Behavioral & Social Sciences

Student Achievement at SRSU

CommencementNew Student Convocation



The mission of Sul Ross State University is to ensure that graduates demonstrate the critical thinking skills, oral and written communication skills, and quantitative literacy that will be required for them to become effective leaders.

Graduates will possess the in-depth knowledge necessary to either enter professions that are related to their areas of specialization, to achieve advanced levels of professional development, or to enter and successfully complete graduate programs of study.

As part of their education, students will develop qualities of good citizenship, qualities which include an appreciation for and commitment to performing their work conscientiously; the ability to recognize, respect, and understand cultural diversity; and the ability to recognize the implications of what they believe. Most importantly, they will acquire the skills and techniques that enable them to engage in self-learning and a spirit of intellectual curiosity leading to independent and purposeful life-long learning.


Sul Ross State University’s Strategic Plan for 2014-2018 outlines several goals related to student success, including:

  • Increasing retention and graduation rates,

  • Promoting programs that capitalize on SRSU’s strengths and that address workforce needs, and

  • Promoting academic excellence.

The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB) also sets target goals for graduation rates, through the Closing the Gaps initiative. According to the THECB, the target for Bachelor’s degree awards for 2015 is 250 degrees for SRSU-Alpine and 185 degrees for SRSU-Rio Grande College.

Academic programs, committees, and student services at SRSU also set specific goals related to student achievement. For example, programs like Student Support Services, the McNair Scholars Program set targets for retention rates, graduation rates, and graduate school placement rates for students who participate in their programs. Additionally, academic programs in the Department of Education evaluate student achievement on state certification programs and licensure exams.

Finally, the Strategic Enrollment Management Steering Committee sets targets for retention and graduation rates. The Committee has set the following targets:

  • 1-Year Persistence Rates for first-time-in-college students: 54%
  • 2-Year Persistance Rates for first-time-in-college students: 37%
  • 6-Year Graduation Rates for first-time-in-college students: 32%

Student Achievement Highlights

To evaluate student achievement, Sul Ross State University reviews graduate school placement, job placement, licensure/certification passage, student learning, graduation rates, retention rates, and course completion rates.


Graduation and Retention Rates

The first indicator of student achievement is student persistence and graduation. In 2014, the 6-year graduation rate for first-time-in-college students at Sul Ross was 30.6%, according to the Texas Higher Education Accountability System. This represents a 6.5% increase over graduation rates in 2000. Additionally, in 2014, the 1-year persistence rate was 49.8% (for students entering in Fall 2013); the 2-year persistence rate was 34.3% (for students entering in Fall 2012), according to the THECB Online Institutional Resume.

Persistence Rates at SRSU-AlpineGraduation Rates at SRSU-Alpine

Data Sources: Texas Higher Education Accountability System and THECB Online Institutional Resumes 

Programs such as Student Support Services, the Graduate Student Center, RGC Student Services, and the Lobo Den Freshmen Center provide students with advising, orientations, and mentoring, in order to promote retention and graduation.

SSS Play FairProgram Highlights: Student Support Services
Student Support Services (SSS) works to increase academic performance, retention, and graduation rates, through academic advising, career/major counseling, personal support, classroom instruction, academic workshops, tutoring, financial aid counseling, graduate admission guidance and social/cultural activities. On average, 160 undergraduate students participate in SSS programs. In 2014, 82% of students in SSS were retained, and 45% graduated. These high graduation and retention rates for students in SSS reflects long-term success in this program.


Pictured: Kelly Lara and Judith Loya, during a 
Student Student Support Services graduate school
information trip in Lubbock, Texas.


Data Source: Student Support Services Annual Performance Report 

Graduate School Placement Rates

Another key indicator of student success at SRSU is whether baccalaureate graduates enroll in graduate-level programs or professional schools. In 2013, 12.4% of baccalaureate graduates from SRSU-Alpine and 4.6% of graduates from SRSU-Rio Grande College were enrolled in graduate or professional school programs in Texas by the year after graduation.

Graduate School Placement--AlpineGraduate School Placement--RGC

Data Source: THECB Accountability Reports 


Program Highlights: The McNair Scholars Program                                                                 

The McNair Scholars Program is designed to encourage first generation, low-income students and minority undergraduates to consider careers in college teaching as well as prepare for doctoral study.  Students who participate are provided with research opportunities and faculty mentors.  A national program offered at numerous universities throughout the United States, The Ronald E. McNair Postbaccalaureate Achievement Program was named in honor of the astronaut who died in the 1986 space-shuttle explosion.  Established at Sul Ross in November 2007, the McNair Scholars Program is funded through the Department of Education’s TRIO programs and has successfully provided students with the academic skills required for acceptance and retention in graduate school.

