To build an even more exceptional, diverse community, we will focus on multiple initiative areas:
Student-focused initiative areas
1.1. Serve more students and learners
Serve more students to the benefit of our continually growing state and the nation
Texas is one of the fastest-growing states in the nation. That growth is driven by individuals and families who come from around the country and world seeking jobs, economic opportunities, and personal fulfillment. That growth is also occurring in communities that have not always had access to college. It coincides with rapid changes in the labor market that affect how employees work and the skills that employers seek — and creates new educational needs and opportunities for traditionally enrolled students and learners of all types.
To better serve our growing state and nation and increase our impact, we will:
- Invest in intentional growth that allows us to provide additional students and learners with the opportunity to realize their potential and change the world.
- Seek to enroll more students in high-impact, high-demand fields.
- Continue to improve on-time graduation rates, creating opportunity for more students to attend UT Austin.
- Creatively expand nontraditional avenues to UT, such as gap semesters and transfers.
- Expand continuing professional education (CPE) opportunities for the benefit of our community, state, nation, and world.
- Continue to elevate our excellence as a flagship residential university as we serve more students.
1.2. Attract and Enroll the Most Outstanding, Highest-Potential Students
Personalize and enhance our recruiting efforts to persuade more top students to apply and enroll at UT
Thousands of Texas’ and the nation’s best and highest-potential undergraduate and graduate students are admitted each year to UT and other nationally ranked schools. We must be bold in connecting with all prospective students and their families to ensure they fully understand the exceptional breadth of outstanding academic, experiential, and cultural opportunities available on the Forty Acres and across Austin.
To compel more high-potential, high-talent students to come to UT, we will:
- Create a more personalized, proactive, and tailored recruiting experience.
- Improve our use of analytics to understand where top students enroll and tailor our engagement.
- Highlight our distinctive assets — from academics and athletics offerings to campus events and lectures to our location in Austin and Texas — to illustrate the UT experience.
- Expand scholarships, honors programs, and other recognitions to attract the highest-potential prospective students.
- Expand innovative outreach and programming at the high school level to identify, develop, and support top talent and create a talent pipeline of future leaders and innovators into UT Austin.
1.3. Continue to Provide an Exceptional, Affordable Education
Keep UT cost-competitive and accessible
Across the state and around the nation, paying for college can be difficult for families, and too many students take on significant debt to earn their degrees. We will aim to keep tuition, fees, and cost of living for middle and low income families from being a significant barrier to attending and thriving at UT. We will spur upward social mobility by helping Texas students from all economic and social backgrounds come to the Forty Acres and earn degrees that will launch them into meaningful careers.
To reduce cost as a barrier to UT, we will:
- Offer more competitive financial packages to undergraduate and graduate students, including increasing need-based financial support.
- Reduce total cost of attendance by expanding affordable housing options for students.
- Transparently communicate program-specific total costs to students and guide them through financial decision-making.
1.4. Elevate Honors Programs
Strengthen and grow our honors programs to foster greater community and success
The high-talent, high-potential students in UT’s world-renowned honors programs inspire and elevate the entire campus and are an asset to Texas. When we compete for and attract the highest-potential students from the state, nation and beyond, and then enroll them in honors programs across many disciplines, we propel their progress and increase UT’s impact.
To accelerate these students’ journeys, we will:
- Elevate the status and external recognition of our honors programs.
- Grow our communities of high-performing scholars across colleges and schools and better connect them to one another in order to build community and enhance learning opportunities.
- Explore options to create new interdisciplinary honors programs, inspired by the Plan II model.
- Increase access and points of entry to honors programs for students of all backgrounds who demonstrate outstanding performance once they are at UT.
Staff-focused initiative areas
1.5. Recruit Outstanding Staff
Attract outstanding staff members who are inspired by UT’s mission
Our staff are the backbone of UT Austin. They provide critical services that underpin all university operations, research, and student experiences. When we employ the best staff members at UT and make our campus an unparalleled place to work, we increase the potential of our entire community and broaden our impact on society. Attracting and retaining talented staff members for the university has become more challenging in Austin’s fast-growing economy.
To further attract and retain even more outstanding staff members, we will:
- Become known as a top employer in higher education and the public sector by developing outstanding processes, tools, and a workplace environment that cultivates success.
- Acknowledge the cost-of-living increases in Austin and implement financial and non-financial practices to address these challenges for staff members.
- Provide more resources, community, recognition, awards, and other offerings for current and prospective staff members.
- Enhance and proactively communicate the benefits of a UT career, including UT’s higher purpose, mission, and distinctive assets to appeal to and retain top staff talent.
1.6. Be the Best Place to Work for Staff
Be a premier staff employer and career destination in Austin and Texas
UT seeks to provide its staff with a work environment where all employees are inspired, supported and valued, and are also given the chance to make a difference and advance in their careers.
To be an outstanding employer for staff, we will:
- Provide clear, consistent, and compelling career tracks and leadership paths within and across colleges, schools, and units to propel staff journeys.
- Increase access to and better communicate UT’s expansive services for personal and professional development, well-being, and exploration for staff members.
