By: Bobby E. Mills, PhD
TSU was created to serve the Black community March 3, 1947. In 1973 the 63rd Legislature designated TSU as a Special Purpose Institution of higher learning for urban programming. In 2022, TSU is struggling to maintain its independence and not be placed in a University System. The question is WHY? First and foremost, TSU is too personality driven, rather than policy and procedure driven. Consequently, TSU is plagued by poor quality control performance measures: student recruitment and retention rates, graduation rates, faculty dedication to excellence in achievement, and alumni giving. A university is known by the intellectual capacity and employment capacity of the students they graduate.
TSU does not have a professional tracking system of their graduates, and they need such a system. Unfortunately, TSU does not have an effective professional student recruitment programmatic platform, and they need one. Question: has TSU become an Ebony Tower for a few Black professionals and foreign elites, rather than a holistic community institution building process for the Black community? Effective student services require a quality professional male and female respectively as directors of student services. These professionals should report directly to the Office of the Provost.
Recently, it was publicly reported that TSU laid-off at least (100) middle management level and staff employees. The obvious reason is budgetary: cost saving measures, because of lack of student enrollment. This is not a faculty teaching quality problem. It is a recruitment and registration problem because these entities must work in administrative tandem with each other. TSU needs a specialized community college recruitment program, and a specialized scholarship recruitment program for the top (30) high school graduates across the state.
Unwisely, TSU has hired at-least (12) senior level administrators at a salary level of over 200,000 dollars each. Administrators cannot solve TSU’s educational ills; only faculty and students working together as partners committed to Excellence in Achievement can right the educational ills that are plaguing TSU. Effective Administration is necessary, especially Deans and Department Heads. Every effective university must have a high quality, Provost. Universities and colleges exit for purposes of teaching and learning. Senior level administrators teach no courses. Moreover, Texas State institutions of higher education operating budgets are primarily based upon student enrollment. To meet its operating budgetary obligations TSU needs an enrollment of at least 8,000 students. TSU probably has 6,000 plus enrollment.
Whites have their intellectual “Ivory Towers”, and they can afford the luxury. The Black community cannot afford the luxury of having an elitist “Ebony Tower”, because with Blacks equal is equal, not more or less equal. To transform itself into a first-class institution of higher learning TSU must rededicate, repurpose and expand upon its designated Special Purpose Mission. More importantly, TSU must resist the ego-tripping and demonic forces of self-service, because: “what life do we have if we do not have life together?” Amen.