Preparing for the Future, Grateful for Our Campus Community
This week, as UT administers the first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine in Austin to front-line health care workers, we know that we feel a new sense of optimism even while a “return to normal” seems far off.
Changes to University Leadership Team
Today, I wanted to share with you four leadership changes and a new initiative that are designed to help us achieve our shared goals.
Finishing Strong for the Fall Semester
With the end of the fall semester upon us, I wanted to check in and wish you my very best as you prepare for finals and complete papers.
UT Provost Search Committee Announced
I am pleased to announce that the Provost Search Advisory Committee held its initial meeting Friday. As the university’s chief academic officer, the provost has an essential role in advancing excellence in teaching, research, undergraduate and graduate education, and in the recruitment and retention of faculty members.
Preparing for a Safe Holiday Season
As we near the end of the fall semester, I wanted to update you on the impact of COVID-19 on the Forty Acres and our plans and recommendations for staying safe through the holiday season.
Announcing UT’s First VP, Chief Marketing and Communications Officer
It is my pleasure to let you know that Emily Reagan has accepted my offer to serve as the university’s first Vice President and Chief Marketing and Communications Officer. She will start in this new role on November 9...
Changing the World for Those Who Stutter
Today, I’m very proud to announce the establishment of the Arthur M. Blank Center for Stuttering Education and Research, which will be an overarching center to expand the vision and work of Dr. Courtney Byrd...
Free Speech Week at UT
In a few days, individuals and organizations across the nation will come together to celebrate Free Speech Week. At UT, I have asked colleges, schools, departments and centers across the Forty Acres to get involved and host events, panels, discussions and activities to recognize the underlying significance of our First Amendment rights in enabling the profound teaching, research and public service that define our university.
Sad News Regarding the Loss of a Staff Member to COVID-19
Today, I received the very sad and painful news that one of our staff members passed away after a short battle with COVID-19.
Meaningful Conversations and Actions
...during the coming months, I plan to engage our campus in discussions about our culture as a university and the shared values that define how we interact with one another. And I will work collectively with you to establish a vision for UT to continue changing the world for generations to come.
Provost Search to Begin
As you know, our Vice President for Research Daniel Jaffe has been serving as Provost ad interim since the spring, providing strong leadership and vision for the university. Dr. Jaffe is expecting to return to his VP role in the coming months, which has always been his plan.
UT Earns Seal of Excelencia
This morning, The University of Texas at Austin was recognized nationally for our ongoing efforts to support Latino students — a reflection of the great work of so many dedicated members of our community.
Testing Update and Spring Semester
I am reaching out today both to provide you with some updates on how the semester is unfolding so far and how we’re planning to approach the spring 2021 semester, and also to ask for your help. Specifically, we have an updated and streamlined process for Proactive Community Testing...
The Honor of a Lifetime
During the past four months, I’ve had the privilege to serve as UT’s interim President as we’ve worked through challenges and changes that have no precedent in modern memory.
Staying Safe On and Off Campus
As you have returned to campus in recent days, there have been countless examples of courteous and compassionate behavior by Longhorns who have stepped up to Protect Texas Together as we navigate the COVID-19 crisis.
I want to take a moment today — the first day of classes for this fall semester — to talk about what is precedented at The University of Texas: incredible learning opportunities, life-changing teaching and a sense of spirit and common purpose unlike any other.
COVID-19 Testing and Plans for the Fall
On Wednesday, the fall semester officially begins. So many members of our university community have worked tirelessly to get us to this point, but I know a great deal of uncertainty still looms as we aim to carry forward our vital learning, teaching and research missions during these difficult times.
More Plans for the Fall Semester
We’re just a week away from the start of classes, and I want to update you on additional plans and resources for the fall semester and some of the efforts we’re making to keep our students, staff and faculty safe.
Getting Ready for the Fall Semester
Thousands of UT faculty and staff members are hard at work preparing for the start of the fall semester. Many students are beginning to return to Austin for on-campus learning, while many others are setting up for immersive remote learning at home.
COVID-19 Testing for Fall Semester
We are writing you today to share the university’s comprehensive testing strategy for COVID-19 during the fall semester, which is only a few weeks away. Robust and rigorous testing will be needed to monitor and limit the presence of COVID-19 on our campus and keep our community members as safe as possible as we continue to navigate the pandemic.
Fall 2020 Planning Update | July 29
It’s hard to believe, but we’re only a month away from the start of the fall semester. I know that this summer break has been anything but ordinary.
A More Diverse and Welcoming Campus
During the past month, I have listened to — and spoken with — scores of students about how The University of Texas at Austin can promote diversity, inclusion and equity and fully support our Black students.
UT Staff Member Dies from COVID-19
Last night, I received extremely sad news confirming the COVID-19-related death of one of our custodial services team members. This loss is absolutely devastating to me, as I know it is to so many members of our campus community.
Fall 2020 Reopening Plans
Today, the university is releasing key elements of our plan for the fall semester, which will include online, hybrid and in-person learning options for students. Our goal is to create an environment that is as safe as possible for all community members, while reigniting the learning, teaching and research that make our university the world-changing place that it is.
