Stephen F. Austin State University

General Information

Governance & Accreditation

By legislative act, a nine-member Board of Regents appointed by the governor and confirmed by the Texas Senate governs Stephen F. Austin State University. Each member serves a six-year term, with three new appointments every two years. This board elects all members of the administration, faculty and professional staff, and sets general policies for the university program.

Stephen F. Austin State University is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, Georgia 30033-4097, and telephone number (404) 679-4501, to award degrees at the bachelor's, master's and doctoral levels.

Colleges and universities in the United States and all over the world recognize credit earned at Stephen F. Austin State University. Numerous programs of study at the university are accredited by specialized accrediting agencies. For accreditation of specific programs of study, see individual college pages in the Academic Units section of this Bulletin.


Board of Regents

Officers of Administration

Alumni Association

Graduate Studies

Ralph W. Steen Library

Deans of Colleges

Student Affairs

University Mission

Mission Statement (approved by the Board of Regents on April 22, 2008)

Stephen F. Austin State University is a comprehensive institution dedicated to excellence in teaching, research, scholarship, creative work and service. Through the personal attention of our faculty and staff, we engage our students in a learner-centered environment and offer opportunities to prepare for the challenges of living in the global community.

In order to accomplish this mission, we will engage in the following strategic initiatives during the next five years:

Strategic Plan 2013: Preparing for the Future (approved by the Board of Regents on July 15, 2008)

Location & History

Every history of Texas must include Nacogdoches. For more than two centuries, it was a pawn in French-Spanish imperial rivalries. As the capital of East Texas, Nacogdoches led in the Texas independence movements and was the seat of three republics before the successful Lone Star Republic. The city, therefore, flies nine flags rather than the traditional six flags.

The university tradition in Nacogdoches dates back to 1845 when the Republic of Texas chartered Nacogdoches University, which closed in 1904. The movement to replace the old university succeeded in 1917 when the state of Texas decided to create a teachers' college "east of the 96th meridian." Nacogdoches won the prize. On September 18, 1923, the founding president, Alton W. Birdwell, opened the college in temporary quarters. The college moved to the present campus, on the homestead of Texas statesman Thomas J. Rusk, in May 1924.

SFA pioneered higher education in East Texas. The first 30 years, while difficult, were years in which the college became a source of regional pride and hope. The state did not fund the Rusk Library Building until 1926 and did not fund any other buildings until after World War II; however, generous donations allowed the college to have a gymnasium and other essential buildings. In the Depression, the East Texas region rallied to support SFA. By the end of Birdwell's presidency, the academic programs were on a solid foundation and were expanding into graduate offerings.

By 1939, SFA was the largest employer in the county. Enrollment, however, plummeted after the outbreak of World War II. Dr. Paul Boynton, named SFA's second president in 1942, faced problems even more dire than the Depression. During the war, Boynton saved the college by recruiting a Women's Auxiliary Army Corps training camp; after the war, SFA met the flood of returning veterans by procuring army surplus buildings for temporary housing and classrooms.

In 1958, Dr. Ralph W. Steen, a highly respected Texas historian, became the third president of SFA. Dr. Steen's 18-year presidency was a time of unprecedented change. Enrollment at SFA climbed from 2,017 to 11,293, and the annual operating budget increased twelvefold, as did the value of the physical plant. Steen brought SFA through the civil rights movement and integration, the free speech and anti-war demonstrations of the Vietnam era, the sexual revolution, and the shift of the student body from a rural to an urban majority. He helped to create a climate in which positive change could occur. Because he believed first-rate citizens should have a first-rate education, he added undergraduate, graduate and doctoral programs and, in 1969, changed the status of the college to "Stephen F. Austin State University," with seven schools and its own Board of Regents.

Dr. William R. Johnson, the fourth president of SFA (1976-1990), faced statewide retrenchments in Texas education. Many problems that faced President Johnson also occupied the attention of the national academic community: new demographics, changing tax structures, competition from regional campuses of flagship universities, rapid turnover in faculty positions, new student and societal expectations, new national priorities and changing funding formulas. Subsequent presidents and interim presidents at SFA have all addressed these concerns: Donald Bowen (1990-1991), William J. Brophy (1991-1992), Dan Angel (1992-1999), Roland Smith (1999-2001), and Tito Guerrero (2001 to 2006). Recognizing the impact that planning could have on the institution's health, Dr. Angel initiated an endowment drive that raised approximately $38 million in donor pledges. During the tenure of Dr. Guerrero, the university secured more than $40 million in gifts and $200 million in extramural funding. Dr. Baker Pattillo joined the university as assistant director of placement and student financial aid in 1966. Subsequently, he was director of placement and student financial aid, dean of student services, vice president for student affairs and vice president for university affairs. He was named president in 2007.


