Author Archives: tamuct

A&M-Central Texas named a “2015 Great College to Work For” by The Chronicle of Higher Education

KILLEEN, TX — Texas A&M University-Central Texas is one of the best colleges in the nation to work for, according to a new survey by The Chronicle of Higher Education.

The results, released today in The Chronicle’s eighth annual report on The Academic Workplace, are based on a survey of 281 colleges and universities.

In all, only 86 of the 281 institutions achieved “Great College to Work For” recognition for specific best practices and policies. Results are reported for small, medium, and large institutions, with A&M-Central Texas included among the small universities.

A&M-Central Texas won honors in two categories this year:

  • Confidence in Senior Leadership
  • Facilities, Workspace, and Security

“We’re blessed with a beautiful new campus on a gorgeous piece of land, but the heart of the university is its students, faculty, and staff, and the commitment they have all made to build an exceptional place to work and study,” said Dr. Marc A. Nigliazzo, President of Texas A&M University-Central Texas.

“This recognition says a lot about the quality of the senior leadership at Texas A&M University-Central Texas, and I applaud Dr. Nigliazzo and his faculty and staff for their commitment to excellence,” said John Sharp, Chancellor of The Texas A&M University System.

The Chronicle is the nation’s most important source of news about colleges and universities.

“The institutions that the Great Colleges program recognizes provide innovative educational experiences – while also offering their employees outstanding workplace experiences – and we are eager to help readers learn more about them,” said Liz McMillen, The Chronicle’s editor.

The survey results are based on a two-part assessment process: an institutional audit that captured demographics and workplace policies from each institution, and a survey administered to faculty, administrators, and professional support staff. The primary factor in deciding whether an institution received recognition was the employee feedback.

To administer the survey and analyze the results, The Chronicle worked with ModernThink LLC, a strategic human capital consulting firm that has conducted numerous “Best Places to Work” programs, surveying hundreds of thousands of employees nationwide.

Great Colleges to Work For is one of the largest and most respected workplace-recognition programs in the country. For more information and to view all the results of the survey, visit The Chronicle’s Web site at


KILLEEN, TX — Texas A&M University-Central Texas is preparing for our annual Graduate Banquet, on our beautiful campus located at 1001 Leadership Place, Killeen, TX 76549. The banquet will commence on Saturday, May 2nd, 2015 from 5:00pm–8:00pm in the Multipurpose Room of Warrior Hall.

This is an opportunity for the business community to learn about the scholarship/research conducted here and to specifically witness the community-driven research our graduate students seek to explore. The banquet honors the successful completion of this research and honors those graduating as distinguished graduate students in fields such as MBA, Educational Psychology, Experimental Psychology and other master’s level disciplines.

Attendance will give you a backstage view of newly graduated master’s honorees and their fields of expertise. For more details on how to ensure you are a part of this great night of honoring mastery, dinner, and entertainment, please call the Office of Research at 254-501-5741.

University Library to host “To Kill A Mockingbird” Screening

KILLEEN, TX — Texas A&M University-Central Texas and the City of Killeen Library invite you to a free screening of the award-winning film “To Kill A Mockingbird,” based on the best-selling novel by Harper Lee. This special screening will be held on campus (1001 Leadership Place, Killeen, TX 76549) Friday, March 27th, 2015 at 7:00pm in the Multipurpose Room of Warrior Hall. For more information about this free community event, call 254-519-5798.

Pathway to Collegiate Athletics & Rugby Club Announcement

KILLEEN, TX — The pathway to collegiate athletics for Texas A&M University-Central Texas was identified on January 22nd, 2015, as the university announced plans to begin club sports in the fall starting with both men’s and women’s rugby. University President Marc A. Nigliazzo briefed an eager crowd that gathered for the announcement in the Bernie Beck Lecture Hall of Founder’s Hall, and highlighted moments in the short, but deeply rooted, community-based history of the institution.

“Here we are again. Gathered to announce yet another milestone in the history of our university,” explained Nigliazzo. “But this announcement is different. We have gathered to light the pathway to collegiate athletics for our Warrior Nation. And that pathway has been lit by the opportunity presented to us through rugby.”

As the President continued with his remarks, occasionally turning the rugby ball that he held in his hands, he described his initial conversation with Central Texas native Daniel Chase, who had a vision to bring rugby to the university. “I remember my first meeting with this passionate [and tall] man. The coach explained to me all of the advantages of having this growing sport on campus and in our community. It seemed like a natural fit!”

