THE UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS AT ARLINGTON
UNIVERSITY FACULTY AND ASSOCIATES
The Fall Meeting of the University Faculty and Associates was held at 4:00 p.m., on Tuesday, October 15, 2002, in the University Center Rosebud Theatre. President Robert E. Witt presided.
Recognition of New Faculty and Associates. President Witt asked the new faculty and associates to stand for recognition.
Recognition of Professors Emeriti. Seven retired professors were conferred with the honorary title of Professor Emeritus because of their exemplary service and dedication to the University and the community. Each individual received a framed certificate and a lapel pin. Recognized this year were: Burke Burkart, Geology; Donald Cantwell, Finance and Real Estate; James Erickson, Psychology; Marion Moore, Mathematics; Zoé Moorer, Music; Coleen Shannon, Social Work (posthumously); and Jerry Wofford, Management.
Remarks by the President. President Witt addressed the Fall Faculty Meeting for the eighth time, sharing some of UTA’s strengths, challenges and opportunities. A measure of a comprehensive research university is the amount of external research support generated by the faculty. This past fiscal year, UTA’s Office of Grants and Contracts recorded just under $26 million in support generated by our faculty, a 30% increase over the previous year. We have begun to effectively leverage the research excellence funds received in the last legislative session, and have begun to make significant progress in Washington in securing federally earmarked funds to support our research efforts. There are two earmarks supporting UTA, $400,000 for the Nanoscience Center, and $2.3 million to support our broad base research efforts in nanotechnology. We are making rapid progress in building the kinds of research teams that we must have to be successful in obtaining major funding in Washington. President Witt is confident that next year will bring another increase in our funded research.
Another measure of a university is enrollment growth. As of this fall, UTA is the fastest growing university in Texas. The additional 2,641 students, who enrolled this fall, have given us a total enrollment of 23,821. This represents a 12.5% increase, the largest headcount increase in the state. This increase has not been achieved at the price of quality. We have maintained and often increased the quality of our incoming class. We have already taken some steps toward further increasing the quality by increasing the level of scholarship funding to outstanding students.
New academic programs also measure a university. The Board of Regents has approved the establishment of a Nursing PhD and a Masters Degree in Communications, which are under consideration now by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board.
The Physical Plant of the university has continued to benefit from a very aggressive construction program. Two new apartment complexes opened this fall, both fully occupied. Pachl Annex has provided temporary office and classroom space. We have even more aggressive construction plans for the coming year—more apartments, another residence hall, a new science building, a fine arts building, a workforce development building, a new technology incubator building, and intramural field renovations.
We have increased advertisement and hired a new director of Marketing and Communications.
We have momentum and are making rapid and significant progress. The challenge of maintaining the urgency of this momentum will be more difficult now, since we are no longer driven by the threat of decreased enrollment. Now our sense of urgency must be driven by an expanding array of opportunities of which we must take advantage. The University is positioned well to make significant strides forward.
Four areas need to receive special emphasis as we begin this academic year—retention, campus life, research environment, and process improvement. We must do everything we can to squeeze every hour and every dollar out of our budget to keep our University moving forward. As we reflect on the progress we have made, it is important to remember where that progress begins. It begins with us, the faculty and staff of UTA. It begins with individuals with big dreams and aggressive goals. Dr. Witt feels UTA has an abundance of both, which makes our future bright.
Adjournment. The meeting adjourned at 4:30 p.m., with an invitation to attend the reception in the foyer.