News Archives Jan. 24, 2012

News for Jan. 24, 2012



Dr. Donald Coers, Sul Ross State University Provost and Vice President for Academic and Student Affairs, will retire Jan. 31 after more than 42 years as a professor and administrator at Texas State University System institutions.

Dr. Jimmy Case, Dean of the School of Arts and Sciences, has been appointed interim Provost. A nationwide search will be conducted to find a permanent replacement. Case has served as dean since Jan. 2006 and has been a member of the Sul Ross faculty since 1981.

Coers, who was named interim Provost in June 2010 and Provost in November 2010, was praised for his leadership, particularly in the efforts to restore Sul Ross to full accreditation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS).

"Dr. Coers provided exemplary leadership and expertise in the collaborative effort by Sul Ross faculty, staff and administration to correct deficiencies and meet SACS requirements for full accreditation," said Dr. Ricardo Maestas, Sul Ross President.

"Although he was only at Sul Ross for a short time, he had a profound effect on the university’s academic processes," Maestas said.

Coers came to Sul Ross from Angelo State University, where he served nine years as vice president for Academic Affairs until 2009, then returned to the classroom. He previously served 30 years as an English professor and administrator at Sam Houston State University, Huntsville.

He graduated cum laude from the University of Texas with a bachelor's degree in English in 1963. He received his master's degree (1969) and Ph.D (1974) in English from Texas A&M University.

His academic research has focused on the works of John Steinbeck and Ebenezer Cook, author of "Sot-weed Factor." In 1990 his book, "John Steinbeck as Propagandist," won the University of Alabama Press’ Elizabeth Agee Award for outstanding book on American literature. He received the Burkhardt Award from Ball State University as the outstanding Steinbeck scholar of 1995.

While serving as an ASU administrator, he directed development of academic master plans in 2000 and 2005; led creation of a new College of Nursing and Allied Health, new athletic training program, new Honors program, new division of Academic and Student Affairs and a new Enrollment Management model combining the functions of the offices of the Registrar, Student Financial Aid, and Undergraduate Admissions.

Coers oversaw the implementation of the university-wide major ERP (Enterprise Resource Plan) to integrate totally the academic and administrative IT functions with Banner software. This $6 million initiative (Portico) came in on schedule and under budget.

He also effected major changes in the Carr Scholarship Program, designed to attract top students while serving other strategic goals of overall enrollment and retention.

Case, a native of Amarillo, received an associate of arts degree in social sciences (1968) from Amarillo College; a B.A. in political science and history (1970) from Baylor University, Waco; and M.A. (1973) and Ph.D. (1984) from Texas Tech University, Lubbock.

He previously served as a professor of political science and chair of the Department of Behavioral and Social Sciences. He received the Outstanding Teaching Award in 1987, was a nominee for the Minnie Stevens Piper Award and received the Sponsor of the Year Award several times.

Dr. Christopher Ritzi, associate professor and chair of the Department of Biology, will serve as interim dean of the School of Arts and Sciences.




Compositions by Dr. Donald Callen Freed, Sul Ross State University associate professor of Music, have been accepted for the Composer’s Concert at the South Central regional convention of the College Music Society (CMS).

Freed composed "Six Dream Songs for Voice and Trombone." He and fellow music faculty member Christopher Dobbins will perform the selections March 2 at East Central University, Ada, Okla.

For more information, contact Freed, (432) 837-8216 or




Sul Ross State University and San Antonio College have been awarded $1,147,828 for the first year of a joint project to improve science, technology, engineering and mathematics education.

Adelante Tejas ("Forward Texas"), A Partnership to Improve Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Education, is anticipated to continue through September 2016 and total $2,667,229 for the Sul Ross portion. The total five-year award for Sul Ross and San Antonio College will be $5.5 million. The project is funded through a Department of Education Award.

The project will increase STEM enrollment, retention, transfer and graduation through improved access to instructional resources such as equipment, technology and research experience. The project focuses on the Biological and Physical Sciences.

"The Adelante Tejas project provides resources to strengthen instruction for undergraduate education in science and will give all students who choose Sul Ross a chance to experience the level of research that can be done with high-precision instruments," said Dr. Kevin Urbanczyk, Director of the Rio Grande Research Center and a faculty project lead.

In the first year of the project, Sul Ross will initiate improvement of the Warnock Science Building’s Analytical Lab and acquire a Scanning Electron Microscope. Scanning Electron Microscopes (SEM) enable the viewing of samples with extremely high-resolution and without a loss of depth-of-field. It is estimated that over 50 percent of Sul Ross students will have an opportunity to experience the SEM through their science and other coursework over their academic careers.

In subsequent years, additional scientific instruments, technology and activities which are important to a broad range of scientific study and research will be acquired so that undergraduate students have a top quality educational environment. In addition, the project provides resources to increase the quality and availability of web-enabled courses that are available between Sul Ross and San Antonio College. For more information, contact Leslie Hopper, project director, or (432) 837-8648.