Nigliazzo wrapped-up his remarks and tossed the rugby ball to Dr. Tracy Teaff, the university’s Chief Liaison Officer, who has been instrumental bringing this program to life. “Having grown up as the daughter of a football coach, I’m well aware of the positive impact athletics can have. Rugby will bring so many opportunities for our Warrior community that go well beyond the game.”

The audience gave a warm reception, as Teaff introduced Chase as the university’s first Rugby Coach and Athletic Consultant, passing him the rugby ball. “It’s the one sport that’s so cohesive in unity, the only sport I really know, where you try to kill each other and then the home team comes out and feeds the visiting team,” Chase said. “Then you know what you do the next time you see each other? You’re best friends. Rugby’s such a tight-knit community.”

Chase has a rich history with the sport, dating back to his days in the Marine Corps. He plans to bring his extensive experience on the pitch and passion for his community together as he leads the Warrior teams into action this fall. Chase also knows first-hand the opportunities the sport presents in the recruitment of student athletics.

Also in attendance was Killeen Daily Herald journalist Courtney Griffin, who played rugby herself at the University of Texas at Austin. She noted that, “The “game of hooligans played by gentlemen” will be a no-cut, club sport at [Texas] A&M-Central Texas that competes in national tournaments.” The university will offer the opportunity for students at Central Texas College, Temple College, and other partnering institutions who are committed to attending A&M-Central Texas the ability to compete.

Chancellor John Sharp of The Texas A&M University System expressed his enthusiasm for this unique athletic pathway by stating, “Having been a rugby player as a student at Texas A&M University myself, I am excited to welcome rugby as a club sport at A&M-Central Texas.”

As the university moves forward with its plans to play its first home match this fall, training sessions, workshops, and exposition games are already being planned. For more information about this exciting new program, please email


KILLEEN, TX — The entire Texas A&M University-Central Texas family is invited to enjoy live music, Texas style barbeque, student and community booths, giveaways, raffles, inflatables, and an outdoor showing of Marvel’s “Guardians of the Galaxy” at sundown—all free of charge at the University’s Annual Picnic! The festivities begin on campus (1001 Leadership Place, Killeen, TX 76549) at 5:00pm with the movie scheduled to begin around 7:30pm. Families and friends are welcome to attend! For more information, contact Student Engagement at 254-519-5713.

Fulbright Scholar Returns from Cameroon

By Seka Berry

KILLEEN, TX­ — Being a Fulbright scholar and teaching abroad is “like a dream come true,” for Dr. Christopher Thron, mathematics professor at Texas A&M University-Central Texas. He says that making an international impact through education is “something [he’s] had in [his] heart for a long time.” In 1985, not long after he graduated with his first Ph.D. in Mathematics, Thron traveled to China and taught English and Math courses in various universities for a period of five years. Then in 2004, he traveled to Chad, Africa as a Fulbright Professor of Math teaching at the University of N’Djamena. Most recently, Thron returned from a second Fulbright fellowship in Cameroon, a Central African country located on the west coast of the continent, where he spent several months teaching courses on numerical analysis, differential equations and statistics to advanced engineering students. His teaching assignments brought him to the University of Maroua and the University of Ngaoundéré, respectively, as a part of his “Mathematical Modeling With Applications to Sahelian Resource Management” project.

Thron has continually strived to enhance the educational experience of his students both at home and abroad. However, as evidenced by the pictures and first hand accounts published on Thron’s blog,, the university experience in Cameroon differs from one in the United States. For instance, Cameroonians typically attend classes for eight hours a day and have class sizes ranging from 30 to 50 students. University students in Cameroon also know “much less about computers than most middle school students in the U.S.,” which poses a difficulty in the 21st century where technology is essential for economic advancement. In an attempt to address this issue and provide students with reliable yet inexpensive computers, Thron has collected laptops for his students to utilize in the classroom. He gives students the opportunity to purchase these laptops at the end of the semester. Thron believes selling the laptops, rather than just giving them away, promotes a sense of pride and responsibility that charity does not, while allowing him to purchase additional computers for future trips to Cameroon.

