Written by PEARL XIN
This year around UT’s birthday, on September 12, 2013, President Bill Powers delivered the State of the University Address, detailing our growth, our challenges, and our plans for the coming years.
Our world rank
Despite economic downturns, UT has held its own in tumultuous times, ranking in 25th place on the London based Times for Higher Education in the world. With a much lower tuition than our private institutional peers around us on the leaderboard, UT offers an exceptional education at a low cost to Texas residents. Nationally ranked top 25 programs at UT have grown 25%, reflecting the excellence of our students and faculty.
Our financial situation
That being said, the University of Texas at Austin retains one of the lowest resources to student ratio among our peer institutions. It’s incredible what we have been able to accomplish with so little, but the fact remains that we must continually make efforts to improve our efficiency in operation and our use of technology as a tool for improving the efficacy of higher education.
In the face our challenges, President Powers identifies the recruitment and retention of quality professors as a top priority. Resources are needed to recruit top faculty candidates from around the nation, and we must remain a competitive employer in the face of increasingly tough rivals.
What, then, is our role as students? How can we help with the challenges we face as a university and as a result, benefit ourselves and our peers?
The first step in improving faculty-student affairs is open communication of our appreciation for all that the faculty contributes. Two opportunities open to CNS students now and in the near future are:
1. 2014 Jean Holloway Award for Teaching Excellence in Liberal Arts or Natural Sciences (deadline is November 1st)
Build your faculty-student relationship
Be proactive in attending office hours (you’ve heard this many times before), and learn from the faculty in areas both in and out of the classroom. Gauge how formal your faculty wants your faculty-student relationship to be (not all professors are constantly official, nor do all of them want to be chummy), and use that foundation to learn from experienced and qualified professionals in their field. Faculty will appreciate your input and curiosity, and you might find a lifetime mentor to guide you in your steps in college and beyond. As longhorns, we have amazing human resources here at the University and it is up to the students to make the most of them.
Link to video and transcript of President Power’s State of the University Address: