The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board named Texas State in January the eighth Emerging Research Institution in Texas. The title granted the university eligibility for state funding through the Texas Research Incentive Program as early as 2014.
The university may experience a change in public perception as the end of the semester brings “the end of the beginning” to a close, as University Presidenttold Texas Tribune.
Provostsaid emerging research status might be the final step in debunking Texas State’s reputation as a “party school.”
“Now, people will look and see we compare very favorably,” Bourgeois said, citing Texas State’s high-ranking slot — fifth — on the list of Texas public university graduation rates.
Bourgeois said being “mentioned in the same breath” as other emerging research institutions such as Texas Tech and the University of Texas-Dallas could influence high school seniors applying for college. University marketing plays a large role in changing public perception of the university, he said.
Enrollment-wise, Texas State is larger than UTD and the University of Texas-San Antonio.
“If we were to speculate, (emerging research status) might affect graduate students’ decisions to apply,” said Michael Heintze, associate vice president for enrollment management.
Heintze said emerging research status could easily be seen as a positive influence toward attracting potential science, engineering and business undergraduates. The Office of Admissions works hard to educate potential students and parents about Texas States’ strengths and the validity of various programs, he said.
“We are taking our place among the best institutions and that says something about the outstanding students who’ve moved through the university,” Heintze said. “Though I’m not sure that you can quantify how ERI status will affect Texas State just yet.”
Joaquin Castro (D-San Antonio), Vice Chair of the Texas House of Representatives Higher Education Committee, said the appropriation committee “has its eye” on emerging research institutions like Texas State. With emerging research status, it is possible that they may become tier-one universities in the future.
Castro said emerging research status would also allow Texas State to contribute to the community in an unprecedented way.
“An incredible synergy can be accomplished between the university, businesses and government, but that cannot be achieved unless you have a certain amount of research going on,” Castro said.
Only three universities in Texas are tier-one research institutions: Texas A&M, UT and the University of Houston.
Castro said it may take anywhere from 5 to 15 years for an emerging research institution to reach tier one.
“For example, UTSA may take 15 to 20 years to become one,” Castro said.