While Texas Wesleyan students, faculty and staff were enjoying their winter break, the campus hardly slowed down.
Over the break, campus renovations were underway, the men and women’s basketball teams experienced several challenges, and a new graduate program was created.
For renovations, improvements were made with electrical, heating and cooling systems, but the most noticeable improvement was with the Sid W. Richardson Center, Brian Franks, executive director of facilities development, operations and emergency services, wrote in an email.
“The exterior improvements to the entrance are 80 percent complete. Landscaping and irrigation will be installed in early spring,” Franks wrote. “Interior improvements are also 80 percent complete. The remaining (interior improvements such as the) pool re-plaster & re-tile, hallway drinking & bottle filling stations, and painting will be completed by early February.”
The renovations are a part of President Frederick Slabach’s 20/20 Vision Strategic Plan, Franks wrote.
Another addition to Wesleyan, as part of the 20/20 plan, is the Doctor of Nursing Practice Program that will start this spring. The goal of the program is to create a learning community that keeps the students engaged and committed to completing the program on time, School of Health Professions Dean Heidi Taylor said.
“The four cornerstones of the program are nurse coaching, business literacy, whole-person holistic care and self-care for the student,” Taylor said.
Taylor said when Slabach was creating the 20/20 plan, it was obvious to him health professions is the direction to go in.
“The health care industry continues to grow,” Taylor said.
All courses are online and the program includes partnering with professionals in the field for more than 1,000 hours. The enrollment numbers have not been released, but they include students in and out of state, Taylor said.
“We exceeded our expectations,” she said.
The first group of students in the program are expected to graduate in December 2020. Taylor said she has heard several students say, “I have found what I was looking for,” once learning what the program was about and comparing it to different schools.
On the athletic side of campus, women’s basketball coach Steven Trachier wrote in an email that the team took some time off for the break, but they returned the day after Christmas for games and practices. This has been a challenging season for the team, he wrote.
“Due to injuries and an unexpected eligibility decision from the national office, we have been forced to play several people out of their natural positions,” Trachier wrote. “We have wings playing post and shooting guards playing the point guard position. This has created serious match-up problems with the teams we face.”
Trachier wrote that he anticipates more challenges to come for the rest of the season.
“Three of the top teams in the nation are in our conference,” he wrote. “We have battled with them, but right now they have a little more gunpowder than we do.”
As for men’s basketball, head coach Brennen Shingleton said the team is doing pretty well, being second in their league with 12-6 overall record. Shingleton said Christmas break gives the team an opportunity to make strides.
“Not all teams do that; good teams do and we got better over Christmas break. It shows,” he said. “We are winning consistently now, and we are approaching practice differently. We needed that. Christmas break worked out for us.”
Right now, the team has several new members, and they are working hard to play right. They are learning how to win, Shingleton said. Because Wesleyan has a history of doing well in basketball, the team plays other schools with high skill levels, and the new players are learning to rise to that level.
“That is a challenge on a daily basis, but we have accepted it and we are doing really well,” he said. “My goal is to play our best basketball in the next couple of weeks.”