: a new idea, device, or method
: the act or process of introducing new ideas, devices, or methods
—Merriam-Webster Dictionary app for iPhone
Since its inception in 2004, the Common Experience has presented an academic theme each year at Texas State University. Events and activities have expanded far beyond the experiences of first-year students; the initiative has extended its impact across divisions — and to all levels — through cooperation and collaboration among students, faculty, staff, administration, and members of the community. The sustained success of the Common Experience has made Texas State a national leader in first-year experience (FYE) approaches and campus-wide collaborations.
The key to this sustained success: Innovation.
Contributors to the Common Experience — from theme developers to event planners to classroom instructors and the students themselves — have been innovative in their approaches to each theme. And while collaborators often look back for ideas, they always generate new concepts and goals and outcomes, moving forward. When the ideas have been most engaging, students have carried the conversation forward themselves, proud of their experiences and their university.
During the same time that the Common Experience has grown and evolved, Texas State as a whole has expanded tremendously. Total enrollment has increased from 29,105 in Fall 2008 to 38,694 in Fall 2017. The university has earned designations as both a Hispanic-Serving Institution (HSI) and an Emerging Research University (ERU). Construction has often seemed nonstop, and yet at the same time, divisions and departments have had to find new ways to more efficiently utilize existing programs and spaces as the institution’s reputation and expectations have risen.
The shared solution: Innovation.
Now Texas State prepares to embark on a new journey toward national prominence, another milestone of which students, alumni, faculty, staff, administration, and community members can be proud.
The force powering this undertaking: Innovation.