Spotlight on Dean Porter

By Bonnie Cole

Dean W. Arthur “Skip” Porter became Associate Dean for Innovation and Science Enterprise last September. His plans for UT are to encourage students to follow their own path and use their intellectual skills for their own good. He received his Bachelor’s and Master’s in physics at The University of North Texas and a Ph.D. in engineering at A&M. He then served as a professor of molecular engineering at A&M until becoming the founding president of the Houston Advanced Research Center (HARC). HARC was created as a way to get Texans, specifically students and faculty from A&M, UT, Rice University, and the University of Houston involved in large engineering projects. It was also designed to help move technology to the marketplace.

Photo credit Texas Science

Currently, Dean Porter is working on developing a course sequence designed to help students understand the importance of intellectual capital and give them more information about marketing their own ideas. Instead of solely teaching students about how to apply to jobs, Dean Porter desires for students to learn how to create jobs in the marketplace of today using technology and their own intellect. Besides this new course sequence, Dean Porter is also the faculty sponsor for a new organization, the CNS Entrepreneurial Society ( This organization’s first entrepreneurial forum will be April 12, 2012, in Welch Hall from 2:00-3:30 p.m. The forum will feature prominent Austin businessmen discussing the entrepreneurial process and how they have gained success. Aside from all of this, Dean Porter is the acting director of the UT Marine Science Institute and, as hobbies, enjoys fly fishing and the outdoors in general. Dean Porter advises students to dream big and do everything with integrity (this is, in fact, his favorite word). He also says that, until you know who you are and are comfortable with yourself, you won’t really know what your passions are and you won’t be able to dream big! He challenges those around him to describe their life in five words. What would your words be?

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