UT mascot, Hook 'Em, in the middle of a large crowd of new students during Gone to Texas event

“The UT experience also expands far beyond campus through the vibrant culture that permeates Austin...”

Strategic Plan - Pursuits: Experiences

Pursuits: Experiences

Changing the world through transformative experiences

As the flagship, residential, public research university in Texas, we are committed to generating life-changing experiences for students, faculty, and staff that will transform them as individuals, help them forge lasting personal relationships and connections with the university, and launch their journeys to change the world.

These experiences will draw from and support our high-potential, high-talent people and the dynamism, growth, and opportunity that stem from our place in Austin and Texas.

For many Texas students, the UT experience begins long before they apply to college — when they watch a Longhorns game, take a field trip to a campus museum or concert, or learn through a dual enrollment course in high school. For other students, it begins with their first virtual or physical admissions tour or when they arrive on the Forty Acres. For all new students, the UT experience continues when they attend New Student Orientation, Gone to Texas, and Longhorn Welcome, hallmark traditions that bond students together.

The UT experience is multi-faceted. It is grounded in the classroom, studio, laboratory, and stage, where students and faculty members meet in person to learn, create, discover, and drive knowledge forward. It is strengthened in campus lawns, dorm halls, stadiums, and bleachers, where students connect and make lifelong friendships and memories. The UT experience also expands far beyond campus through the vibrant culture that permeates Austin and a host of experiential learning and service opportunities spanning the globe.

The UT experience also includes a vast array of supportive communities, affinity groups, and experiences that fire students’ imaginations, inspire and support them, and make it possible for a large school to provide a nurturing community where diverse individuals from all backgrounds feel they are included and belong.

The experience is enabled by more than 1,100 student organizations and dozens of staff and faculty interest groups. Moving forward, it will also be driven by reimagined residence halls, recreation centers, and learning and research spaces. And it will be elevated by our impressive libraries and collections, including the Visual Arts Center, the Briscoe Center for American History, and others that bring people together for unforgettable cultural explorations.

Longhorns Athletics is central to this sense of community. Our student-athletes have won more than 60 national championships since 1949. They have inspired generations of students and alumni who return each spring and fall to cheer on the Longhorns in world-class venues, including the newly renovated Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium and newly built Moody Center.

A world-class university such as UT should not just be a great school for students to attend or alumni to visit, but also an inspiring place for faculty and staff to work — a place where all employees feel valued, understand how their work advances the overall mission, and can build a fulfilling career. It must have a culture and systems that enhance the experiences of employees and provide long-term opportunities for growth and success.

For UT students, staff, faculty, and alumni, their experiences at UT will ignite a sense of belonging and purpose. They will propel community members’ individual passions and journeys when they leave campus and connect with one another and UT as Longhorns for Life. As we reflect on our responsibility as a public flagship university, the UT experience will also instill an ethos of service to campus and community that magnifies UT as the highest-impact public research university in the world.

Initiative Areas

To create and foster student, staff, faculty, and alumni experiences that elevate UT Austin’s impact, we will focus on multiple initiative areas:

Student-focused initiative areas

3.1. Support the Whole Student

Support every UT student as a “whole person” so they excel in the classroom, career, and life

For students to reach their fullest potential at UT and beyond, they must have every opportunity to succeed academically, discover and pursue their passions, and lead lives that are physically, mentally, socially, and emotionally healthy. We have both an opportunity and an imperative to wholly support our students throughout their journeys in a way that reflects each student’s unique needs.

To ensure our students are wholly supported, we will:

  • Explore and implement improved processes and supporting technology in academic advising, physical and mental health care, and other high-impact services that enable best practices.
  • Enhance career services across UT to help students discover their passions and to propel them onto their life journeys.
  • Integrate and standardize services across colleges, schools, units, and campus life, and offer them at every touchpoint to ensure student success at UT and beyond.
  • Ensure these services meet the needs of students from diverse races and ethnicities, sexual orientations, ability levels, backgrounds, and beliefs.

Staff-focused initiative areas

3.2. Enhance Staff Opportunities

Enhance and support the professional development of staff and provide opportunities for rewarding career journeys and experiences

Every event, organization, and educational endeavor at UT is supported by dedicated staff members who ensure that the university can achieve excellence and impact. We will elevate these staff members’ experiences by improving the operational processes and systems that affect their daily workflow and by enhancing our community and culture so that our staff members feel more valued and motivated and see the university as a truly inspiring place to work.

