An Exciting Year Begins!
Wednesday, September 1, 2010
Dear Students, Faculty, and Staff:
Our semester is off to an incredible start, and already it's shaping up to be one for the record books! The energy and excitement on campus are contagious. All of our Welcome Week activities, including the MavsMeet Convocation last week, have been packed with bright and enthusiastic students who are eager to make their mark on UT Arlington—and the world.
On behalf of the entire University community, I extend a special welcome to all of our students and faculty members who are new to UT Arlington this semester. We think you've made a wise choice, and we're delighted you've joined us here in Maverick Country. We pledge to do everything possible to help you excel and to ensure that you have an unparalleled experience at UT Arlington.
The final enrollment numbers won't be known for another week or so, but every indication is that our enrollment will exceed 30,000 students this fall, compared to approximately 28,000 students last fall. This is not a surprise, and we have planned carefully to meet the growing numbers.
A strategic priority of the University the past few years has been to grow without sacrificing quality. True to that goal, our incoming class is well prepared to meet the rigors of university life. More than 27 percent of freshmen were in the top 10 percent of their high school class, and an impressive 67 percent were in the top 25 percent. We continue to attract and enroll a diverse mix of students who are at the top of their class and who are attracted to an outstanding institution like UT Arlington.
Our students are being welcomed this fall as no other entering class before them has—with the support and guidance of our new University College. Appropriately housed in Ransom Hall, our oldest building located right in the center of campus, University College brings together a wide range of services including academic advising, tutoring, and counseling that help ensure student success. We will officially dedicate the building tomorrow, but it has been open since July and is already providing essential resources for our students.
We're also pleased that 75 new faculty members and faculty associates have joined UT Arlington this fall. They hail from prestigious institutions like the University of Chicago, Cornell University, Northwestern University, Purdue University, Michigan State University, and the University of California. Their expertise includes everything from biochemistry to political science, economics to kinesiology, and virtually everything in-between. We welcome their creativity and talent as they continue to build their academic careers alongside their colleagues here at UT Arlington.
A good barometer of the health and well-being of any university campus is the amount of construction under way at any given time. UT Arlington's aggressive construction program is an outward indication of our drive to transform our institution into a major national research university.
Central to our transformation is the magnificent new Engineering Research Complex, which faculty members will begin moving into in just a few months. What better way to demonstrate our commitment to cutting-edge research than this state-of-the-art facility dedicated to engineering and science laboratories and instruction. The students and faculty members who build their careers in this building will explore new ideas and generate new knowledge that will help define the next generation of research at UT Arlington.
Construction also is well under way on our spectacular special events center, slated to open in December 2011. It won't be long before this hub of downtown activity will be hosting commencements, men's and women's basketball, volleyball, concerts, lectures, and a variety of other community events. You can watch it being built before your very eyes on the construction webcam.
Right next door to the special events center, construction is beginning on one of our most ambitious projects yet—College Park. This mixed-use development represents a dynamic partnership between the University and the City of Arlington and is the manifestation of our plan for downtown Arlington's revitalization as a thriving college town district. College Park will include a residence hall and apartments to accommodate 600 students, retail shops and restaurants, a new Welcome Center, and an 1,800-car parking garage.
We realize the impact our enrollment growth and construction have on your daily lives, especially when it comes to parking and getting around campus. We hope you'll agree that these temporary inconveniences are a small price to pay as we develop a compelling new dimension to our campus. We pledge to work quickly and diligently to build the campus our students and faculty deserve—and with the least amount of disruption possible.
As we embark on what undoubtedly will be an exciting and eventful year, I'd also like to remind you of two important sources of news and official information that are distributed to your e-mail inboxes each week. Students receive TrailBlazer every Tuesday, and faculty and staff receive MavWire every Monday and Thursday. These e-newsletters are an excellent way to keep abreast of the latest news, events, and activities at UT Arlington.
I wish each of you a productive and successful semester, and I look forward to seeing you around campus.
James D. Spaniolo