Quantitative Targets

To achieve a level of excellence consistent with UTD’s vision, it is instructive to examine characteristics of the nation’s premier public research universities.  This group, for purposes of this examination, has been selected from the relatively smaller top-forty ranked public research universities according to 2006 U.S. News and World Report rankings.  The average characteristics of these top public research universities are as follows:

  • Number of Faculty:  1,000
  • Number of Students:  21,000
  • Student/Faculty Ratio: 20
  • Annual State Funding:  $10,000 per student
  • Annual Tuition Income:  $7,250 per student
  • Total Annual Operating Income:  $17,250 per student

In comparison, UTD has less than 350 tenure system faculty members and less than 15,000 total students.  Some of these students are part-time, and the number of full time equivalent (FTE) students is just over 10,000.  Unlike many leading public research universities, UTD does not have a medical school, and its School of Management (about 40% of UTD’s current students) is proportionally larger than most business schools at other top-tier public research universities. 

Because UTD is relatively small, it is useful to compare UTD with a subset of the top-forty public universities, focusing on relatively small but highly regarded public universities, even though UTD’s current metrics are unique.  Table 1 summarizes some key characteristics of relatively small public universities that are among the 40 highest ranked public universities in the U.S.

Table 1. Summary of Key Characteristics of Relatively Small, Top Tier Public Research Universities

 

University

Ranking among Top Public National Universities* Medical School? Full Time Equivalent Students* No. of Full Time Tenure Track Faculty Annual Funding (State + Tuition) per FTE Student††
Virginia
2
Yes
20,416
1,018
$16,805
North Carolina
5
Yes
23,588
1,041
$22,655
UC San Diego
8
Yes
23,476
836
$18,325
Georgia Tech
10
No
15,605
787
$19,537
UC Irvine
12
Yes
23,513
783
$16,134
UC Santa Barbara
13
No
20,358
799
$15,600
Miami U. of Ohio
26 (tie)
No
16,190
849
$16,259
U. of Delaware
26 (tie)
No
19,086
1,120
$15,704
UC Santa Cruz
28 (tie)
No
14,560
485
$14,038
U. of Connecticut
28 (tie)
Yes
19,758
1,075
$20,146
Clemson
34 (tie)
No
15,634
826
$16,443
North Carolina State
34 (tie)
No
25,356
1,408
$17,887
Virginia Tech
34 (tie)
No
25,902
1,260
$14,924
Auburn
38 (tie)
No
21,271
1,153
$16,321
Iowa State
38 (tie)
No
25,150
1,241
$15,191
Tennessee
38 (tie)
Yes
24,853
1,283
$20,114
Average
20,920
998
$17,255
Average (No Medical School)
19,911
995
$16,243
UTD

10,247
327
$11,557

  *    U.S. News 2006 edition                                                   
**    Source IPEDS Peer Analysis, Fall 2003
  †    Faculty holding the rank of Professor, Associate Professor or Assistant Professor
††    IPEDS Finance FY 2003-04

It is evident that UTD is somewhat smaller in terms of number of students and very substantially smaller in terms of number of faculty, compared to the sixteen universities listed in Table 1.  It is clear that if UTD is to attain a scale that will enable it to compete with the nation’s premier public research universities, UTD must grow, especially with regards to the number of faculty, while maintaining excellence.  It is also clear that UTD does not have the level of funding from state appropriations and tuition necessary to compete with this set of top public universities.  Of the approximately $5,700 per student per year differential with the average of the entire group in Table 1, most (about $4,000) is related to state appropriations that lag those of the other states and a lesser fraction of the shortfall is attributable to tuition income differences.  If UTD is compared only to those universities in Table 1 without medical schools, UTD falls short in funding by approximately $4,600; and of that amount, approximately $2,600 is the result of lower State funding per student.  The remaining $2,000 results from lower tuition revenue per student.

The University of Texas at Dallas must grow in order to achieve a scale of impact necessary to develop into one of the country’s premier public research universities.  The main challenge is to increase the size of the faculty in a way that builds even stronger quality and impact.  Without massive infusions of money (not likely for UTD), and perhaps even with such infusions, growth in the size of faculty at top-quality universities always occurs over periods of years to decades.  A growth rate on the order of 5% per annum, perhaps topping out at 7% in some years, is probably the maximum rate that can be sustained in a manner that ensures excellence.  Figure 1 charts growth from the current size of 400 faculty members at growth rates of 5% and 7% per annum.

Figure 1

At these growth rates, a reasonably achievable faculty size in a decade is 600 to 800.  The time required to achieve a faculty size of 1,000 to 1,200 is 15 to 20 years.  In all cases, each person hired must increase the overall quality of the faculty, and serious efforts must be made to ensure that there is no dissolution of the current excellence.

Thus, UTD must view this strategic plan in both the near term (principally, advancing programs and initiatives that can be created immediately) and the long term (principally, building a faculty and infrastructure consistent with the nation’s premier public research universities).  A time frame stretching from 10 to 20 years is appropriate for UTD’s planning. 

The following metrics provide a way for UTD to measure its growth as well as set goals that will allow UTD to become a top-tier, public research university:

  • 800 tenure-system faculty members
  • 15,000 full-time-equivalent (FTE) students
  • Student/faculty ratio of approximately 20
  • $100,000,000 in annual research expenditures
  • $15,000,000 in annual endowment distributions ($320M endowment)
  • 300 doctoral degrees awarded annually
  • Academic ranking of entering freshmen in the top 50 of public universities
  • 10 members of the National Academies of science and engineering
  • 15% annual giving participation rate of alumni
  • 10% of entering freshmen from out of state
  • Overall university ranking among the top 50 public research universities and, eventually, among the top 20

 

Updated: May 1, 2012