Initiative Six: Making a Great City Even Greater

A leading university impacts the community in several ways: by adding to the intellectual capital of that community, by strengthening the workforce, by enriching the community’s artistic and cultural environment, by attracting research dollars that are spent in the community, by sharing practical knowledge with the business and technology sectors, by improving public and private education, and by providing a physically attractive environment that becomes an asset to the community.  Very often, as is the case with many of UTD’s students, students stay in the community after they finish their education.  A leading university also impacts the community by the prestige it brings, making the community more appealing to outsiders.  A great university—its faculty, staff, and students—partners with the community to make a great city even greater, economically, socially, and culturally.

Action 6.1: K-16 Education

An educated public is at the heart of a great city, and UTD is committed to producing first-rate elementary, middle, and high school teachers and to improving education, especially science and math education, in the Mextroplex and throughout the State.  The Teacher Development Center, housed in the School of General Studies, has expanded rapidly in recent years, and the teaching candidates that the Center has produced have had a 100% pass rate on certification exams for the most recent three years.  The School of Natural Sciences and Mathematics has one of the few long-standing, well established programs specializing in science and math education in the nation.  Both initiatives directly affect the quality of life in the Metroplex, and both programs will continue to expand and develop as they respond to new and exciting needs, for instance, by providing in-service academic training for math science, and technology teachers and mid-level administrators (principal preparation).  The School of Social Sciences’ Texas Schools Project is a unique information system that is invaluable in understanding what is happening in K-12 education in Texas and in helping provide information to improve education.  The Ph.D. program in Public Affairs is also helping as it prepares many school administrators.  The School of Arts and Humanities has partnered with local school districts to win $2,000,000 in grants from the Department of Education to improve the quality of instruction in American History.  The UTD Academic Bridge program is a powerful and successful program that aids students, most often from the inner city schools in the Dallas Independent School District, to enter and succeed at UTD.  The High Technology Education Coalition—a collaborative effort among Plano Independent School District, the Collin Community College District, UTD, and industry leaders from Lockheed Martin, Nortel Networks, Raytheon, and Texas Instruments—has been designed to ensure that area students receive a high quality education in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and math. All these existing programs form the foundation for a strong and useful relationship between UTD and the surrounding community’s K-16 programs.  The School of Arts and Humanities’ proposed Institute for Creativity and Innovation will promote the understanding of creativity in scientific discovery and technological invention and will take that understanding directly into the local public schools, and the current collaborations with the Dallas Museum of Natural History, The Science Place, and The Sci-Tech Discovery Center must be maintained and expanded.  By emphasizing and enhancing these relationships and by building new ones where needed, UTD will fulfill its role in bringing out the best in the community’s primary and secondary school students.  Extremely high priority will be placed on preparing the teachers that the region will need (particularly, to teach math and science), providing leadership in understanding educational policies and their impact on the quality of education, and enhancing the learning experiences of children throughout the Metroplex.

Action 6.2: The Arts

No city can achieve or maintain greatness without a vibrant arts scene.  As the University continues to grow, the arts must be an integral part of that growth.  The School of Arts and Humanities offers a uniquely integrative, transdisciplinary program that fuses the arts with the humanities as it explores the connections between critical and creative thinking.  The School has highly regarded programs in literature, history, and translation that produce outstanding teachers and citizens, and its programs place creative expression in the broader, relevant context of human experience.  The arts, in particular, provide the School and UTD with exciting opportunity to directly impact the cultural life of the Metroplex.  Even with a relatively small visual and performing arts faculty, the School has gained a reputation for excellence in the creative arts and sponsors a diverse, high quality arts season with everything from plays and art exhibits to concerts and ballets.  The new major in Arts and Technology, the Institute for Interactive Arts and Engineering and the motion capture lab are at the forefront of artistic and cultural innovation.  The School has forged links with the Dallas Museum of Art and other cultural institutions and arts groups in the Metroplex and will continue to not only provide even more quality events but also nurture the arts and artists in the community as well as provide a first-rate art education to UTD’s students.

Action 6.3: Business Leadership

The vibrant business climate that characterizes the Metroplex is one of the State’s and the nation’s most valuable assets.  The University will be an important driving force in promoting local businesses and advancing the economic climate of the region.  The School of Management is UTD’s largest school and has core strengths that include Marketing Science, Information Systems, and Operations Management, and the School has recently made significant hires in Accounting, Strategy, International Business, Entrepreneurship, and Finance and has the State’s second-highest research output in leading journals.  One of UTD’s most successful programs is its Executive MBA Program, which is ranked 25th in the nation by the Financial Times and which provides invaluable education to current and aspiring business leaders.  The Executive MBA Program is continuing to expand and is adding more programs designed to give specific skills to middle- and upper-level managers.  Beyond educating leaders, the University will play an increasingly important role as a key asset in strengthening the business environment in the Metroplex through adult education, guest lectures, workshops, and leadership programs for businesses of all sizes and types.  The University will also greatly strengthen its activities in technology transfer and serve as a leader in promoting regional economic development in existing and start-up companies.

Action 6.4: Community Outreach

Great universities have a large and positive impact on their community, from hosting outstanding forums to share ideas with community leaders to providing opportunities in the visual and performing arts to providing a place to get research done to being a destination for visitors and friends.  All units of the University will be encouraged to volunteer and to be involved in the Metroplex, and events will be sponsored by the University so that members of the public have the chance to be involved.  A Community Outreach Office will be established.  The Office will work with faculty, staff, and students, and will coordinate outreach efforts, including the incorporation of service learning into the curriculum as well as facilitating volunteer efforts and internships with local businesses and organizations.  The Office will also work to provide local business and industries with opportunities to work with faculty on campus on joint projects and will sponsor lecture series and other community events.  Alliances—such as those already formed by the School of Social Science’s Institute for Public Affairs with municipal governments throughout the State and the School of Management with the Greater Dallas Chamber of Commerce, the Richardson Chamber of Commerce, the Metroplex Technology Business Council, the Greater Dallas Asian American Chamber of Commerce, and the Indo-American Chamber of Commerce—will be augmented and expanded.  Collaboration with the Dallas Museum of Natural History, The Science Place, the Holocaust Center, and the Dallas Museum of Art will also be strengthened, and new ventures such as the Sci-Tech Discovery Center will be pursued.  The University will be an active participant in the community and, through that participation, will make a significant and positive impact on the Metroplex. 

Action 6.5: University Village

North Dallas, Richardson, and Plano are UTD’s physical home.  With its land, sports facilities, library, and other infrastructure, UTD serves as a “go to” place for local citizens and visitors.  Beautification efforts will be undertaken to make UTD a more inviting and beautiful campus, with the understanding that UTD is a public resource for the community as well.  Places of special beauty and inspiration will be created.  The physical appearance of the University will be consistent with the high level of excellence defined by its people.  UTD will work closely with Richardson, Dallas, and Plano on projects such as roads, traffic, parking, bicycle paths, jogging trails, sports facilities, parks, etc.  But most importantly, UTD will work with the neighboring communities to create a University Village on the unoccupied land currently surrounding the campus.  Through mixed-use land development, UTD’s land will be rented to developers for bookstores, restaurants, theaters, and other businesses specifically designed to meet the needs of the growing student population and those who live in the surrounding communities. 

 

Updated: May 1, 2012