UT Dallas' Response to the Washington Advisory Group Report
The University of Texas at Dallas (UTD) compliments the Washington Advisory Group (WAG) for its thorough and insightful report, and for its confidence in the university’s continued progress toward Tier-One research status. The details in the report that pertain to UTD are consistent with the analyses of senior university faculty and academic administrators. The areas of research and collaboration recommended in the report are completely consistent with the strategies developed at UTD during the recent past.
UTD’s efforts for the next five years will focus on achieving the goals of our Engineering and Science Research Enhancement Initiative, “Project Emmitt.” This will require significant increases in the ranks of faculty members with active, well-funded research programs in science and engineering, and in the numbers of highly qualified graduate students in these same areas. Concurrently, UTD is also committed to a major capital campaign, with a goal of $100 million. The major thrust of the campaign will be the creation of endowed chairs and graduate fellowships that are crucial to the recruitment by UTD of the additional outstanding faculty and graduate students that are essential to achieving the goals of Project Emmitt.
As the WAG noted, UTD needs to increase the sizes of its student body and its faculty by factors of two, approximately, in order to be competitive with public Tier-One universities, particularly in the research areas critical to Project Emmitt. In concert with this growth, UTD also concurs with the WAG recommendation that the university selectively broaden its profile of programs. In particular, we plan to proceed energetically to add programs that are vital to Project Emmitt and collaborations with U.T. Southwestern and U.T. Arlington. Primary attention, in accord with WAG recommendations, will be given to strengthening the Erik Jonsson School of Engineering and Computer Science by adding several new departments, with Mechanical Engineering, Materials Science, Chemical Engineering, and Bio-Medical Engineering being possibilities under consideration.
UTD’s organizational links and geographic proximity to U.T. Southwestern offer great opportunities to productively leverage resources and create synergy by building research programs in which the areas of expertise of medical and general academic institutions complement and reinforce each other. Likewise, the critical sizes of faculty cohorts necessary to compete in the international arenas of frontline research can be reached most rapidly by creating as much cooperation as possible between UT Dallas and U.T. Arlington. UTD intends to continue to strengthen current joint programs with U.T. Southwestern and U.T. Arlington in the areas of speech and hearing, imaging science, neuroscience, information processing, and materials sciences and engineering, including nanotechnology, and bio-nanotechnology. The continued leadership of the U.T. System in encouraging and facilitating such collaborations will be of critical importance.
Finally, UTD concurs with the explicit comments of the Washington Advisory Group that continued progress of UTD toward Tier-One performance depends on securing the funding necessary for the required expansion and enhancement of the faculty, and that the only practical source of such additional funding appears to be further increases in tuition and fees. Success in the critical domains of adequately funding annual operations and in raising $100 million in the capital campaign will require, as also noted in the WAG report, that the next president of UTD possess the stature and ability necessary to meet these challenges.