The main campus includes 406 acres, part of the original homestead of Thomas J. Rusk, early Texas patriot and United States senator. In addition, the university maintains a 642-acre agricultural research center for beef, poultry and swine production and an equine center; an 18.7-acre experimental forest in southwestern Nacogdoches County and a 25.3-acre forestry field station on Lake Sam Rayburn.

In an impressive setting of pine trees and natural beauty, the university has some 28 major instructional buildings and numerous student housing options representing an investment of approximately $500 million. In 1999 a new Science Research Center was developed on a 15.8-acre tract of land on Highway 259 approximately five miles from the main campus to support the growing master's programs in biotechnology and environmental science. Recent construction includes four new broiler houses operated by the Center for Applied Poultry Studies and Research, an expanded and renovated press box at Homer Bryce Stadium, a new athletic training facility and a new Human Services Building, which opened in spring 2004.

Construction recently completed, in progress or being designed totals more than $168 million. Lumberjack Lodge, a four-story apartment-style facility that houses approximately 316 students opened in January 2006. A 550-space detached parking garage accommodates students living in the new residential facility. Lumberjack Village, a 610-bed, four-building student housing complex, and a 750-space parking garage were completed in fall 2006. A $30 million student center renovation and expansion was completed in 2007 and features a three-story atrium, a movie theater, a food court and retail shops. A student recreation center opened in 2007. It features a large cardio-fitness and weight area, indoor elevated walking and jogging track, aerobics and dance rooms, climbing rock, leisure pool and spa, glass-backed racquetball courts, outdoor adventure center, and outdoor sand volleyball and basketball courts. SFA celebrated the opening of its new $30.8 million Early Childhood Research Center in July 2009. The new 120,000-square-foot facility brings under one roof the nationally accredited Early Childhood Laboratory, "exemplary" rated University Charter School and award-winning Department of Elementary Education. SFA is the only university in the state of Texas operating both an early childhood laboratory and a charter school in conjunction with educator-preparation programs with a proven track record of success. A gift of property from the family of Richard and Lucille DeWitt made possible a new facility for SFA's School of Nursing, which was dedicated in a ceremony in January of 2010. Construction currently under way includes a 400-bed freshman residence hall where students will have access to tutoring, supplemental classes, staff-led study sessions and a computer lab.

By balancing a program of new construction with one of ongoing renovation of older structures, the institution has created an attractive, modern and functional living and learning environment for its students and a center of intellectual and cultural enhancement for the region.


The Ralph W. Steen Library at Stephen F. Austin State University is the university's primary library and learning resource environment. Steen Library houses almost 1.9 million volumes and subscribes to 59,328 serials (1,930 print serials and 66,422 electronic serials) and more than 200 databases. The majority of the serials collection is available in full-text, online. Steen Library encompasses 245,000 gross square feet, is ADA-compliant, and has a wireless network throughout. The library is open 106 hours per week when classes are in session.

Steen Library is home to the LINC Lab (Library Information and Networking Center), a 135-seat open-access computer laboratory featuring both PC and Macintosh platforms. More than 200 computers are available within the library for open use. Steen Library is home to the Academic Assistance and Resource Center (AARC), a state-of-the-art tutoring center, which is open to all SFA students free of charge. The library also is home to the East Texas Research Center (ETRC), an archive featuring cultural materials indigenous to East Texas, and is a designated federal and state document depository.

The library is a member of TexShare, a Texas State College and University Library Consortium. As a member, the library provides students with free in-house and remote electronic searching of more than100 databases of full-text articles and more than 37,200 e-books. Students can request a TexShare library card, which gives them borrowing privileges when they visit other Texas state college and university libraries.

Campus Computing & Technology

Information Technology Services (ITS) is responsible for maintaining the availability, functionality and security of the university's administrative computer systems, wired and wireless campus network infrastructures, wide-area network communications, private intranet portal, e-mail services and telephone system. ITS also provides computer repair and help desk services for students, faculty, and staff.

ITS is not the only department that supports computing and technology at SFA. Additional campus wide services are provided by two other departments, while laboratories and technology centers in the various schools and colleges offer more specialized support. Collectively, these facilities and services provide students, faculty and staff with a technology-rich educational environment.