Fall 2020 Planning Update | June 23
As we move along into the final days of June, the university continues to solidify our plans for the fall. We are keeping a close eye on COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations in Austin and across Texas, which have been on the rise in recent weeks.
As many of you are aware, tomorrow is Juneteenth — which since 1865, has been widely celebrated as the official date marking the end of slavery in the United States. This holiday has deep Texas ties and, in fact, can be traced to the arrival of Union soldiers in Galveston on June 19, 1865.
Fall 2020 Planning Update | June 17
I know that many of you have been following the recent uptick in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations in Austin and across Texas, and you are concerned about what it will mean for you, your families, our community and UT.
Listening Closely and Moving Forward Together
During the past few days, I have heard from many students, alumni, faculty and staff asking for meaningful changes to promote diversity and equity and ensure that black students at UT are fully supported. It is important, first, for me to listen closely — and then to work with the entire community to develop a plan to move the university forward.
Fall 2020 Planning Update | June 12
I am asking the leadership in all units across campus to look closely at the vital roles each staff member plays; assess what functions can still be done at a high level remotely through the summer and into the fall; determine what other roles should be brought back to campus once many of our students and faculty members return; and make phased decisions about when offices can safely reopen in person.
Fall 2020 Planning Update | June 8
As we move along into the summer months, the university continues to solidify its plans for our reopening, and today, I wanted to share some additional updates...You can review all of our decisions regarding learning, living, working, health and wellness, research and athletics at our Fall 2020 planning website.
Fall 2020 Planning Update | June 3
The university continues to plan for the fall semester, when we will return to campus and continue the learning, teaching and research that has defined this great university for 137 years. Today, I’d like to share a few key updates with you about our summer and fall plans.
Turbulent and Difficult Times
Now more than ever, I see that the creation and dissemination of knowledge are the most effective antidotes for injustice, inequality and intolerance, and for the advancement and improvement of our society. And that’s what we do at UT.
Fall 2020 Planning Update | May 20
The fall semester will begin as scheduled on August 26, and classes will run until Thanksgiving. Students will not return after Thanksgiving and, instead, will participate in reading days and final exams remotely. With COVID-19 still expected to be active this fall, we hope to avoid the possibility of students becoming infected during the Thanksgiving break and then spreading the virus to classmates upon their return after Thanksgiving.
Second Phase of Financial Mitigation Measures
Today, we are announcing the next phase of financial mitigation measures. Revenue-generating units will now be directed to develop new financial plans with the Provost’s and CFO’s offices to contain costs where needed.
Fall 2020 Planning Update | May 12
As we near the end of the spring semester, the university has established six working groups to plan for the upcoming fall semester...Below, you will find a brief summary from each of the working groups, followed by additional news and policy announcements. We plan to regularly provide you with similar updates in the weeks ahead.
Celebrating the Last Day of Class
To all UT students — you have truly made the best of a crisis that no Longhorns have ever had to endure before, and you did it with all of the spirit and passion that has defined our university for over 130 years. We couldn’t be prouder.
Fall Planning Update
The university leadership team is currently coordinating six campus-wide working groups — focused on Academics, Health and Wellness, Student Life, Operations, Research, and Athletics — to develop strategies for the fall. Their insights and recommendations will shape the specific decisions we make about how to safely open the Forty Acres.
New UT Leadership Start Dates
Earlier this month, Chairman Kevin Eltife of the UT System Board of Regents and Chancellor James B. Milliken announced that Jay Hartzell — Dean of the McCombs School of Business — will serve as interim President of The University of Texas at Austin. I am writing to let you know that Dean Hartzell will begin in that role on June 1.
Texas Reopening Order
For the coming weeks, UT will continue to operate in its current mode. We will maintain online learning and limited on-campus operations for now, as we have since mid-March. Those employees who have been working remotely should continue to do so. In addition, we are assessing how we can reopen more research laboratories and will keep you updated on those decisions.
Planning for the Fall Semester
We know that this is a semester like no other. It has been challenging and uncertain. Yet what every Longhorn also knows is that our community of students, faculty and staff is also like no other. Your imagination, spirit, energy and passion are leading us forward, and we sincerely thank you for all that you are doing for The University of Texas.
Summer Instruction and Other Mitigation Plans
For now, unfortunately, the spread of COVID-19 persists, and we are beginning to understand the economic ramifications. University leaders – with input from student leaders, faculty members and staff members – are developing plans to address the uncertainty.
Mitigation Plans During COVID-19 Crisis
For now, unfortunately, the spread of COVID-19 persists, and we are beginning to understand the economic ramifications. University leaders – with input from faculty members, students and staff members – are developing mitigation plans that will be needed because we anticipate both reduced revenue for the university and increased emergency needs for students.
A Leadership Announcement from President Fenves and Dean Jay Hartzell
This afternoon, University of Texas System Board of Regents Chairman Kevin Eltife announced that the Board and Chancellor James B. Milliken have selected Jay Hartzell — Dean of the McCombs School of Business — as interim President of The University of Texas at Austin.