New buildings, academic realignment key focus of Texas A&M comprehensive review

The 130 page report outlines recommendation to improve the university.
Published: Oct. 26, 2021 at 8:38 PM CDT
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COLLEGE STATION, Texas (KBTX) - Texas A&M University released a 130-page comprehensive review report Monday detailing suggestions from dozens of university leaders, along with the thoughts of more than 20,000 students, staff, and alumni.

The review was conducted by MGT Consulting Group, a business management consulting firm based in Tampa, Florida. The agency has conducted similar studies of universities, including Texas State University, Washington State University, the University of Georgia, and the University of British Columbia.

The findings and recommendations outlined in the report examined every aspect of the day-to-day operation on all Texas A&M campuses. Academic realignment is a key focus of the report. MGT summarizes nine key findings they say would further the institution’s goal of being the best university in the country.

MGT recommends Texas A&M combine the College of Liberal Arts, the College of Science, and the College of Geosciences to create a new College of Arts and Sciences. They say merging these programs will increase the College of Arts and Sciences size, making it one of the most extensive, comparable with similar peer institutions. The report also says the merger would be more cost-effective by reducing three administrative college structures into one, allowing those funds to be used elsewhere.

The report also suggests that Texas A&M establish a visual and performing arts school and add new departments in fine arts, drama, dance, music, and other performing arts. They also recommend relocating the Department of Visualization to anchor the new school. MGT says art programs are vital to the success of any university. The report also praises the university for its science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics programs but says strengthening the fine arts program would open Texas A&M up to attracting more students.

Establishing a department of journalism was also recommended by the consulting firm. They say elevating and expanding the existing journalism program will allow the university to increase the media literacy in students. The findings in the report suggest Texas A&M create and expand internship programs for students to learn and interact will local and national journalists, media outlets, and related companies.

MGT suggests elevating and expanding the Bush School of Government and Public Service. The report says Texas A&M can create a greater number of future leaders in public service, thus becoming the nation’s highest-ranked and most visible school of public policy.

The comprehensive review also suggests that the university create a new institute of biological life sciences. This new college will also contain the existing Department of Biology and the Biomedical Sciences program. MGT says moving the biomedical sciences program and biology department will allow easier collaboration between similar programs, making them more efficient.

MGT also proposes that the university libraries be merged into the new College of Arts and Sciences suggested above. They say the merger will create new innovative opportunities for students to conduct research and complete coursework. The report also suggests integrating Information Sciences with academic support services such as tutoring services.

MGT also advised Texas A&M to improve and enhance health-related research. Specific recommendations include reconfiguring the Institute of Biosciences and Technology to achieve a greater focus on advanced research.

The final recommendation in the academic realignment section of the report focuses on restructuring, refocusing, and reassigning the architecture, landscape architecture, and university studies degrees to the College of Architecture and Arts and Sciences. MGT also proposes that the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine construct a new small animal hospital. They say the building of a new small animal hospital would position the veterinary program to become one of the best in the nation.

Dr. Banks said in a statement they want input on this and the many other recommendations detailed in the report.

Today, we are calling on Texas A&M stakeholders to offer input as part of a process to reach our shared goal of positioning this university to be a global leader in academics and research for decades to come. To identify areas of potential improvement, a consulting group was engaged and a review was conducted. The resulting report has been placed online at Input from Texas A&M stakeholders will be accepted over the next two weeks. All perspectives are important and will be considered. I anticipate announcing in December, after careful review of the input, which recommendations will be accepted, rejected, modified or require further study. An implementation oversight committee and working groups will be formed and campus forums will be held. Over the next semester, the implementation oversight committee and working groups will move forward with planning and implementation procedures for complete implementation by Sept. 1, 2022.

Dr. Katherine Banks, Texas A&M University President

Click HERE to read the consultant’s report. Recommendations on academic realignment can be found on pages 24-39 of the report.

Click HERE to provide feedback on the consultant’s report.

The initial story on the comprehensive review can be found HERE.

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