- Honor and recognize staff achievements more frequently and clearly.
- Launch a strategy to increase diversity among staff leaders.
- Strengthen community and support between faculty and staff members.
Faculty-focused initiative areas
1.7. Hire Exceptional Faculty
Attract the most accomplished and highest-potential scholars and teachers of any public research university
A great university’s impact is directly tied to the success of all faculty members in teaching students and driving knowledge and research forward. To recruit and win the competition for the top professional-track and tenure-track faculty, we must enhance and fully articulate the benefits of a UT career. For professional-track faculty, this starts by supporting, developing, acknowledging, and rewarding those who dedicate themselves to our educational mission and inspire our students. For tenured and tenure-track faculty, this means creating environments and structures that enable them to flourish in scholarly and teaching pursuits.
To continue to attract the best scholars and teachers, we will:
- Develop a university-wide faculty hiring and retention vision across titles and ranks that is directly linked to our teaching, research, impact, and DEI strategies.
- Identify, target, and recruit outstanding, established faculty members and high-potential early career scholars from around the nation and world.
- Provide more resources, financial packages, housing support, community, recognition, awards, and other offerings for current and prospective faculty members.
1.8. Be the Best Place to Work for Faculty
Be a premier employer for outstanding, high-potential faculty
We can increase the number of faculty members who attain their personal and professional potential and have the highest impact by helping them develop their talents and achieve their aspirations. As teaching and scholarship evolve and become more team-based and interdisciplinary, this success is increasingly tied to collaborating with colleagues within and across disciplines. We will leverage our role as a premier university to support professional-track, tenure-track, and tenured faculty on these paths.
To better support our faculty, we will:
- Grow community-building through mentorship and the creation of small, inclusive communities.
- Expand training programs that prepare faculty for leadership in research, university administration, and high-impact public activities.
- Increase diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging among faculty leaders to inspire the next generation of scholars and teachers, by continuing to implement the core initiatives of the UT Strategic Plan for Faculty Diversity, Equity, and Inclusivity published in 2021, as well as additional initiatives embedded in our broader Plan for an Equitable and Inclusive Campus and this holistic strategic plan for this university.
- Help scholars share their knowledge with the world and become recognized experts at the state, national, and international scales.
Initiative areas for the entire community of students, staff, faculty, and alumni
1.9. Build Inclusion, Equity, and Belonging
Advance Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging among students, staff, and faculty
As a public institution of higher learning, we are asked to serve the people of Texas and include a diversity of experiences, ideas, and identities. We also recognize that creating processes and policies that cultivate a diverse, equitable, and inclusive campus brings tangible benefits to our whole community, and our students in particular, while increasing our potential for impact. Research has shown that diverse teams think more creatively, are more productive, and produce better, more innovative outcomes, especially when each member feels they are included and belong.
UT can achieve its greatest impact only when all members of its community are provided the opportunity, experience, and education to reach their greatest potential. Our recent designations as a Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI) and Asian American Native American Pacific Islander Serving Institution (AANAPISI) highlight progress toward diversity in our student population, and our achievement of the prestigious Seal of Excelencia is another example of how we are committed to support members of our community to achieve their potential. But there is more to achieve. We continue to aim to attract talented students, staff, and faculty of all backgrounds by ensuring that we continue to draw from diverse talent sources, pursue equitable enrollment and hiring practices, and offer an inclusive environment. Especially critical is the need to ensure a climate of belonging and inclusion as we recruit, retain, and support Black and other underrepresented and underserved students, staff, and faculty. We also must continue to advance and be transparent in our DEI work with our communities of LGBTQ+ people, veterans, Native American indigenous populations, people with disabilities, and international faculty members, staff members, students, and all those from underrepresented and underserved groups.
As part of the strategic planning effort, UT has accelerated the development of a university-wide plan for an equitable and inclusive campus. Our three-year DEI Strategic Direction has been published in parallel with Change Starts Here, and our full Plan for an Equitable and Inclusive Campus will be published in the fall of 2022.
To achieve higher levels of diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging, we will:
- Build a more diverse talented community of students, staff, and faculty.
- Ensure all of our students, staff, and faculty are able to individually thrive.
- Continue to foster an inclusive, equitable campus community that embraces diversity of backgrounds and ideas and makes a positive impact on campus, the state of Texas, and beyond.
- Promote equitable access to education opportunities, experiences, research, study abroad, and career development opportunities.
- Further our efforts to create an authentic, inclusive, and accessible campus.
- Build and support a culture of belonging.
- Collaborate across campus to increase transparency of and access to DEI efforts and data.
- Create a more coordinated and connected network of DEI practice and advancement across campus.
1.10. Amplify our Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI) and Seal of Excelencia Achievement to Broaden Impact
Become the leading and most impactful HSI
UT recently met the U.S. Department of Education’s criteria to be recognized as an HSI and received the prestigious Seal of Excelencia for our intentional advancement of Latino student success. We will continue to leverage what we have learned in this process to become the highest-impact flagship research university. In addition, we will recognize the intersectional aspects of our community to better support underrepresented students, staff, and faculty as well as those with unique life experiences.
