Undergraduate Classes To Begin at UT-Dallas

The Dallas Morning News
Aug. 17, 1975

Educational opportunity in the metroplex will take a big step forward this fall when the University of Texas at Dallas swings open the doors for its first undergraduate classes.

On September 16 several hundred students are expected to register in each of the new undergraduate colleges at UTD, which has offered a somewhat specialized curriculum for graduate students in the fields of science and business until this time. Graduate enrollment may pass the 1,000-student mark this fall.

The undergraduate colleges at UTD offer upper-level programs leading to bachelor's degrees. The plan is designed to complement junior college programs, especially the various two-year programs available through the Dallas County Community College District (DCCCD) at Eastfield, El Centro, Mountain View and Richland Colleges. An average of over 27,000 students were enrolled in DCCCD credit programs in 1974-75.

Contrary to many colleges that have hit a plateau of student enrollment and some which have reported a decline, there is rapid growth in metropolitan commuter colleges such as UTD, according to Dr. Bryce Jordan, UTD president.

"There is a strong trend toward expansion of public universities which are keyed to the part-time student who is holding a job. Florida International in Miami, Georgia State in Atlanta, and the University of Massachusetts at Boston are prime examples of this trend in higher education. Like these schools, UT-Dallas is geared to provide opportunity for working people to further their educations at either the undergraduate or graduate level," he said.

President Jordan began his academic career as an assistant professor of music at Hardin-Simmons University. Later, he took his Ph.D. in music history and comparative literature at the University of North Carolina and, subsequently, taught at the University of Maryland and served, respectively, as chairman of the music departments at the University of Kentucky and the University of Texas at Austin. In 1968 he became vice president of student affairs at UT-Austin and after serving as interim president of the school in 1970 and 1971, Dr. Jordan was asked to take charge of a new kind of state university—UT-Dallas. Selection of Dr. Jordan—a musicologist—is indicative of UTD's intention to develop a well-rounded curriculum in both the humanities as well as the sciences. Because of its beginnings as the private Southwest Center for Advanced Studies and its early graduate programs, UTD has been widely known as an "all science" school. However, today this is untrue.

Now, the most demanded of areas of study, as indicated by junior and senior applicants in order of popularity, are business and public administration, psychology, English, special education and then a "hard science"molecular biology.

A major reason for the response to UTD, according to Dr. Jordan, is the low tuition rate of a state university compared to private institutions. Tuition for a full-time load of 13 semester hours at UTD is $60 for Texas residents. Required fees bring the total entrance cost to about $195.

UTD's unique undergraduate program is planned to fill Dallas County's gap in public education between the junior colleges and graduate school.

This will give students the option of attending public schools from kindergarten through their Ph.D. without leaving the Dallas area.

UTD is designed as a commuter university and no dormitories are planned on campus. To facilitate the commuting crowds expected in the fall, UTD has built several large parking lots. However, the main part of the campus is designed for pedestrian traffic and provides natural gathering points conducive to university community spirit.

From the campus design to the administration and faculty organization, UTD is not like the isolated disciplinary boxes which make up traditional universities. The new programs at UTD are very attractive to those who want changes in education. Interdisciplinary team teaching allows for development in new directions-a synergism through combined effort.

"We are trying to develop practical problem-solvers rather than train Ph.D.s to teach theory. This, of course, applies to the humanities as well as the sciences," concluded Dr. Jordan.