Yet another difference between higher education in Cameroon and the United States is that very few opportunities actually exist for those with a degree in Cameroon, which Thron believes to be one of the major factors for the region’s economic situation. Nevertheless, he states, “When I share what I know, I’m making a difference.” Whether the students learn about math in his class is secondary to what he hopes they learn about education. “The important thing you take away from education” he says, “is not the facts that you learn, but the ability to learn.” It is this ability that he hopes will make a difference in the Cameroonian education system; so that countries like the United States outsource various jobs to Cameroon, much like those outsourced to China and India, in the future.

Being a Fulbright Scholar is something Thron considers “a wonderfully enriching experience” that inevitably “changes [one’s] perspective” and thoughts on the world. So much so that this past summer he returned to Cameroon and Chad for an additional three months to continue the work he began as a Fulbright scholar. Presently, Thron is making arrangements to return to the region as early as next year, and is committed to making future trips indefinitely. He hopes that his story will encourage others to commit themselves to working internationally in the future as well.

Warriors Serve the Community

By Seka Berry

KILLEEN, TX­ — Dr. Jeffery Kirk looks out of his window at the Fairway Building, which has since been relocated to Warrior Hall, and simply notes, “there he is,” as the HOP drives by. Most may not understand the significance of Kirk’s observation; however, the addition of multiple routes and HOP stops, including one to and from Founder’s Hall, can be attributed largely to the work of Warriors. Kirk, the Interim Dean of the College of Education and Associate Professor of Psychology and Counseling, works alongside fellow faculty members, Dr. Stephen Vitucci and Dr. William Sakamoto White, to advise a dedicated research team comprised of graduate students. In 2012, they were approached by the Central Texas Council of Governments (COG) to conduct a needs assessment survey for the Regional ground transportation project. This survey assessed the needs of individuals who utilized public transportation in the Killeen area.

The proposal for this service project was officially accepted by Texas A&M University-Central Texas in 2013, which gave the graduate students on Kirk’s research team just five months complete it. By that December, they had collected over 1,700 public transportation surveys from various members of the community. The surveys revealed there was a need for public transportation to and from the University. “I love this type of research,” says Liz Brown, a dedicated member of Kirk’s research team, “you do it and you see something happen!” The HOP can now regularly be seen picking students up and dropping them off in front of Founder’s Hall.

At present, Kirk’s team is assisting the City of Killeen in the preparation of their report for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The report will contain an “Analysis of Impediments to Fair Housing” that will be used to identify specific impediments to fair housing that exist in the area. Once completed, the report will be sent to Washington, D.C. for evaluation. After the completion of this project, the team plans on evaluating Belton Independent School District’s “Tigers Don’t Bully” program and their one-on-one iPad program. Kirk believes the students’ work, “makes a statement about why [the University] is here,” he goes on, “we’re here to help!” These Warriors are always looking to get involved in additional service projects that help the community and provide opportunities for both undergraduate and graduate students to engage in applied research. Their long-term goals include establishing a clearinghouse of information at Texas A&M University-Central Texas that would allow their research to be easily accessed by students and members of community.

Nichter on Nixon: Making a Mark on History

By Seka Berry

KILLEEN, TX­ — As a history professor specializing in 20th century history, Dr. Luke Nichter encourages students to “develop [their] own specialty,” and “make [their] own mark” on whichever topic of study they choose to focus on during their graduate education. This piece of advice has certainly proved fruitful for Nichter who has made a significant mark on the understanding of Nixon era history as a result of his work with the Nixon tapes, which he began over 10 years ago while pursuing his Ph.D. in History at Bowling Green State University.

When Nichter first considered digitizing and transcribing the controversial Nixon tapes, only those who traveled to the National Archives facility in College Park, Maryland had the ability to access them. Even though Nixon was not the first president to record his conversations, he was the first president the American people learned had recorded them, and had the most recorded hours at 3,700 total. And so Nichter traveled to the National Archives, with several willing volunteers in tow, embracing the arduous task of copying countless hours of Nixon’s recordings — all in the name of history. His work, however, did not end after he left the National Archives, as this is when the actual digitizing and transcribing of the recordings began.