To propel staff members along their journeys, we will:

  • Define, offer, and enhance meaningful professional development, training, advising, and mentorship opportunities for staff that will foster career growth, leadership, and skill development.
  • Establish well-coordinated, multi-year career pathways for staff members that cut across colleges, schools, and units, including opportunities for staff to upskill and move across career functions with greater consistency across colleges, schools, and units (CSUs).
  • Train our employees who manage people, both staff and faculty, to be inspiring and supportive leaders and mentors.
  • Promote a culture that values personal growth, holistic well-being, and community building within and across staff and faculty.
  • Nurture, recognize, and celebrate the many functions performed by staff that meaningfully impact our students, university, and community.

Faculty-focused initiative areas

3.3. Propel Faculty Forward

Propel faculty members on inspiring, meaningful, and fulfilling career journeys

Dedicated UT faculty members spend their careers teaching students; pursuing high-impact research, scholarship, and the creative arts; serving the university; and informing the public. Our ability to become the highest-impact public research university in the world requires us to nurture and inspire these talented people on their journeys so they can reach their full potential in each of these realms.

To propel faculty of all titles and ranks along their journeys, we will:

  • Define, offer, and enhance professional experiences, development opportunities, and formal mentorship and training programs that will foster career growth, leadership, and skill development while amplifying our faculty’s impact on students, the university, and society.
  • Nurture, recognize, and celebrate the many functions performed by faculty members who yield meaningful impact for our students, university, and community.
  • More proactively support faculty to gain local, national, and global recognition and awards that propel their journeys, opportunities, and impact.
  • For professional-track faculty: enhance support for teaching, identify and establish attractive career paths, reinforce supportive communities, and increase consistency in their roles.
  • For tenured faculty: launch a university-wide sabbatical program to amplify creativity, research, and innovation.

University-wide initiative areas

3.4. Nurture Small Communities

Make UT feel more like home by strengthening our small, supportive communities

UT’s scale, size, and offerings provide life-changing experiences and opportunities — but can also be intimidating and hard to navigate, especially for newcomers to the Forty Acres. We will enhance and expand small supportive communities, affinity groups, and experiences that enable UT to combine the best of a large-scale public research university with the personal attention and sense of belonging of a small community. These efforts will help students, staff, faculty, and alumni from all backgrounds, experiences, viewpoints, and geographies receive support, make connections, and find a sense of belonging at UT.

In order to strengthen our communities, we will:

  • Expand opportunities for students, faculty, and staff to connect with one another and forge supportive relationships when they join the UT community.
  • Strengthen and grow communities and relationships around common areas of interest or study, residence life, work life, community service, athletics, and shared values.
  • Enhance resources to enable students, faculty, staff, and alumni to navigate and access community groups and events.
  • Foster new, exciting experiences across and beyond campus that create a sense of belonging and reinforce UT values.

3.5. Live the Longhorn Life

Enhance and enrich defining Longhorn experiences as a unifying force

From orientation and Gone to Texas to the Red River Rivalry and Texas Revue, generations of Longhorns have embraced community experiences that forge a collective identity and bond. These defining experiences are often a hallmark of life at UT and empower many students’ personal transformations and journeys.

To enhance defining Longhorn experiences, we will:

  • Establish the Forty Acres as a hub for music, the arts, intellectual discourse, science, technology, and culture.
  • Create memorable, shared experiences for UT community members to celebrate personal and community milestones together.
  • Create more transformational experiences that leverage the iconic Longhorn brand on campus, across Austin, and throughout Texas and the nation, building upon and going beyond our excellence and community in athletics.
  • Increase visibility of and access to defining Longhorn experiences to engage a larger and more diverse swath of the UT community.

3.6. Serve the World

Instill an ethos and expectation of serving our communities and changing the world

As the state’s flagship public university, UT has a core mission to serve the community and improve lives in Austin, across Texas, and around the nation and world. This mission must start on campus and continue beyond the Forty Acres, empowering Longhorns of all backgrounds, viewpoints, and geographies to change the world and elevate their communities throughout their lives.

To elevate our service mission, we will:

  • Establish a culture of service throughout the university.
  • Encourage students, staff, faculty, and alumni to create and participate in meaningful public service projects that drive positive impacts in all of our communities.
  • Increase the integration of experiential service learning in our academic programs.
  • Promote and incentivize research and scholarship that engage with communities to address societal challenges.
  • Support, acknowledge, and reward the service contributions of our community members.