The Office of Instructional Technology (OIT) supports faculty and students in the use of instructional technologies to enhance the teaching and learning process. OIT facilitates the integration of technology into instruction in classroom and distance education environments through professional development workshops, consultation and support services for faculty and students. OIT also provides support for all facets of electronically delivered instruction, such as interactive videoconferencing (ITV), and Web-based systems, such as WebCT.

SFA provides all students with robust, personalized software tools and a high-performance network. All students receive both an SFA e-mail account and a private account on mySFA, the university's intranet portal, at the time they apply. Students use mySFA to accept financial aid, register for classes, complete class assignments through WebCT, check grades, vote in campus elections, respond to surveys, gain access to campus e-mail accounts, learn about upcoming activities, participate in campus groups, enter chat sessions, create personal calendars, and read world, national and local news.

All residence hall rooms have high-speed connections to the Internet. SFA also participates in the Internet2 research network, a consortium led by 200-plus universities working in partnership with industry and government to develop and deploy advanced network applications and technologies. In addition, SFA is a founding member of LEARN. By holding a seat on the LEARN board of directors, the university has taken a leadership role in making the latest networking technology available to the state and to researchers at SFA.

The university provides free anti-virus software to all students. Through the Barnes & Noble Bookstore at the University Center, popular Microsoft products such as the Office Suite are available at low cost. The Technical Support Center (TSC), ITS' student technical support facility, is the first line of support for all technology-related questions. Services such as removing viruses from students' workstations are available at no cost. The facility is located at 514 E Austin. Telephone and walk-up service is provided Monday through Friday.

Alumni Association

Organized in 1928, the Stephen F. Austin State University Alumni Association is a non-profit organization dedicated to serving alumni, friends and current students through programs, scholarships and activities that create an attitude of continued loyalty and support.

From its on-campus office, the organization sponsors a number of scholarships and awards. It also maintains the SFA Alumni database, informs alumni of its activities and university events by publishing Sawdust, the official quarterly magazine of the SFA Alumni Association and Stephen F. Austin State University, and other alumni publications; operates the alumni chapter program; sponsors the annual Homecoming; conducts the university's official ring program, and hosts the Big Dip Ceremony where students who participate in the tradition receive their SFA Ring. The association also conducts various activities and events on campus and across the state for alumni and students that create an attitude of continued loyalty and support for the university.

The association also sponsors and advises the SFA Student Foundation Association, a dynamic student organization that builds community-minded student leaders while supporting and promoting SFA through raising leadership scholarship funds, increasing school spirit and building strong relationships between students and alumni. The Student Foundation's events and programs include The Big Switch, Mud Bugs and Mud Balls, Student Foundation Chili Cook-off, Roses for Grads and the SFA Walk of Recognition Brick Program.

All current and former students and SFA friends are encouraged to be active in the Alumni Association through one of the following membership plans: TAG - Tomorrow's Alumni Generation (Student Annual), $25; Annual, $50; Joint Annual, $75; Life, $750; Student Life, $400; Joint Life, $1,000; Senior Life, $500; or Joint Senior Life, $750. Correspondence regarding membership or activities of the organization may be addressed to SFA Alumni Association, P.O. Box 6096, SFA Station; Nacogdoches, TX 75962; telephone (936) 468-3407, or through its website:

Student scholarship applications are available beginning Sept. 1 of each year at, the alumni association's website. Deadline for applying is Feb. 1 of each year.

Office of Development

The Office of Development is all about relationships-discovering them, nurturing them, valuing them. As one of the main divisions of Stephen F. Austin State University, the Office of Development generates external recognition, support and financial resources essential for the university to carry out its mission and to achieve its goals. Working with alumni, parents, friends and the community, the Office of Development broadens the resources available to the university to enhance academic quality and institutional prestige.

The Office of Development brings recognition and resources to the university and works closely with faculty, volunteers and donors to help meet key specific funding needs of the various colleges and programs. In addition, the office staffs the university's general-purpose philanthropic foundation, the SFASU Foundation, Inc.

Public Affairs

The Public Affairs Office promotes better understanding of the university among the campus community, the media and community leaders. News stories regarding university activities and faculty, staff and student achievements are generated and disseminated to news media through the Office of Public Affairs. The office also manages the university's website, produces promotional and informational publications and video presentations, and provides photography services to the university.