Coordinating Board vote adds freshmen, sophomores

The U.T. Dallas News
Jan. 1990

The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board on Jan. 26, gave final approval to add the freshman and sophomore years to undergraduate programs at The University of Texas at Dallas. The vote was unanimous.

"The opportunity to 'grow our own' undergraduates in the sciences, mathematics and engineering will strengthen our undergraduate programs, and contribute to the graduate programs as well," President Robert H. Rutford said in response to the vote. "This provides U.T. Dallas a unique opportunity to continue the downward building of academic programs that has marked the development of the University."

U.T. Dallas, which celebrated its 20th anniversary in 1989, and its predecessor institutions first offered graduate education, then junior and senior level undergraduate education beginning in 1975 and now freshman and sophomore education.

The president said that current programs will continue to play an integral part in the University.

"We look forward to continuing to serve the upper division transfer students who have been part of the success of U.T. Dallas," Dr. Rutford said.

The Coordinating Board also approved construction of a new building for engineering and computer science, two new master's degrees in Human Development, and a degree name change in the Social Sciences. The campus celebrated the approvals with a cake and champagne party that also celebrated Dr. Rutford's birthday.

With the expansion, U.T. Dallas becomes Dallas County's only public institution of higher education to offer classes from freshman to graduate level.

The Texas Legislature in a June 1989 Special Session passed, and the governor signed, a bill permitting the addition of freshmen and sophomores if the Coordinating Board approved. The legislation allows enrollment of lower division students beginning with the first summer session of 1990.

While it has yet to be determined when the first freshmen and sophomores will be enrolled, the University has had to proceed as if classes will begin this summer. A wide range of committees were formed to address the various issues involved: admissions, curriculum, facilities, etc.

"Our faculty and staff have done a superb job in dealing with the myriad of issues raised by the addition of the lower division," Dr. Rutford said. "The planning process is well along, and following faculty discussion on the issue, we will finalize the action plan for implanting the lower division."

The legislation permitting expansion places other limitations on enrollment, admissions, and implementation of the bill:

  • From the summer of 1990 through the summer of 1992, lower division enrollment may not exceed 1,040 students. Then not more than 2,000 entering freshmen may be enrolled, and lower division enrollment may not exceed 5,000 students.
  • An additional four percent of the total may be admitted if they have earned between 29 and 54 semester credit hours at either Dallas or Collin county community college districts.
  • Until minority populations at U.T. Dallas are fully representatives of the state's minority population, five percent of the enrollments for each year will be reserved for minority students.
  • The lower division curriculum should emphasize the admission and enrollment of students who intend to major in the natural sciences, mathematics, or engineering.
  • Admission criteria for entering freshmen and transfer students with less than 54 semester credit hours may be no less stringent than the criteria of U.T. Austin.
  • Enrollment of undergraduate transfer students with 54 or more semester credit hours still will be emphasized, since one of U.T. Dallas's primary missions is serving students who have received lower division instruction at local community colleges.
  • The criteria for admission to graduate programs are not affected.