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, September 19, 2000, 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 individuals were recognized as achieving the rank of Professor Emeritus. President Witt and Provost George C. Wright presented certificates and lapel pins to each individual or family member.
Eugene W. Anderson, Department of Exercise, Sport and Health Studies (posthumous)
Peter R. Girardot, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry (posthumous)
Donald Greenspan, Department of Mathematics
S. Peter Rosen, College of Science
Elba G. Stafford, Department of Exercise, Sport and Health Studies
David Stokan, Department of Music
B. Cecil Thompson, Department of Physics
Previously conferred Professors Emeriti who were present were also presented with lapel pins.
Remarks by the President. President Witt stated that he and Provost Wright participated for the sixth year in the student leadership retreat in Glen Rose. This year, however, they realized something was different. The enthusiasm, spirit, and commitment of the students were different from preceding years. In the following three weeks, numerous students, faculty and staff have also expressed that they have noticed a difference this fall, a feeling that we have turned the corner. For the first time since fall 1996, the enrollment exceeds 20,000 students.
Another part of the feeling is that we have made significant and rapid progress in the past year. We have new degree programs; new buildings; a new Year One at UTA program designed to enhance orientation and retention efforts; and a new staff development program that provides free training to our staff members allowing them to develop professionally and qualify for higher, better paying jobs. In the new Carnegie rankings, we hold the highest possible ranking. Of the nine academic components in UT System, only two universities hold the top tier rank-- The University of Texas at Arlington and The University of Texas at Austin.
For the first time in the several years President Witt has been here, there is a feeling on campus that we now have more opportunities than challenges and that we have gone from fighting fires to building firesa very good feeling. There is also a feeling that we can accomplish whatever is important to this University.
We have several new degree programs because people were committed to accomplishing what was important to this University, and were determined to find a way to get it done. When time was too short to go through the usual procedure of first getting Board of Regents approval and then Coordinating Board approval for one degree program, someone came up with the idea of going to the Coordinating Board first for approval contingent on the Board of Regents subsequent approval. They agreed to this allowing the new program to be up and running on schedule. In addition, a new MBA program is offered this fall at the Fort Worth Riverbend campus.
Planning for the new residence hall began when enrollment was down with the idea that a new residence hall would help attract new students. The plans were made and approved, and the construction was completed in record time. Arlington Hall opened with 600 beds 98% occupied.
We have come through a very difficult period that has left us with considerable work to be done. Although we have had faculty and staff merit raises, our top priority must continue to be improving faculty and staff salaries. Data from peer institutions will be assembled and compared so that adjustments can be made to salary structures that will bring us into line with our competing institutions. A comparable effort will be done for staff. Although significant progress has been made in renovations and upgrades, we must make even more progress in the years ahead. It is imperative that we have new facilities. In the next legislative session, we will make it a high priority to obtain tuition revenue bonds, so that construction of a new science building can begin at the earliest possible date.
As we look at the coming academic year, four important issues must be addressed: (1) We must make and implement decisions more rapidly, since our environment is very rapidly changing. (2) We must embrace the idea that the success of our University is going to depend on shared efforts, responsibilities and benefits. We now have a much more effective recruiting effort because we have united faculty and staff efforts. (3) We must adjust to the fact that the boundaries of our campus are changing due to distance education. We must develop the ability to move rapidly to take advantage of mission consistent and quality consistent opportunities to expand. (4) We must internalize an expanded sense of what is possible for UTA.
We must aim higher and dream bigger. If we wish to become a flagship, we will have to expect more of ourselves. UTA is going to be a flagship, and this is going to be a very good year.
Adjournment. President Witt adjourned the meeting at 4:45 p.m. inviting all to a reception in the foyer.