The Mesquite Online News - Texas A&M University-San Antonio

Interim president devotes time to student concerns, comments

By Gloria Petit/@gloripetit

Now that Texas A&M University-San Antonio achieved independent accreditation, the university is poised to expand. Students are excited to see that growth continue.

While meeting interim president Cynthia Teniente-Matson for the first time at this week’s Main Campus meet and greet, students mostly wanted to know about the future growth of the university. Food services or parking passes weren’t on the minds of students. Rather, questions revolved around how the university will look and operate in the future.

This was Matson’s first opportunity to meet with students in an open environment since she officially began her position on this campus Jan. 12. Matson answered questions from a crowd of more than 30 faculty, staff and students.

For questions she could not readily answer, she was quick to say she didn’t have all the answers and that she would “look into it” focusing on the future of the institution.

Education senior Christian MacDonald shares his frustration about the lack of options for classes and says that most students have to adjust their lives or work around their class schedules. Photo by Monica Lamadrid
Education senior Christian MacDonald shares his frustration on the lack of options for classes and says that most students have to adjust their lives or work around their class schedules. Photo by Monica Lamadrid

“We just went through accreditation as a university, but I think we are on our way to expanding the university,” she said.

Matson assured students that she is on board with two main goals: that colleges and departments from Brooks Campus will relocate to Main Campus, and that students will eventually see more course options.

Matson explained the steps to achieving these goals.

“My absolute goal for the year, as you all may have heard from the popular media, would be the Legislative session in Austin and bringing home the money,” she said.

The science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) building is the first item the university will ask for during the 84th Legislative session. If the university receives requested funding, students at the Brooks City-Base campus will have space at the main campus. Read more information on the Legislative funding request.

“The STEM building would give us the opportunity to move students off the Brooks City-Base campus and bring them over to the main campus,” she added, drawing applause from the students.

 

Extending options for class registration

Among students from the Colleges of Education and Arts & Sciences, course flexibility was a topic of concern.

Education senior Christian MacDonald and education junior Shelby Benzoni, said their frustrations stemmed from academic life at this university.

MacDonald said that education majors must pick their required classes and “they must work their way around class times.”

In agreement, Benzoni said she now takes night classes which eliminates her options to enroll in day classes.

“I like morning classes, but I’m taking all night classes this evening,” she said. “I didn’t see very many options to pick from this semester.”

Matson said the colleges plans to hire more faculty, expanding the number of traditional and online classes.

“I know we have a nontraditional student population,” Matson said. “The online classes would give students the opportunity to work from home, while they are raising their kids or continuing their careers.”

Following the forum, students hurried to take pictures with Matson. Asked for their reactions, some said her transparency surprised them the most.

“I thought her openness and willingness to meet with students was the most surprising thing about her,” said social science senior John Benavides. “I think it’s important to build that foundation with us.”

New Interim President Cynthia Teniente-Matson talked with students Tuesday in a meet and greet sponsored by Student Government Association in the cafeteria. Students asked various questions about university activities, recreational fees and downward expansion. Photo by Monica Lamadrid
New Interim President Cynthia Teniente-Matson talked with students Tuesday in a meet and greet sponsored by Student Government Association in the cafeteria. Students asked various questions about university activities, recreational fees and downward expansion. Photo by Monica Lamadrid

Other students said they regret there were not more students at the event.

“It should have been promoted more,” Benzoni said. “It’s hard for us to take the time to look at the fliers, while we’re focused on school.”

“I think there could have been more students, but I understand why there may have not been that many students in attendance.” Benavidez said. “Being a nontraditional student myself, I know there are other students that are working, taking care of family or cannot make it to the school because of the drive.”

Matson remarked she will remain accessible to students in and out of the office.

“I also want to continue to leave an open door policy with students,” she said. “Students are welcome to stop by my office and say hello.”

Matson also wants students to know that they can connect with her through via her Twitter account as another way to express concerns or comments.

About the Author

Gloria Petit
Gloria Petit
Gloria Petit is managing editor for the Mesquite-News. She is majoring in communications-journalism and recently finished her minor in English. She attended Northwest Vista College, where she received an associate degree in Liberal Arts, prior to transferring to Texas A&M University-San Antonio. Gloria gained an interest for journalism while serving with her high school news broadcast at Southwest High School. Most recently, she served as an editor for the student news organization at Palo Alto College. Gloria hopes to return to graduate school to pursue a master’s degree. Email: GloriaB.Petit@jaguar.tamu.edu

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