By Candace Birkelbach

Killeen Daily Herald

Tarleton State University- Central Texas has named MacGregor Stephenson, associate vice chancellor for academic affairs for the Texas A&M University System, interim executive director of the Killeen university.

Previous executive director John Idoux will take on the role of senior research professor to seek external funds for the university.

University president Dennis McCabe said he hopes to find a permanent executive director by January 2008.

"We would like to find someone sooner but there is no certainty we will be able to find a qualified person right away," McCabe said.

He said a search committee will be assigned the task of finding the new campus leader.

"We will operate a very open search that will invite individuals from outside the Tarleton area," McCabe said.

The committee will be responsible for using various outlets, such as education journals, to find a new executive director, he said. After a pool of applicants is selected, that group will be narrowed down and interviews will then take place.

McCabe said the shift in leadership is partly due to the university's recent gain in additional funds.

Tarleton recently announced its plans to expand educational opportunities with the $8.2 million in additional funding it received from the appropriations bill of the 80th Texas Legislature, signed by Gov. Rick Perry.

"Dr. Idoux asked me for the opportunity to get back into a faculty role and I agreed that he could serve in starting a new initiative to research ways to get external funding," McCabe said.

Stephenson said this shift is a change in leadership for the university because the shift is between two different people who will manage things differently.

"I wanted to focus my efforts in just a few areas to bring a greater benefit to Tarleton," Idoux said about his new role. He will be in charge of assisting faculty in seeking external funds for research and related activities as well as searching for funds himself.

Stephenson's role includes making decisions on fund allocation.

"My main priority is to maintain the best interest of the students and university along with proper allocation of the new funds," Stephenson said.

With those funds, Tarleton is moving forward with plans to build a temporary modular building on the Central Texas College campus. The school has an extreme shortage of classroom space and the current Tarleton building has only one classroom, Idoux said. Stephenson is consulting with staff to find out the ideal classroom-to-office ratio.

Along with the new temporary building proposal, school officials hope to use the funds for a new marketing plan for recruiting students and a needs-assessment program, Stephenson said.

"Our main focus is enrollment because we have to increase our numbers before we can become Texas A&M University-Central Texas," he said.

Tarleton must increase its enrollment to 1,000 full-time students to receive that status and to 1,500 students in order to receive bond money for a permanent facility. The permanent facility is planned for the area near the new airport on Clear Creek Road, off of State Highway 195. Idoux said the tuition revenue bill passed in summer of 2006 allocated $25 million in bonds for the Texas A&M-Central Texas campus.

Contact Candace Birkelbach at or call (254) 501-7553

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