Provost says demolishing student center more cost-efficient

Administrators will propose to demolish the Brown-Lupton Student Center to the Board of Trustees, the provost said. Nowell Donovan, provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs, told Faculty Senate members at the meeting Thursday that it would be more expensive and less academically efficient if the building were left for renovations.

“In the long run, renovations will take longer and cost us more, which is an amazing thought,” Donovan said. “It will also create a more beautiful space that will carry into the new the Campus Commons area.”

Although no date has been set, the entire leadership team – a group of campus administrators – plans to discuss the proposal with the trustees in the next few weeks, said Don Mills, vice chancellor of student affairs.

The existing Student Center is 90,000 square feet with 45 percent of the building efficient for academic space. The new Student Center would be 70,000 square feet, but 68 percent of the building would serve as the academic area, Donovan said.

Also at the meeting, Bonnie Melhart, associate provost for academic affairs, presented an update on a study of the status of women at TCU.

Melhart said the idea came from a small group of women faculty members that approached the chancellor and the provost about having the study.

“When we first started talking about this, they were completely behind us and still are,” she said. “They are paying for more than half of the study.”

Donovan said the university needs to be aware of gender perceptions.

“I have, on several occasions, noticed that when people are looking for secretaries they automatically look for women to do the job,” he said. “There are a lot of things that we should be aware of and if action needs to be taken, it will be taken.”

The study would look into negative perceptions such as gender pay inequities, value of research done by women and the ranking of women on campus, Melhart said.

“I am not saying these problems are going on at TCU, but that is why I believe that this study should be done now,” she said.

The results of study will be given in a report, Melhart said, however, not all the informations found will be public and no one would be identified.

“The promise is that there is a team that will put together an action plan for any situations that arise,” she said. “We will still have to wait and see what we find, but I have my ideas.”

Faculty Senate Chair Stuart Youngblood said the study was important to learning more about the university.

“How do you know what you don’t know?” he said. “This is a great way to see what issues are happening around TCU and find where we want to be compared to other universities.”

Other business, such as successful graduation at TCU, was discussed by Mike Scott, director of scholarships and student financial aid, and Cathy Coghlan, assistant director of institutional research, .

Scott said the retention rate has increased from 83 percent to 86 percent during the last three years and the full retention report will be released within the next week.