NACOGDOCHES — During its two-day quarterly meeting, the Stephen F. Austin State University Board of Regents selected Dr. Steve Westbrook to serve as 10th president until his retirement in May. The board also announced a fiscal year 2023 mid-year salary increase for university employees.
Westbrook selected as 10th president
The board unanimously voted to remove “interim” from Westbrook’s title of interim president so he may serve as the official 10th president of SFA until his retirement May 31. Though Westbrook is not a candidate for the 11th president’s position, the board makes this gesture in recognition of the unwavering commitment he has shown to the university for more than 40 years.
Westbrook’s first role at the university was as a program advisor in SFA’s University Center in 1981. He would later serve 13 years as vice president of university affairs and multiple terms as interim and acting president.
“Dr. Westbrook has led SFA during two critical times at this institution,” said Karen Gantt, board chair. “When Dr. [Baker] Pattillo fell ill and later passed, and when we recently conducted the system affiliation evaluation process.
“We are grateful to you for your services at SFA,” Gantt continued. “You have given so much to this institution. Your personal sacrifice has benefited SFA, and our history at this institution needs to reflect you being a president.”
This selection requires a 21-day waiting period and another board meeting to make it official. Also, the recommendation does not change the university’s search for a new president that is underway. The chairman of The University of Texas System Board of Regents will take actions to appoint a presidential search committee for SFA soon. The Regents Rule for search logistics for presidential selection is at utsystem.edu/board-of-
Employees to receive 6% raise
The administration proposed, and the board approved, a 6% cost of living base salary adjustment for employees who are eligible as of Jan. 15. It will be effective for SFA service beginning Feb. 1 and will be paid beginning March 1.
“One of the things our board asked us to do as soon as they voted to affiliate with The University of Texas System was to propose an increase to employee compensation that could be implemented as quickly as possible,” Westbrook said. “Our proposal addresses compensation across the board and included as many faculty and staff categories as possible.”
“There will be more work on this in the future,” Westbrook added. “But the idea was to do something now, within this fiscal year, that will impact our employees as soon as possible.”
The salary increase will be funded this fiscal year by SFA reserve funds and will be supported in future years by funds promised by the UT System.
Other board actions
Regents also acknowledged receipt of the audit services report and approved:
· curriculum changes
· grant awards totaling $7,143,511 for fiscal year 2023
· policy revisions
· and the minutes of previous meetings.
Regents heard general presidential, faculty, staff and student reports from Westbrook; Dr. Chris McKenna, chair of the Faculty Senate; Alison Reed, chair of the Staff Council; and Madison Gartman and Nathan Lyons, Student Government Association president and communications director, respectively.
For more information, visit sfasu.edu/regents.
Cutline: Dr. Steve Westbrook, SFA president-elect, receives a standing ovation from the SFA Board of Regents and attendees at Sunday’s portion of the two-day board meeting. The board unanimously recommended Westbrook be named 10th president of SFA until he retires in May.
Photo by Hardy Meredith.