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Outgoing and incoming presidents lauded with accolades, standing ovation

UTPB+outgoing+president+%28last+day+August+31%29+Dr.+David+Watts+welcomed+incoming+President+Dr.+Sandra+K.+Woodley+at+the+Faculty+Assembly+on+May+12.+
UTPB outgoing president (last day August 31) Dr. David Watts welcomed incoming President Dr. Sandra K. Woodley at the Faculty Assembly on May 12.

UTPB outgoing president (last day August 31) Dr. David Watts welcomed incoming President Dr. Sandra K. Woodley at the Faculty Assembly on May 12.

Jessica Garrett

Jessica Garrett

UTPB outgoing president (last day August 31) Dr. David Watts welcomed incoming President Dr. Sandra K. Woodley at the Faculty Assembly on May 12.

Dr. Myra Salcedo, Guest Writer when the entire staff is out for finals and final projects

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James “Zero” Eldridge presented a Faculty Senate slideshow riddled with superheroes, jokes, and wit on May 12.

Dear Folks,

Most of the Mesa Journal students are completing final semester projects today. Thus, steps in the advisor.

The running joke throughout The University of Texas of the Permian Basin’s Faculty Senate presentation by the great on-campus wit James “Zero” Eldridge (Professor in the Department of Kinesiology) emulated that outgoing President Dr. David Watts frequently expressed his mission statement of “grow, grow, grow.” This mission was heartedly applauded by the audience.

Many moons ago, when I was UTPB Public Information Officer, I was promised that if the University grew to an enrollment of 3,000 students, my workload would lighten. Having lived in the Permian Basin since 1982, I doubted this could possibly happen and went off to earn a Ph.D. in Rhetoric and Composition at The University of Texas at Arlington. (This story has now evolved into an opinion piece). My great purpose was to return to UTPB and try to “lift’ students up to the point of realizing the goal of 3,000 students. I came back to UTPB in 2012 while completing my dissertation and taught a class or two at a time until I completed my doctorate in 2014. I was already astounded at the growth of the campus–construction wise and enrollment-wise. UTPB was transformed. Where there were once empty courtyards and hallways, now I had to navigate books “on wheels” through a crush of students and endure a “(two-three elevator wait, ahem). But, these are exciting times. This morning, Dr. Watts, faced to the back of the room from faculty and struggled into an orange T-shirt over his button-down white dress shirt and refaced the audience. His shirt read: “7,000 students” and “When pigs fly.” Then he stated that “Pigs do Fly” as Fall registration is just a sneeze under 7,000 students.  Indeed, pigs did fly and Falcons fly. In fact, my late son wrote the words: “Education is the key, at UTPB/Open the door/’Cause I want to be more/Where Falcons Soar!”

In addition, there was a great buzz as faculty waited to meet the incoming president of UTPB, Dr. Sandra K. Woodley for the first time. She came out and immediately connected with the audience by being personable and friendly, noting that “presidential speeches are boring.” She thanked Dr. Watts for his “care and commitment to UTPB” over the years. Dr. Woodley then began entertaining questions from the audience and answered them “dead on” without avoiding any hardball issues including the need for “balance between online classes and those face-to-face,” resources to fuel success, long-term approaches to business processes and objectives that did not necessarily include the concept that students (some with children, full-time jobs, and financial challenges) should all be subject to graduating in four years as an indicator of success.

Woodley’s evident knowledge of commitment, strategic business practices and more was taken to heart by faculty. Watts’ mantra of “grow, grow, grow” against a tide of apathy won the day. The university is still challenged with proposed budget cuts, but the faculty was united today. That was evident when the standing ovation occurred for Watts, Woodley, and Eldridge.

I may be a sap, but I explained to colleagues that the tears streaming down my face were due to allergies. Sometimes it is the faculty who persevere and do their best, and the support that they get from administrators AND students that sustain them, despite constant outside budget cuts. Sometimes it is the students who make us “want to be more/because Falcons soar.”

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Outgoing and incoming presidents lauded with accolades, standing ovation