Vice President for Student Affairs Juan Gonzalez has announced he will step down as an administrator and return to teaching at the University in January so he can work closely with more students.

Gonzalez said he aimed to support students and organizations and provide them with resources to host events on campus. He has worked in student affairs for 21 years at five universities, including six years at UT.

“A big part of student affairs is to make students’ aspirations, dreams and goals come to life,” Gonzalez said. “Administrators become much better staff members if we listen to our students intensely because we always can improve our programs
and services.”

As an administrator, Gonzalez said he worked with students to brainstorm ideas for programs that would improve campus life such as bringing distinguished speakers to the University and creating new resources like the Student Activity Center.

“When I was going to graduate school, I desperately needed housing assistance, financial aid assistance and academic tutorials,” Gonzalez said. “A large portion of my success is directly attributable to the programs I discovered through student affairs. I’m passionate about providing those same resources to students at the University.”

Gonzalez said many campus facilities are primarily focused on fostering academic success, but it is important to provide services that benefit other aspects of student life. He said he is proud the Student Activity Center now exists to better accommodate students.

“The Texas Union was much too small to serve all the needs of our students,” he said. “Students needed another living room for themselves, a place to rest, hang out and have their own events. The resources at the Student Activity Center were planned by students to meet their needs, and it also provides them with an opportunity to learn to run these facilities.”

Gonzalez said he will remain active in the UT community when he returns to lecturing in the College of Education.

“I want to improve the profession by training young professionals,” he said. “I’m invested in perfection, and I want to expand my reach of influence.”

President William Powers Jr. said in a press release that Gonzalez’s initiatives have improved the college experience for UT students.

“His service as vice president has been marked by a steadfast commitment to putting our students first, and I am delighted he will remain in the Longhorn family, sharing his wisdom and expertise with our students,” Powers said.

Student Government president Natalie Butler said she has worked with Gonzalez on several projects for student activities and organizations. She said she hopes Gonzalez will help with the search process for future student affairs administrators to continue his vision for improving campus life.

“I think of all different areas of campus, student affairs really has its finger on the pulse of the student body,” Butler said. “I think more student input is always a good thing, and it’s something Student Government is always working on.” 

Texas A&M’s medical school accepted more applicants for the class entering next year than it has room for, said an A&M administrator.

Thomas Shomaker, dean of A&M’s College of Medicine, said 250 students accepted offers to the school, which is accredited for a class size of 170 students.

He said the school will accept volunteers from the class to defer until next year and will offer the volunteers a scholarship worth just more than $6,500 — about 60 percent of tuition costs for one year. So far, 10 students have deferred or accepted offers elsewhere. In addition to deferment, the school will offer preferred or guaranteed admissions into other medical research or cross-discipline programs it offers.

Shomaker said the school will assign mandatory deferments to bring the class down to 170 on April 1. He said they will assign the deferments on that deadline to resolve the issue before it interrupts students’ financial and housing plans for next year.

Because of the guessing game medical schools have to play when deciding how many acceptance offers to extend, A&M is not alone in dealing with over-admissions, Shomaker said.

“You’re always in a position of trying to predict how many students are going to accept your offer of admission and sometimes you get it right, and sometimes you’re off,” Shomaker said.

He said A&M has historically had to accept just under three students for every one who decides to attend the school. This year, he said, every two offers yielded an acceptance. He said the school built new campus facilities in Round Rock and College Station for this year, which may have contributed to the increased interest in the school.

In Texas, the eight public medical schools all participate in an application program called Texas Medical and Dental Schools Application Service. The program matches applicants with medical schools based on their qualifications and the schools make their final selections by Feb. 1. Schools can make pre-match offers to applicants through December of the previous year.

David Jones, associate dean of admissions at the UT Health Science Center in San Antonio, said medical schools’ dependence on historical data means they have to be conservative when guessing how many offers to make before the match date.

Last academic year, the UT Medical Branch at Galveston had a similar admission problem to the one A&M faces now. UTMB spokeswoman Molly Dannenmaier said the school adjusted the number of offers it made because it expected fewer responses because of the damage done to the area by Hurricane Ike.