Pictured: Sixteen students who made oral and poster presentations at
the 7th Annual McNair-Tafoya Symposium on November 5, 2014.
(Photo by Susanna Mendez) 

Data from 2012 to the present shows that among Sul Ross’s McNair Scholars:

  • 94% completed research or other scholarly activity;

  • 100% of seniors attained a bachelor’s degree;

  • 83% of those who attained their bachelor’s degree enrolled in graduate school by the fall semester of the next academic year; and

  • 100% who were first year graduate students continued to be enrolled in a graduate program in the fall semester of the next academic year.

McNair Student Natalie Patillo

Pictured: 2014 McNair Scholar Natalie Pattillo and 2012 McNair Scholar Joseph Rosco

 Read more about student achievements in the McNair Scholars Program:





Job Placement Rates

The next important indicator of student success at SRSU is whether graduates find employment after graduation. In 2013, 74% of graduates from SRSU-Alpine and 85% of graduates from SRSU-Rio Grande College had achieved gainful employment during the fourth quarter of the year after graduation.

Data Source: Texas Higher Education Data 


Program Highlights: Programs that Prepare Students for Employment
In 2013, 72% of graduates from public universities in Texas found gainful employment within the fourth quarter of the year after graduation. The job placement rates at SRSU-Alpine and SRSU-RGC were higher than the statewide average. Additionally, many degree programs at Sul Ross State University produced job placement rates significantly higher than the statewide average.

Data Source: Texas Higher Education Data 

Additionally, programs such as Career ServicesStudent Support Services, and the Graduate Student Center help to prepare students with career counseling, internship opportunities, resume building, and mentoring.

LVN studentsLicensure and Certification Exams

An additional indicator of student achievement at SRSU is success on licensure and certification exams. In 2013, the pass rate for teacher certification exams was 79% for education students at SRSU-Alpine and 100% for education students at SRSU-RGC.

In 2013 and 2014, 100% of the students in the Licensed Vocational Nursing program passed the National Council Licensure Exam-Practical Nurse exam.




Teacher Certification Pass Rates--AlpineTeacher Certification Pass Rates--RGC

Data Source: Institutional Resumes and Texas Education Agency Consumer Information about Educator Preparation Programs


Student Learning

A final indicator of student achievement is student learning. In 2010 and 2013, SRSU administered the College Learning Assessment (CLA) to incoming freshmen and graduating seniors. The CLA is a nationally administered standardized test that measures students’ critical thinking skills. It includes a two-part analytic writing task, in which students must make an argument and critique an argument, as well as a performance task, in which students use real-life scenarios to analyze written material and create a response to a problem. Additionally, the CLA results take into account students’ SAT/ACT scores. The results are presented as value-added scores, which compare improvement in scores between the students’ first year and senior years with gains that would be expected from students with similar SAT/ACT scores at comparable universities. According to these results, Sul Ross scored in the 88th percentile for value added in 2008-2009 and the 64th percentile in 2012-2013.

CLA Results

Data Source: CLA Results 


Process for Evaluating Measures of Student Success

Sul Ross State University evaluates measures of student achievement in response to SACSCOC Standard FR 4.1. Additional data related to student achievement is available through the webpage for the SRSU Office of Institutional Research and Effectiveness.

Pictured at top of page (left to right): Students during commencement ceremony at Rio Grande College; Sul Ross Class of 2018 at the 2014 New Student Convocation (Photo by Cheryl Zinsmeyer); Sadie Sacra and Ryan Hoffer, the 2014 Woman and Man of the Year (Photo by Susanna Mendez)

Degree Plan for MA in Political Science

The Master of Arts in Political Science is designed to serve the needs of students who are interested in teaching and research at the college level, who are preparing for political or administrative careers in public or governmental service, or who are preparing for careers in secondary education.

Non-thesis students must complete 36 semester credit hours of graduate course work consisting of the following:

  • Minimum eighteen semester credit hours of graduate course work in Political Science, including PS 5307.
  • Nine to eighteen semester credit hours of course work from outside of Political Science as advised by major advisor.
  • If less than 18 semester credit hours of course work is used in the sup­porting area from related disciplines, up to nine additional semester credit hours of graduate Political Science course work can be used to bring the total to 36 semester credit hours.

Plus, completion of the comprehensive exam requirements.

Thesis students must complete 30 semester credit hours of graduate course work consisting of the following:

  • Minimum eighteen semester credit hours of graduate course work in Political Science, including PS 5307.
  • Thesis courses, PS 6301 -6302.
  • An additional six semester credit hours of course work from the following:
    • HIST 5308 Seminar in European History
    • HIST 5310 Seminar in American History
    • GBA 5308 Problems in Business Administration
    • or other non-Political Science courses from related disciplines as ad­vised by major advisor.

