Next phase of campus expansion will encompass more than construction

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    Physical transformations to the university have been a staple of Victor Boschini’s 10 years as chancellor, and with construction on the Intellectual Commons underway, he now has his sights set on shaping how the university’s academic reputation is received nationally.

    Last spring, Boschini outlined four pillars in a plan to help the university gain what he called a "national reputation,” including changing the out-of-state to in-state student ratio to be 40 to 60 percent, raising test scores and enrollment numbers, focusing on scholarships and providing more on-campus living.

    “That’s how you get a national reputation,” Boschini said of the plan.

    Headway has already been made on every goal Boschini set including in terms of the caliber of students admitted to the university. He said that the current pool of applicants have higher test scores, class rankings and GPAs.

    “For the past six years, every freshman class has been the brightest freshman class we’ve ever admitted in the history of the school,” Boschini said.

    Jim Atwood, instructor and assistant to the dean of admissions, commented on the trend saying he has seen improvements in the classroom and in the applicants each year.

    “The students as a whole are stronger and better prepared academically now than they were in the past,” Atwood said. “We want good citizens here. I want to see students here who are academically prepared, who want to be here and have energy.”

    Boschini attributes the increase in academically qualified students to a combination of the university’s upgraded facilities, recruitment efforts focused on the university’s academics and recent athletic successes.

    Other parts of Boschini’s plan that have come to fruition include the expansion of on-campus housing, including two new residence halls set to open next fall in Worth Hills. There are also plans to build a third hall as well as renovate Colby Hall, Boschini said. Boschini has stated before that his ultimate housing goal is to have 100 percent of students live on campus.

    The out-of-state to in-state student ratio has also surpassed Boschini’s original goal – this year, 56 percent of students are from Texas and 44 percent are from out of state.

    The focus on providing scholarships to students who are deserving of a TCU education is another area in which expansion is underway, Atwood said. The university’s most recent capital campaign – The Campaign for TCU – raised over $108 million for scholarships, according to the campaign’s website.

    And the national reputation Boschini is after has already had some success.

    The U.S. News and World Report's annual list of the best national universities had TCU moving up five spots — from No. 97 to No. 92, according to a TCU 360 story from last semester.

    “The fact that we jumped up five places in the rankings pleased me because I see it as a validation for many of the positive initiatives we are making on campus,” Boschini said of the ranking. “It is always nice to be recognized by others, and also always good to be moving up.”