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.
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.
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.
Program 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.
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.
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.
Pictured: 2014 McNair Scholar Natalie Pattillo and 2012 McNair Scholar Joseph Rosco
Read more about student achievements in the McNair Scholars Program:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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)
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.
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.