Growth and success rely on concentrated efforts within the context of a reasonable plan that must be considered a “living document,” one subject to periodic review and reasoned changes. To meet the objectives listed above, UTD will need to focus its administrative efforts on the following 8 imperatives:
The University of Texas at Dallas will increase the size of its tenure-track faculty to 800 within the next 10 to 20 years. Its five-year goal is to grow to a minimum of 500 faculty members, and its 10 year goal is a faculty size of at least 600 to 700, or more. It will achieve this growth at a steady rate, measured carefully to build excellence and enhance quality. The growth will include many junior faculty members, but will also include exceptionally distinguished faculty members, such as, chaired professors, Nobel laureates, and elected members of the National Academies. It is important to emphasize that these individuals should fit within the inclusive, transdisciplinary culture of UTD and should serve to help others in the University with their research trajectory. Of course, not all areas receive external funding, and research funding alone is not a sufficient reason to hire anyone. Publication, national recognition, and leadership qualities are critical elements to consider as well as teaching abilities. Young, dynamic faculty with new ideas in Arts and Humanities and in Social Sciences will also be crucial for the University’s success. UTD must recruit individuals who understand and support UTD’s commitment to a multicultural understanding of the demands of a global society, and UTD needs to increase the gender and multicultural diversity among the faculty (as well as the students). UTD must provide adequate salaries and a productive, secure environment for the teaching and research professional faculty who are not tenure track and may be part-time. These individuals will play a vital role as UTD advances to top-tier status.
The size of the student body needs to increase, but not in proportion to the increase in faculty numbers. The University currently has 10,000 FTE students—an additional 5,000 FTE students would bring UTD to 15,000 FTE students, and probably about 19,000 total students. With 15,000 FTE students and 700 faculty members, UTD’s student/faculty ratio would average 21, competitive with leading public universities. Thus, the student body will be increased gradually by 5,000 additional FTE students by vigorously recruiting highly able students locally, nationally, and internationally. This growth will be based upon areas of focused excellence in each and every School and must be commensurate across the University. In making choices regarding admissions, UTD will choose first to sustain or build the quality of its student body first and to add to the FTE total second. The five-year goal is to add 2,000 FTE students. The ten-year goal is to add at least 5,000 FTE students. Highly able students will be actively recruited, particularly in science, mathematics, and engineering. Additionally, recruitment of underrepresented populations will be emphasized so that the student population can more closely mirror the population of the Metroplex. The goal of the University is to have a student body that exhibits not only excellence but is also reflective of the gender and ethnic demographics of Texas. The current mix of about 35% graduate students to 65% undergraduate students may shift slightly toward a higher percentage of undergraduate students, but large changes are not planned. As UTD grows, the University will undoubtedly continue to increase the relative proportion of its full-time students, but UTD will maintain and emphasize its outstanding offerings and welcoming climate for transfer and part-time students. Therefore, in addition to recruiting traditional freshmen, UTD must preserve its long-standing partnerships with the high quality community colleges in the Metroplex, actively embrace those students into our academic community, and make their transition as seamless and advantageous as possible.
Annual research expenditures are increasing steadily and are currently $42M per year. To fulfill its vision, UTD’s research expenditures must increase, probably to $100M or more. The University will increase its research funding to at least $100M over time by hiring new faculty with a strong emphasis on research, by replacing departing faculty with research-active scholars, by aggressively pursuing post-docs, and by building the requisite infrastructure and support structure to support a top-tier research university. The five-year goal is research expenditures in excess of $60M, and its ten-year goal is expenditures exceeding $100M per year. The number of grants being written on campus will need to be significantly increased; UTD cannot continue to rely on the relatively small cadre of individuals who are now having such phenomenal success, nor can UTD expect the success rate of funded proposals to remain as high as it is. Seed money will have to be raised to help researchers launch their projects, and a program will be established across the University to fund for the first year research programs that received positive reviews from outside agencies but were unfunded. The Office of Sponsored Projects will continue to improve its operations and will be more proactive with regard to grant writing.
