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UT System Chancellor Provides One-Year Update on Framework for Advancing Excellence Action Plan

AUSTIN – One year after The University of Texas System Board of Regents unanimously adopted Chancellor Francisco G. Cigarroa’s Framework for Advancing Excellence throughout The University of Texas System, the UT System Administration and 15 UT institutions have made significant progress implementing the Framework’s action plan.

Cigarroa presented an update on the Framework action plan to the UT System Board of Regents at a meeting in Austin on Thursday (Aug. 23).  The action plan recommends nine overarching goals that will have a significant impact on advancing UT institutions to even higher levels of excellence while at the same time bending the cost curve in higher education to the benefit of our students.

“Today I can assure you that the plan is in full implementation at every level.  It is a work in progress focused on continual improvement.  Some initiatives have been completed; for others, we have created the infrastructures that will yield substantive results over time.  We’re tracking every single item in the action plan, and we have developed additional measures that complement and strengthen our efforts,” Cigarroa said.

Cigarroa praised the Board of Regents, presidents, faculty and staff for embracing the Framework and their efforts to diligently implement areas of the action plan over the past year.

“It is a team effort. Because of your vision and hard work, the Framework continues to receive national attention from educators and policymakers. In my recent discussions in the White House with leaders in higher education, it was expressed to me that our Framework is successfully addressing the challenges and opportunities of higher education in the 21st century,” Cigarroa said.

“The work that has been accomplished at our campuses over the past year is impressive and inspiring. The institutions have set their targets high, based on comparisons to their academic peer groups, and they have outlined their strategies for becoming the top performers in those groups,” Cigarroa added.

A full report on the progress of the Framework action plan may be viewed online

“The Board is very impressed with the hard work being done by Chancellor Cigarroa and his staff and the individual presidents and their staff to implement the Framework,” Regents’ Chairman Gene Powell said. “The entire UT System’s dedication to student success through improving quality, improving access and lowering cost has become a national model for higher education in the 21st century,” Regents’ Chairman Gene Powell said. “We are extremely proud and supportive of the chancellor and all of our fifteen presidents,” Powell added.

During his presentation to the Board, Cigarroa highlighted the major initiatives and the progress made to date in their advancement. Those initiatives include:

Undergraduate Student Success and Access: improving graduation rates and student academic advising by using important tools such as MyEdu, Finish@UT, new blended and online learning courses and the launch of the UT System’s Institute for Transformational Learning. All of these initiatives are specifically targeted to improve the student experience while bending the cost curve down.

Faculty, Administrators and Staff Excellence: rewarding outstanding teaching for innovative teaching approaches in the classroom and laboratory, recruiting the best minds, strengthening annual faculty reviews and post tenure review and implementation of a new incentive compensation plan centered on the measurable achievements of goals;

Research: creating the UT Horizon Fund to provide financial support for high quality projects with promising commercial applications, convening the Chancellor’s Technology Commercialization Advisory Cabinet and continuing support for the UT System’s four emerging research universities;

Productivity and Efficiency: successful launch of the public, web-based Productivity Dashboard  to measure performance and progress in the areas of the Framework, identifying and implementing long-term strategies for Systemwide standardized operating systems and shared-service enterprises, and five-year organizational reviews on every UT campus;

Strategic Information Technology Infrastructure Investments: funding to support all of the System’s technology infrastructure initiatives to enhance computational power and abilities in support of the System’s mission of education, research, patient care and service;

Enhancing Philanthropic Success: continuing to fund the Board’s Strength in Numbers program and developing philanthropic business plans for all 15 UT institutions to ensure that philanthropy continues to account for a greater part of an institution’s revenue stream;

Ph.D. Programs: in consultation with provosts and deans of graduate studies, establishing criteria for defining standards and schedules for review, and developing well-defined agreements between doctoral students and their departments regarding time to completion;

The Health of Texas: successful launches of developing medical schools in Austin and the Lower Rio Grande Valley, and implementing the Transformation in Medical Education Initiative (TIME) and systems engineering to improve patient safety and quality; and,

South Texas: transitioning UT Brownsville into a 21st Century, comprehensive four-year university and expanding medical, education and research programs in the region.

“What I find very gratifying is how enthusiastically the University of Texas family has responded to the call for improvements, and how creative our colleagues have become at implementing changes at their individual institutions,” Cigarroa said. “There has been a collective sense, Systemwide, that we can and must do better if we want to distinguish ourselves in the expanding galaxy of our nation’s public universities and health science centers.”

About The University of Texas System
Educating students, providing care for patients, conducting groundbreaking research and serving the needs of Texans and the nation for more than 130 years, The University of Texas System is one of the largest public university systems in the United States, with nine academic universities and six health science centers. Student enrollment exceeded 215,000 in the 2011 academic year. The UT System confers more than one-third of the state’s undergraduate degrees and educates nearly three-fourths of the state’s health care professionals annually. The UT System has an annual operating budget of $13.1 billion (FY 2012) including $2.3 billion in sponsored programs funded by federal, state, local and private sources. With roughly 87,000 employees, the UT System is one of the largest employers in the state.