As the 2011-2012 academic year comes to a close, it’s a good time to look back on a dozen good milestones and accomplishments from the year. All of these achievements, which we reached as a community, indicate our growing strength as a university of national and international importance. So here, in no particular order, is my list:
(Clicking on the numbered item will take you to a related article.)
1. Medical School Momentum
With support from Senator Kirk Watson, the UT System, the Seton Healthcare Family, and others, we now have real momentum toward a medical school at UT Austin.
2. Four-year Graduation Rate Initiative
Our Task Force on Undergraduate Graduation Rates submitted more than 60 recommendations for faster time-to-degree, and we’re already acting on them.
3. Study finds UT No. 2 in efficiency
Factoring together multiple indicators of efficiency such as graduation rates, state support, and faculty employed put UT Austin nearly at the top nationally.
4. New Deans and Vice President
Leadership is critical to the success of any institution, and this year we recruited four outstanding executives to the campus. Luis Zayas became dean of Social Work; Linda Hicke will lead Natural Sciences; Ward Farnsworth is our new dean of Law; and Gage Paine will become our new vice president for student affairs.
5. Course Transformation
Using new educational technology and new findings in cognitive science, introductory courses in chemistry, statistics, and biology have been energized by experimental formats that increase interaction between students and teachers and among students themselves. And class attendance is up.
6. Big 12 strengthens with new members
The Horned Frogs and Mountaineers joined the conference to replace departing Aggies and Tigers.
UT’s Texas Advanced Computing Center won a National Science Foundation supercomputer grant worth a potential $50 million.
8. Alumni join students in The Project
Texas Exes chapters pitch in to take UT students’ community service project nationwide.
9. UT Business professors, Graduate Programs in Education and Accounting No. 1 in nation
The Princeton Review gave McCombs faculty top honors; U.S. News and World Report again ranked the graduate programs in our College of Education best among public universities in the nation and our graduate accounting program was ranked No. 1 for the seventh straight year.
10. UT hosts Fire Relief Benefit
Star-studded Erwin Center event raised $725,000 for Bastrop County fire victims.
11. Harry Ransom Center acquires J.M. Coetzee Archive
A Nobel-winning novelist trusts his alma mater with his papers.
12. Campaign for Texas reaches $1.93 billion
We expect to reach the $2 billion milestone this summer.
I’m so proud of this university and all it does every day to make the world a better place. Although no one knows what will be on this list a year from now, I know it will change the world.