To amplify our intentional work related to our HSI status, we will:
- Fully leverage our HSI and Seal of Excelencia status to attract, retain, and support outstanding, high-potential students, staff, and faculty, and to attract grant funding that supports critical research.
- Expand our work and learnings on Latino student success and engagement to ensure all students are prepared to have the highest impact when they leave the UT campus.
- Develop a pipeline of future graduate students to advance diversity and equity across the academy.
- Build on our decades of work and experience in Latino Studies, Black Studies, Women and Gender Studies, and other programs to develop distinguished and diverse academic leaders.
1.11. Elevate Our Culture
Embrace and expand our shared Longhorn identity as a unifying force
Our distinctive identity as Longhorns will guide our commitment to excellence, inclusivity, equity, innovation, open discourse, and the free exchange of ideas, while enabling each member of our community to be their authentic self. This initiative will draw in Longhorns of all generations from across the campus and world to help define the values and behaviors that Longhorns share and to provide a foundation from which to build vital areas to support the best of our people.
To enhance and elevate our Longhorn identity and to bring people together, we will:
- Embrace and expand upon our distinctive Longhorn identity, which already engenders pride among students and their families, alumni, staff, and faculty.
- Launch an intentional, collaborative, UT community-wide dialogue and discovery on how to build upon our identity to ensure a meaningful experience for all across our Longhorn community.
- Through this dialogue and in-depth discovery, define “What it Means to Be a Longhorn” in a way that creates a sense of belonging across our diverse constituency and promotes the ambitious pursuit of excellence, inclusivity, equity, innovation, respect, and open discourse that all community members can make their own.
- Understand the values that unite our community and help to create a meaningful UT experience for each individual.
- Foster a culture of free and open discourse across and beyond campus to advance knowledge, understanding, and respectful dialogue around diverse ideas.
- Promote a growth-oriented mindset that enables our students, faculty, and staff to be intrepid in their pursuit of knowledge and impact.
- Imbue our UT Austin “burnt orange” spirit throughout the Forty Acres — from academics to athletics, from research labs to residence halls — and draw on it to enhance each of our strategic goals and increase our impact.
Alumni-focused initiative areas
1.12. Engage Longhorns for Life
Inspire and engage the greatest alumni in the world
More than a half-million living alumni demonstrate the value and power of a UT education and experience to the state, nation, and world every day. Our Texas Exes are diverse, vibrant, and committed to the university’s mission and success. We have an unparalleled opportunity to strengthen the bonds between alumni and the UT community that amplify our impact and support our ambition to attract the most annual donors of any public university.
To more fully engage the alumni community, we will:
- Integrate Longhorn values into student and alumni experiences and programs to create a common bond and set of expectations of “Longhorns for Life.”
- Expand and strengthen our vibrant career, mentorship, and networking community using tools such as HookedIn.
- Expand our social media following among alumni to increase their awareness of our impact and the connectivity of our community.
- Engage more alumni in a broader set of lifelong cultural enrichment, continuing education, and service opportunities.
- Connect our alumni passions and philanthropic pursuits to unlock the potential of our students and faculty.
- Aspire to be on the cutting edge of engagement, leveraging technology to connect alumni to the university, to one another, and to our students, staff, and faculty.
How We Will Measure Our Success
To attract and develop an even more exceptional, inclusive community of Longhorns, we will focus on a series of specific goals:
Students – Attract outstanding, high-potential students
- Grow undergraduate and Continuing Professional Education enrollment to better serve Texans and the nation
- Improve yield rate for undergraduate, graduate, and professional students while continuing to elevate our standards
- Reduce student debt-to-income ratio for undergraduate, graduate, and professional students
Staff – Attract outstanding, high-potential staff and be known as a top public sector employer in Texas
- Earn recognition as a top higher education and public sector employer from Forbes, Glassdoor, or other workplace rating organizations
- Increase yield rate among staff members who receive competitive employment offers while continuing to elevate our standards
- Improve staff retention rates
- Succeed in establishing supportive financial and non-financial practices competitive with other mission-based higher education and public employers
Faculty – Attract outstanding, high-potential faculty to Texas
- Increase yield rate among leading faculty who receive competing offers while continuing to elevate our standards
- Improve faculty retention rates
- Succeed in establishing supportive financial and non-financial practices in line with public peer universities
Alumni – Engage Longhorns for life, personally and professionally
- Expand social media following among alumni
- Attract more annual donors than any public university in the nation
- Increase alumni engagement of all types, including direct engagement and support of UT programs and students
UT Community – Create a distinctive UT culture
- Complete and publish an updated university-wide Plan for an Equitable and Inclusive Campus by fall 2022 that supersedes the current DEI Action Plan, builds upon the new DEI Strategic Direction, and creates clear measures of success for diversity, equity, and inclusion
- Achieve the commitments established in our Plan for an Equitable and Inclusive Campus and the UT Strategic Plan for Faculty Diversity, Equity, and Inclusivity
- Define UT’s cultural aspiration, including “what it means to be a Longhorn,” and embed this across our community