Chancellor McRaven's Vision for the University of Texas System

85th Texas Legislative Session

The Board of Regents met for their November meeting to address a variety of system-wide issues. Chancellor William McRaven kicked started the agenda on Thursday with a presentation on his strategic vision for the University of Texas System. McRaven’s address broke down into eight “quantum leaps” for the University of Texas:

1. THE TEXAS PROSPECT INITIATIVE

The UT System will be at the front of strengthening the college pipeline and more deeply engaging higher education with pre-K-12 in unprecedented ways.

There will be four areas of focus:

  1. Ensuring college preparatory programs meet the standards to ensure students can enter higher education
  2. Creating the UT Literacy Institute, modeled after the UTeach program, to dramatically improve elementary level literacy at the largest, urban, ISDs
  3. Providing high school counselors in Texas with sufficient resources to give advice and direction to prospective college students
  4. Spotlighting the existing UT System schools of education to produce the best teachers in the nation

2. THE AMERICAN LEADERSHIP PROGRAM

UT System will implement a core curriculum of leadership on every campus to build students of character and integrity to lead our state, our nation, and our world. Every campus within the network will implement a one-hour upper and lower division course that will be required for all students focused on lessons learned from industry, public service, academia, civil rights and the military.

In the long term, plans will develop for a brick and mortar leadership institute that provides executive level leadership training to senior administrators and working professionals who seek to improve the skills needed to run organizations today.

3. WIN THE TALENT WAR

Chancellor McRaven vowed to helm an unparalleled investment in the pursuit of outstanding faculty to ensure campuses have world class scholars educating our future leaders.

There will be intentionality behind recruiting and retaining faculty not only with established reputations in the National Academies, but rising faculty and post-doctoral candidates that illustrate promise as emerging leaders in their field. This will be carried out with an increase in STAR (Science and Technology Acquisition and Retention) investments and the installation of a rising stars program that hires clusters of great candidates.   

4. THE DRIVE FOR DIVERSITY AND FAIRNESS

UT System will safeguard fairness in hiring practices by ensuring that qualified women and minorities will be considered for senior administrator positions. This will include two programmatic changes:

       1. Much like the Rooney Rule used by NFL in hiring head coaches, UT System policy will be written such that  no senior position, from Dean and above, can be filled without allowing a qualified woman or minority candidate to be interviewed all the way to the last round of the process.

       2. All institutions will submit plans to the chancellor to close the gender gap in five years, even though the gender pay gap is much smaller than the national average at UT.

5. THE UT HEALTH CARE ENTERPRISE

The University of Texas System will develop a collaborate Health Care Enterprise that leverages our size and expertise while connecting regional capabilities to deliver Texas, the country and the world the finest health care possible.

Our internationally renowned health care institutions will collaborate across functions including shared clinical information, service lines, clinical trials and telehealth. The UT System will incentivize partnerships to pool the remarkable expertise that currently exists across the network.

6. A REVOLUTION IN BRAIN HEALTH

McRaven likened a new UT System effort to understand, prevent, treat and cure diseases of the brain to the Manhattan Project. The senior population of Texas is the fastest growing and UT System hopes to address the urgency of diseases like Alzheimer’s with innovation in neurosciences.

UT institutions across the state will contribute toward scientific and clinical cooperation in addressing brain health driven by partnerships which harnesses the power of the brightest minds already researching this area.

7. THE UT NETWORK FOR NATIONAL SECURITY

UT System will establish a system-wide alliance of national security experts from more than 40 existing centers and institutes to elevate Texas as a national authority on issues of critical importance facing the world today.

UT will establish the UT Network for National Security to address the most pressing issues of modern security including cyber, biological, geopolitical and other threats.

8. EXPAND THE SCALE OF OUR STRENGTH IN HOUSTON

UT will broader its footprint in Houston to capitalize on its size, strength of institutions, and talent of the professionals in science, business, health care and the arts.

This will not be a University of Texas at Houston, but an “intellectual hub” for UT where all campuses in the System can take advantage of the value Houston offers in fields such as medicine, energy, engineering, business, aerospace, health care and the arts. The System is completing the acquisition of over 300 acres of real estate off Buffalo Point just 3.5 miles from the Texas Medical Center.