The University has not placed a sufficient emphasis on communications or telling its story well. All of the nation’s premier universities, public and private, have strong and often very aggressive communications and marketing programs. UTD must reach out to local businesses, industries, and schools and share with them the opportunities available at the University and must make the world aware what is happening at UTD. Additionally, UTD must actively promote its focused areas of excellence and its unique heritage and exceptionally promising future. Therefore, a unified, first-rate marketing and communications effort with a substantial increase in staffing and funding, along with the development and periodic updating of UTD’s communication plan, will be an integral part of UTD’s future operations. High priority will be placed on spreading the word throughout the Metroplex and beyond about student and faculty accomplishments and on continuing to improve UTD’s website to make it user friendly and to maximize its role in marketing and recruitment efforts. Newsletters and other forms of publications will be developed for each School and will be distributed to alumni and other stakeholders both locally and nationally.
UTD will increase its endowment to at least $320M. Because of the institution’s youth, UTD has a relatively small number of graduates in comparison to other top public research universities; UTD must aggressively track its graduates and offer them the opportunity to participate in UTD’s continued growth. Alumni operations, therefore, must be strengthened, and student satisfaction (and the measuring thereof) must be a constant priority. UTD will increase the percentage of alumni who participate in annual giving to a goal of 15%, a rate that is competitive with leading public research universities. The five year goal is a participation rate of 7%, and the ten-year goal is a participation rate of 11%. In addition, UTD will add $100M in total giving within 3 years and will work to achieve an aggressive goal of $150M within five years. During the next 3 years, UTD will assess its capacity for successfully completing a comprehensive campaign that will continue the aggressive growth of the University’s financial resources To accomplish these goals, UTD will build a culture that supports and encourages giving among students, alumni, faculty, philanthropists, regional companies, and other stakeholders. The administration will work with the deans and others to make the appropriate institutional changes and to raise the necessary funds, with a top priority on meeting UTD’s fundraising goals.
Graduate education is the point of true distinction among the nation’s premier universities. The University will increase the number of Ph.D.s granted to 300 per year (200 within five years) while maintaining high admission standards. This increase will require additional resources, including graduate student fellowships and enhanced research infrastructure. Additionally, graduate student recruitment and the acceptance process will be streamlined, and more faculty will become actively involved in the recruitment process, from writing to colleagues to visiting campuses to recruit. High priority will be placed on recruiting highly able students, and recruitment of underrepresented populations (for example, women in engineering and Hispanics in the hard sciences) will be vigorously pursued. Mentoring programs will be established to facilitate a smooth transition into graduate training and to stimulate additional research.
UTD has a responsibility to see that its students graduate in a timely manner, and the University needs to develop a culture where both faculty and students believe that if the students are good enough to get into UTD, they are good enough to stay in the University. The current graduation rates for UTD—30% - 4 years, 51% - 5 year, and 56% - 6 year—approximate the national average for all universities. In the next five years, the University will increase those rates respectively to 40% - 4 years, 60% - 5 years, and 70% - 6 years. In ten years, the graduation rates will increase to 50% - 4 years, 65% - 5 years, and 75% - 6 years. The proposed rates for the ten year goal are well above the national average and are comparable to the graduation rates of the sixteen benchmark universities in Table 1. To be able to reach these goals, UTD will use midterm grades to track student progress proactively in individual classes, require students to meet with advisors for 75 hour degree audits, and use the undergraduate advising survey to improve advising where needed. The University will also propose a fixed tuition rate for 4 years and cap tuition at 15 hours to encourage students to enroll in additional classes. Finally, UTD will examine the so-called gateway courses to determine how they can be improved to ensure student success and to provide students with the requisite skills and knowledge that they need to prosper at the University.
The landscape of public higher education is changing in Texas and the nation as a result of population growth, technology advances, reduced state funding, and other shifts. UTD must strive to be both efficient and cost effective. The University will carefully assess all its major business costs. Particular attention will be focused on optimizing instructional costs through careful allocation of resources and use of technology. The University will also explore ways to collaborate with the UT System and other UT System universities to reduce additional costs and attain administrative efficiencies. A detailed assessment of business and administrative costs will become part of UTD’s culture as the University maximizes its overall efficiency. Specific metrics will be developed and tracked.
Updated: May 1, 2012