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New Texas A&M University-Texarkana president outlines goals for school

by Sharda James | September 1, 2023 at 1:18 a.m.
Dr. Ross Alexander, shown, has been named the newest president at Texas A&M University-Texarkana. On Thursday, Aug. 31, 2023, TAMUT held a roundtable for local media to meet, greet and ask questions of Alexander on his plans and goals for the university. (Photo courtesy of John Bunch, TAMUT)

TEXARKANA, Texas — Texas A&M University-Texarkana on Thursday hosted a media roundtable to introduce the school’s new president, Dr. Ross Alexander.

Alexander is TAMUT’s fifth president, succeeding Dr. Emily Cutrer, who recently retired after 10 years of service to the university. Alexander started by introducing himself.

“I am incredibly excited and privileged to be in this role and for my family to be in the Texarkana community,” he said.

He said there were many reasons why he was drawn to TAMUT, including infrastructure and the potential for growth and evolution.

“Another thing that struck me about this community is also the degree to which the community supports this university,” he said.

Alexander said TAMUT will be the first choice for every type of learning goal, whether that’s a certain certificate, bachelor’s, master’s or doctoral degree.

Alexander plans to align the school’s programs with community and workforce needs. There will be heavy emphasis on technology, health professions, engineering and social services, considering those are the fields with emerging jobs.

Some of the new majors TAMUT plans to offer students are civil engineering and health administration, and the school will continue to capitalize on computer science programs, information technology and more, Alexander said.

“These majors are a direct response to community and employers’ need in the region,” he said.

He spoke about a few upcoming capital projects on campus.

“We have gotten nearly $50 million from the state — for which are very thankful — to build a business, engineering, and technology building,” he said. The project is in the design phase and on schedule to open in early 2026.

The president is excited to focus on student, faculty and community needs at the TAMUT campus. This year, his goal is student success, including increasing graduation rates, improving retention rates and providing a great first-year student experience both on and off campus.

“We are going to bring the campus and community together by bringing the community to the campus. … We have to continue to grow this university and increase enrollment and grow in the innovative new ways. We will be pursuing a strategic, diversified enrollment growth plan, and we will be the institution of first choice for on-campus, online, international and adult students,” he said.

Alexander has plans to expand the athletic department and wants to give students more to do outside the classroom on campus. Expanding partnerships with larger employers in Texarkana is on the plan sheet, as well.

Alexander comes with an extensive resume that includes his time in higher education. He previously served six years as provost and executive vice president for academic affairs at the University of North Alabama, according to his biography on TAMUT’s website.

Alexander is a broadly trained political scientist and is still an active classroom teacher for both graduate and undergraduate students, according to the site. Over the past 25 years, Alexander has taught state and local government, public budgeting and finance, public human resources management, and other courses.

Alexander holds a bachelor’s degree in political science and history from Beloit College, a master’s in public administration from Arizona State University, and a Ph.D. in political science from Northern Illinois University. He attended Harvard University, where he received a certificate in management and leadership in education.

Alexander spoke about mentors and others he has had the opportunity to look up to.

“We have privilege in the A&M system. There are universities that are like TAMUT,” he said. “Some a little larger, so I’m surrounded by some of the best talent and leadership in the country.”

Alexander is married to his wife, Lilia, and a father of three children, Victoria, Madelaine and Ross Jr.


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