Although Nichter could not state just how long he has cumulatively spent on this process over the last decade, he recalls a time when uploading just one digitized recording to his website,, took him several hours. While technology has allowed Nichter to upload digitized files more efficiently over the years, “transcription,” he says, “is a living art form.” Nichter notes that transcripts are “never final” and that he conservatively spends at least eight hours transcribing for every hour of recorded tape. Although the Nixon tapes have proven quite controversial, Nichter says that if all presidents recorded, it would be a true “gift to history” as “one day we’ll know [exactly] what happened” during that time. Nichter’s work has become an invaluable resource to students and historians alike with his website containing “the most complete work of its kind” on the Nixon tapes. It also provides the unique opportunity to delve into the daily life of one of the most infamous presidents to-date right from the comfort of one’s home.

Even after 10 years of dedication to this specific project, Nichter admits that it is still “a work in progress” today and that “it will be for many years” to come as more recordings become available to the public. But as a professor, historian, producer and co-author, publishing an average of one book a year, Nichter admits that much of what he does requires him to have a number of works in progress at any given moment and that he is “constantly putting things into the fire” and “the hardest thing is getting started.” Most recently, Nichter co-authored a book titled “The Nixon Tapes: 1971-1972” alongside Dr. Douglas Brinkley, a New York Times Bestselling Author and Professor of History at Rice University. The book provides a deeper discussion of the recordings and additional transcripts not found on The book’s release was scheduled to coincide with the 40th anniversary of President Nixon’s resignation from office.

Hooray for Hooten!

by Seka Berry

COLLEGE STATION, TX — When the topic of education arises, Dr. Dorleen Hooten’s name will be one of the first mentioned here at Texas A&M­­ University-Central Texas. Not only is Hooten the College of Education’s Certification Officer, she is also an assistant professor and the Spring 2011 recipient of The Texas A&M University System Teaching Excellence Award. Most recently, Hooten became the very first A&M-Central Texas faculty member to be named to the Chancellor’s Academy of Teacher Educators. Only full-time A&M System faculty members who are believed to have made “a significant impact on the preparation of teachers in the field of education” are eligible nominees for this honor.

Hooten’s nomination letter describes her as “a role model to both the students and her fellow faculty members” and comments on her emanative “commitment to the teaching profession and passion for growing future educators.” Hooten was surprised to hear of her nomination, “I was honored that [my team] all thought I was worthy” she says, “every one of them is worthy of the honor that was bestowed upon me!” She was sure to mention that she is “much more effective” at what she does because of the team she works with every day, and strongly urges teachers at any level to remember that “they are not an island,” as it truly does takes a village to teach a student.

While Hooten identifies herself as “a lifelong learner” today, she was not always passionate about education. In fact, as a high school student she admits that she thought she would “never step foot in a school” after her graduation. That all changed when she was offered a working position with the Copperas Cove Independent School District (CCISD) even before she donned her cap and gown, “I was a library aide!” she recalls. Little did Hooten know that her position would prompt her to pursue both a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Education, and to later earn her Ed.D. in Curriculum and Instruction. Hooten spent thirteen years as an elementary school teacher to second, third and fourth grade students within CCISD. She even served as a curriculum specialist for three years before becoming a principal. Today she also holds a superintendent certification. In light of her experiences working in public education, Hooten remains an invaluable resource to students pursuing education-related degrees and certifications at A&M-Central Texas. If there is one person who truly deserves to be named to the Chancellor’s Academy of Teacher Educators it is undeniably Dr. Hooten.

Dr. Garner Named Founding Dean of the College of Business Administration

GALVESTON, TX — The Texas A&M University System Board of Regents appointed Dr. Larry Garner as the founding Dean of the College of Business Administration at Texas A&M University-Central Texas during the board meeting held today in Galveston. This appointment follows a competitive national search process and a formal recommendation by the search committee.

Dr. Garner earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas at Austin, his MS in Human Resources Management from Houston Baptist University, and his BS in Industrial Management from Georgia Institute of Technology. He has 30 years of experience in higher education including serving as Director of Organizational Learning at Concordia University and Director and Interim Dean for the College of Business Administration at Texas A&M University-Central Texas. Larry is also serving as Interim Dean for the College of Arts and Sciences as the College conducts their own national search for a new Dean.

Dr. Garner is active in several professional organizations including  the Federation of Business Disciplines where he served as President (2012-2013), General Program Chair (2011-2012) and Vice President (2010-2012), and the Southwest Academy of Management where he served as President (2008-2009).  Dr. Garner has a distinguished career in the United States Air Force where he served as a fighter pilot, flight instructor and  Chief of Academic Training.