chadwick Student Financial Advisors and the Mark T. Layton Lobby are all essential tools, which will aid us in helping our students excel in their chosen fields.”
The college began its multilevel renovations in summer 2015. Dr. Trey Turner, executive director of development at SFA, said the renovations will provide new areas within the building that facilitate team building and collaboration with other students and faculty members, as well as enhance the overall business-like climate appropriate for a college preparing future business leaders.
The first floor of the McGee Building was transformed to a more business-oriented, professional environment with the addition of updated wall coverings, ceilings, lighting and flooring. The entrance to the dean’s office, east lobby and common area also received a face-lift.
“The renovations offer new experiential learning opportunities, allowing students to gain hands-on experiences in their academic disciplines,” Bisping said. “Students in the Nelson Rusche College of Business will now have additional opportunities to hone their skills and experiences while becoming more accustomed to the professional environment within which they will soon be working.”
On the second floor, various rooms were made more visible and lobby areas were improved. Renovations are still in the works for the third and fourth floor with plans to replace several suites with open-gathering areas.
“A large portion of the renovations was made possible by the generous donations of alumni and friends of SFA. Their contributions played a pivotal role in the launch of this initiative and were key in its completion,” Turner said. “This renovation is another example of the impact generous donors’ support has in building excellence and prestige in our educational offerings, and our university as a whole.”
January 19, 2016 - The Stephen F. Austin State University College of Fine Arts and the Children’s Performing Arts Series will present two performances of “The Lightning Thief” on Friday, February 5.
Also featured during the 2014-2015 children’s series, “The Lightning Thief” was so popular that some audiences missed their chance at seeing the show last year, “so we decided to bring it back,” said Diane Peterson, manager of the SFA Fine Arts Box Office and director of the series.
Presented by Theatreworks USA and adapted from the book by Rick Riordan, “The Lightning Thief” is the story of Percy Jackson, who is about to be kicked out of boarding school ... again. And that’s the least of his troubles. Lately, mythological monsters and the gods of Mount Olympus seem to be walking straight out of the pages of Percy’s Greek mythology textbook and into his life. And worse, he’s angered a few of them. Zeus’s master lightning bolt has been stolen, and Percy is the prime suspect.
“This exciting national touring production is fast-paced and imaginative and targets students in second grade and up,” Peterson said. “‘The Lightning Thief’ is a funny, action-packed musical, and new and returning audiences are eager to see it.”
Performances are at 9:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. in W.M. Turner Auditorium. 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.