On November 5, 2015, Chancellor McRaven laid out a bold and sweeping path forward for The University of Texas System. One
theme that ran through every aspect of his presentation was the need to use the System’s size, talent and diversity to collaborate
in ways never done before. He harkened back to his experiences over the past 14 years in combat and how the Special Operations
community built a “
Team of Teams
” to tackle complex problems.
He began his presentation with a draft Mission Statement, one that captures the essence of what a great university system should provide the people it serves. From there he discussed the Operating Concept—this defines how the system will function to achieve its goals. Next, the Decision Process, which details the disciplined approach the System will take to its daily, weekly, monthly collaboration.
Then Chancellor McRaven laid out the Strategic Assessment, his view of the terrain – both as it exists today and as it will exist five, ten, twenty years from now. Finally, he outlined some bold initiatives, some “Quantum Leaps” in the System’s ability to provide the citizens of Texas the very best in higher education, research and health care. These Quantum Leaps will, McRaven said, will make the UT System the envy of every system in the Nation.
Through unprecedented collaboration and new partnerships, the System will work aggressively to increase the number of students entering the college pipeline who are prepared for success in college and beyond. Working with UT institutional leaders, civic and non-profit leaders, the legislature, state agencies, community colleges, school districts, and other primary and secondary constituents, the System will use its size and its regional access to actively engage with leaders across the education spectrum, from pre-kindergarten through college, to strengthen student achievement and improve college readiness in a way never before envisioned in higher education. The System will address the under-preparation of students, raise expectations, and strengthen the culture of education in Texas through a multi-pronged approach that includes: positioning more—and more diverse—students for success though high-quality dual credit programs; improving academic preparation through regional and local alignment of middle, high-school, college and university curricula; rethinking teacher education so that today’s teachers are successful in educating students for tomorrow’s challenges; and mobilizing advanced computer analytics and big data to impact student learning and outcomes. TOP
Because the System is preparing the future leaders of Texas, it will create The American Leadership Program. Over the next several years it will begin to implement a one-hour upper and lower division course that will be required by all students attending a UT institution. The System will leverage the large veteran population, business and civic leaders and a host of others to teach the men and women of our state. Because senior administrators across the system and across the state and the nation need leadership education as well, the System will look to build a brick and mortar leadership institute that can provide executive level leadership training to all those who desire to improve the skills necessary to run today’s complex organizations. The System will be known nationwide for developing great leaders. TOP
The UT System Board of Regents has shown a willingness to invest in bringing world-class scholars, teachers, and researchers to the UT System. The wisdom of investing in world-class talent is more than apparent. The $100 million investment in the Science and Technology Acquisition and Retention (STARs) program has yielded a phenomenal return – more than $650 million to date. The System is going to make an unparalleled investment in pursuit of the next generation of outstanding faculty. With the approval of the regents, it will increase the STARs investment and recommend a rising stars program that looks to hire clusters of great faculty — as well as an incentive program to retain our best post-doctoral candidates. TOP
The UT System will aggressively ramp up efforts in driving equal opportunity and fairness in hiring and promotion processes. Education is — and should be — all about opportunity and that includes opportunity for our faculty and staff. The System will implement a “Rooney Rule” — similar to what exists in the NFL for hiring head coaches – for higher education and health care. This will ensure that qualified women and minorities have an opportunity to be considered for every senior level position from dean and above. Additionally, to ensure fairness in faculty compensation, each campus will submit a plan to the Chancellor to close the gender gap within five years. TOP
The UT System will improve the health of Texas by putting the collective power of its institutions to work. It will develop a collaborative Health Care Enterprise that will leverage its size and expertise and connects its regional capabilities to ensure it provides Texas, the nation and the world with the finest health care possible. This will entail collaboration among UT health institutions along all lines of major health care functions — such as shared clinical information, shared service lines, clinical trials and telehealth. The System will incentivize and, where necessary, drive partnering so that it takes full advantage of the phenomenal talent and expertise that exists around the enterprise. TOP
The UT System will launch an effort akin to the Manhattan Project to understand, prevent, treat and cure the diseases of the brain. It will tackle the issue in two ways. First, it will make an unprecedented investment in leveraging and connecting all the cutting edge science ongoing at UT institutions. It will drive collaboration, incentivize partnerships and demand scientific and clinical cooperation. Then, the System will add another critical node to the constellation of the UT brain health enterprise at its flagship academic institution in Austin. TOP
The UT System is uniquely positioned to establish itself as a leader in national security, because scattered among its institutions are great minds thinking and working on our national security problems. The UT System has more than 40 centers and institutes focusing on national security issues today. The System will establish the UT Network for National Security, a system-wide alliance to address the most vexing problems, raise them to national prominence, convene world forums, write, discuss, debate and present solutions. The UT System will be the national authority on scholarly activities in national security. TOP
To broaden access to more of Texas’ brightest students while taking advantage of the talent and expertise of the state’s
most populous and international city, the System will expand its footprint in Houston. This effort will be decades in the
making, but will provide a venue for UT institutions across the state to have a presence in Houston, which is the brain hub
of so many critical industries, such as energy, finance and health care. The System is completing the acquisition of over
300 acres of real estate off Buffalo Point just 3.5 miles from the Texas Medical Center. This will be a game changer,
in a very positive way, for Houston, for the UT System, and for the state of Texas.
This expansion of the UT System into the state’s most international city – where sectors such as energy, technology health care, arts and culture fuel the economy – will provide extraordinary opportunities for research and partnerships. It will also address the need to make a UT education possible for a growing and changing population. At the beginning of 2016, Chancellor McRaven will convene a task force of civic leaders, legislators, academic and health presidents, faculty, students, regents and other constituents to begin planning for the development of the Houston property. TOP
Too few young people are going to college, and of those who do, too few graduate. This has dramatic social and economic consequences for our state – and our nation – and the UT System is going to double down on efforts to improve student success across all institutions. The UT System will employ innovative partnerships, initiatives and technology to ensure students receive the tools and support they need to stay on the path to graduation. UT System institutions not only will increase graduate rates while keeping education debt in check, they’ll produce more career-ready graduates who immediately contribute to the economy and their communities. TOP