For information about a MA in Political Science at Sul Ross, contact Dr. David Watson.

Degree Plan for MA in Public Administration

The Master of Arts in Public Administration is designed to meet the needs of individuals currently employed in, or desiring careers in, public service.

The degree requires 36 semester credit hours of coursework, including:

15 SCH in Required Courses:

  • PS 5303 Public Administration Survey
  • PS 5307 Scope and Methods in Social Science
  • PS 5310 Public Budgeting and Finance
  • PS 5311 Intergovernmental Relations
  • PS 5313 Public Policy Analysis

6 SCH Chosen from the Following Courses:

  • PS 5301 Seminar in Comparative Government and Public Policy
  • PS 5302 Seminar in International Relations and Public Policy
  • PS 5315 Local Government Administration
  • PS 5316 Special Topics in Public Administration
  • PS 5317 Seminar in US Government

9 -12 SCH in a Related Discipline

3-6 SCH of Additional Coursework in Political Science, to bring the total SCH to 36.

Plus, completion of the comprehensive exam requirements.

For information about a MA in Public Administration at Sul Ross, contact Dr. David Watson.

Comprehensive Exam for Master's of Public Administration or Political Science

Sul Ross State University

Comprehensive Exam Procedures for
Master of Arts in Public Administration and Master of Arts in Political Science

As part of the degree requirements for the Master of Arts degree in Public Administration or Political Science, each graduate student must pass a comprehensive examination of their coursework.  The exam consists of a take-home written component and an oral component.

Scheduling the Exam

After mid-term of the last semester of the student’s coursework in the MA program, the student should consult with their Public Administration/Political Science advisor to form an exam committee. The committee will be comprised of three Sul Ross State University faculty members. At least two committee members must be from the Public Administration/Political Science faculty.  One member of the committee may be from a related discipline, but it is not required to choose someone from an outside discipline.  The chair of the committee will be the student’s Public Administration/Political Science advisor.  The committee will evaluate the written exam and administer the oral exam.

When the student is ready is schedule the comprehensive exam, the student should complete the scheduling form on page 2 of this document. 

Structure of the Exam

The take-home written exam will consist of three to four essay questions about the student’s coursework. Members of the committee may submit individual questions, or committee members may collaborate to create questions. During the written exam, students can consult course readings, and assignments, as long as all resources are properly cited. The questions for the written exam will be emailed to the student on the day of the exam. Students will have 48 hours to complete the exam.

The oral exam should be conducted approximately two weeks after the written exam. During the oral exam, committee members will ask the student to explain or elaborate upon their answers from the written exam.  Additional questions that were not on the written exam may be included in the oral exam. Students must take the oral exam in person, on the campus of Sul Ross State University in Alpine. However, the committee members may decide, on a case-by-case basis, to allow distance education students to complete the oral exam by phone. The oral exam will last approximately one hour.

Preparing for the Exam

Students can begin preparing for the comprehensive exam by gathering readings and assignments from previous Public Administration/Political Science coursework. Past students have prepared for the comprehensive exam by reviewing assignments, readings, final exams, and research projects from their Public Administration/Political Science coursework.

Comprehensive Exam Scheduling Form

Please complete the form below to arrange your comprehensive exam in Public Administration/Political Science. Submit the completed form Dr. David Watson, no later than 30 days prior to your preferred date for the written exam.

Click here to download the scheduling form.

If you have questions about the comprehensive exam, you can contact Dr. Watson by email or by phone at 432.837-8146.

Associate Professor of Geography and Sociology

Associate Professor of Geography and Sociology
Behavioral & Social Sciences
(432) 837-8150
Fax: (432) 837-8146
Office: LH 306
Address: Sul Ross State University, Alpine, TX 79832

Curator and Lecturer

Curator and Lecturer
Behavioral & Social Sciences
(432) 837-8735
Fax: (432) 837-8146
Office: MOBB
Address: Sul Ross State University, Alpine, TX 79832

Part-Time Lecturer

Part-Time Lecturer
Behavioral & Social Sciences
(432) 837-8162
Fax: (432) 837-8146
Office: LH 202
Address: Sul Ross State University, Alpine, TX 79832

Assistant Professor of Psychology

Assistant Professor of Psychology
Behavioral & Social Sciences
(432) 837-8275
Fax: (432) 837-8146
Office: LH 307
Address: Sul Ross State University, Alpine, TX 79832

Associate Professor of History and Special Assistant to the President

Associate Professor of History and Special Assistant to the President
Behavioral & Social Sciences
(432) 837-8148
Fax: (432) 837-8146
Office: LH 211
Address: Sul Ross State University, Alpine, TX 79832

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