3.7. Athletics as a Front Porch

Reinforce athletics as a “front porch” to build community and support the university’s mission

Texas Athletics’ tradition of excellence has attracted and inspired generations of Longhorns and created lifelong personal bonds with the university and university community through exceptional opportunities and experiences. As one of many entry points to the university, our globally recognized athletics program welcomes people from all backgrounds and from all over the world to engage with, learn about, and support the university and its endeavors, and powerfully reflects, supports, and projects UT’s overall excellence.

To reinforce Texas Athletics as an entry point to the university and a unifying force for the community, we will:

  • Continue to strive for excellence for our athletics programs, student-athletes, coaches, staff members and fans.
  • Expand our programs to support student-athletes during their time on campus and in their future careers.
  • Connect our vast community of students, faculty, staff, and alumni to Longhorns fans from across Texas and the nation around a shared vision of excellence.
  • Leverage athletics events to promote the best experiences that UT offers and celebrate our athletic, academic, cultural, and social accomplishments.
  • Reinforce and improve UT’s relationships and partnerships within the community and across Texas through athletics.
  • Scale the model of athletics as a unifying force and entry point to UT to other areas of the university, including our cultural assets and events.

3.8. Deliver Operational Excellence

Deliver operational excellence at every touchpoint

To create and support campus experiences that will transform lives for the benefit of society, UT’s administrative and operational functions must be world-class. We have made meaningful progress in elevating our performance in these areas. But we still have significant work to modernize and simplify our processes, tools, and capabilities; deliver outstanding experiences for students, alumni, and community members; and create a positive work environment for faculty and staff.

In order to drive operational excellence, we will:

  • Improve processes, capabilities, and systems across administrative functions, including in procurement, human resources, finance, and other areas to better support UT’s mission and elevate campus life and experiences.
  • Improve coordination across the university to bring best practices and standardization to critical areas.

3.9. Modernize Information Technology

Modernize our technology and data operations

The most successful organizations of our times are those that leverage data and technology to make informed decisions for the future and simplify the experience for constituents. We are a university at the cutting edge of technological innovation, big data, artificial intelligence, and machine learning, and we have an unprecedented opportunity to apply these insights and capabilities to our own campus.

To enhance our technology capabilities and simplify our operations, we will:

  • Transform and modernize UT’s information technology strategy, infrastructure, systems, processes, and data to achieve our mission more effectively and efficiently.
  • Improve the student, faculty, staff, and alumni experience by creating a seamless, supportive, and interactive academic and administrative experience that fully leverages technology.
  • Implement technology solutions and related processes to enable effective, data-driven decision-making and improve learning, research, and operational outcomes across the university.
  • Enhance the security of our data and systems with a combination of technology deployment, standards, and proactive monitoring across the university.
  • Improve technology support and technology-enabled infrastructure to accelerate and amplify ambitious research, scholarship, and creative arts.

How we will measure our success

To ensure we are fostering the most impactful UT experiences, we will focus on a series of specific goals:

Increase student and alumni engagement

  • Increase share of students who recommend being a student at UT
  • Increase share of students involved in university clubs, organizations, or membership activities
  • Increase share of students who engage in community or public service
  • Increase first-year retention rate
  • Increase share of alumni who recommend attending UT as a place to learn and grow

Propel staff passion and journeys

  • Increase share of staff who recommend working at UT
  • Improve staff access to and satisfaction with mentorship on campus
  • Improve staff retention rates
  • Elevate stories of staff impact and service in the community

Improve faculty satisfaction

  • Increase share of faculty who recommend working at UT
  • Improve faculty access to and satisfaction with mentorship on campus
  • Improve faculty retention rates
  • Elevate stories of faculty impact and service in the community

Ignite a sense of belonging university-wide and improve university operations

  • Define UT’s cultural aspiration, including “what it means to be a Longhorn,” and embed this across our community
  • Increase share of students, faculty, and staff who are aware of UT’s values and feel personally connected to those values
  • Define our strategy and road map to transform and modernize UT’s IT infrastructure, systems, data, processes, and governance, and successfully deliver on the plan
  • Increase satisfaction with central UT services (e.g., IT, HR, procurement) across students, staff, and faculty