University of Texas at Austin: UT Will Be World’s Most Impactful Public Research University Through New Strategic Plan

The University of Texas at Austin is launching a bold and unprecedented 10-year strategic plan — called Change Starts Here — to become the world’s highest-impact public research university.

“Now is the time for our university to turn ‘What starts here changes the world’ from a statement into a call to action, as we set a bold but wholly achievable aspiration,” said President Jay Hartzell, who initiated the strategic planning process shortly after becoming UT’s 30th president in 2020, recognizing the pace of change and the opportunities that presents.

Change Starts Here was developed during the past year with thousands of students, staffers, faculty members and alumni providing input through more than 275 group sessions, focus groups and interviews, and 1,500 survey responses. It calls on all UT community members to work collectively and leverage the university’s size and scale to implement more than 40 initiatives — all built on five core pillars that will increase UT’s impact across our campus community, as well as our city, state, nation and world.

As part of the strategic plan, UT is also developing a three-year diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) action plan to foster belonging and create an even stronger community. You Belong Here: UT’s Plan for an Equitable and Inclusive Campus will be released this fall.

“This Plan for an Equitable and Inclusive Campus builds upon the university’s strengths in diversity, equity and inclusion yet encourages us to reach even higher,” said LaToya Smith, vice president for diversity and community engagement. “It reflects an honest assessment of where we are and a commitment to attracting world-class talent from all backgrounds to a campus where everyone feels they belong.”

UT was chartered by the Texas Constitution of 1876 to be a “university of the first class.” Today, it has 52,000 students, 20,000 faculty and staff members, and more than a half-million living alumni. And it is already one of the top universities in the world, ranked consistently among the top 10 public universities in the nation and recently as the 31st university globally.

Change Starts Here is built around five strategic pillars that provide specific direction for an even more impactful future. They are:

People

Serve more students and learners.
Cover more of their financial need.
Aggressively pursue outstanding, high-potential students, faculty and staff.
Achieve the objectives of a new, three-year DEI plan.
Engage UT graduates for life.
Place

Embrace and enrich the spirit of Austin and Texas.
Strengthen UT’s leadership in health, entrepreneurship and innovation, talent development, scholarship, and the arts.
Simplify and promote new avenues for partners to collaborate with the university.
Take advantage of and reimagine elements of UT’s campus.
Experiences

Deliver exceptional, transformative experiences for students, staff, faculty and alumni.
Offer a vibrant residential campus environment.
Provide holistic support to all students, staff and faculty.
Create more small communities and shared campuswide experiences.
Deliver operational excellence at every touchpoint.
Education

Drive educational transformation through new degrees, interdisciplinary education, innovation in pedagogy, and increased linkage between learning and research.
Enhance support for academic success for students at all levels.
Strategically expand lifelong learning and Continuing Professional Education offerings.
Research

Lead the world in research at scale in three broad areas of importance to Texas and the world, while also finding new ways to teach more students about these critical areas.
Propel the leading edge of Technology and Society research.
Lead the nation in Energy and Environment research.
Drive research in Health and Well-Being that transforms quality of care and life.
The strategic planning process was chaired by three faculty members with decades of experience as professors and administrators: Professors Lauren Ancel Meyers from the College of Natural Sciences, Bobby Chesney from the School of Law and Richard Flores from the College of Liberal Arts, who also serves as a deputy to the president. It was overseen by an Advisory Committee comprising leaders from across the university.

To ensure success, specific university leaders will be designated to lead each initiative area. They will be guided by a focused and collaborative Transformation Support Office within the Office of the President.

The strategic plan and resulting impact will also be enabled through UT’s ongoing capital campaign, called What Starts Here, which has a similarly audacious goal that is tied for the largest ever for a public university in the U.S.

“UT is the education, research and health care engine of the most dynamic city in the most thriving state. Now, we have the chance to do even more to change lives, power social mobility, and solve great challenges by creating impact at a scale that few other universities can match,” Hartzell said. “We must audaciously elevate our ambitions while reinforcing our core commitment to UT’s mission and values.”

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