2007 Reaffirmation Teams
3.1.1 - 2007 Reaffirmation Teams
The institution has a clear and comprehensive mission statement that guides it; is approved by the governing board; is periodically reviewed by the board; and is communicated to the institution's constituencies.
The University of Texas at Dallas (UT Dallas) has a clear and comprehensive mission statement that has received the approval of its governing board, that guides the activities and planning of the institution, and that is widely disseminated to the university’s constituents. UT Dallas is a member of The University of Texas (UT System) and is governed by the UT System Board of Regents. Chapter 65 of the Texas Education Code (TEC) codifies authority for administration of the UT System and its Board of Regents . Section 65.11 of the TEC designates the Board of Regents as the governing body of the UT System .
Section 61.0511 of the TEC requires every higher education institution to write a mission statement that deals specifically with teaching, research, and service . UT Dallas’ current mission statement emerged from an intensive and inclusive process , initiated in 2005 by the new president (President David Daniel) upon assuming office, which involved the university’s major stakeholders and over 200 faculty, staff, and students: “The University of Texas at Dallas serves the Metroplex and the State of Texas as a global leader in innovative, high quality science, engineering, and business education and research. The University is committed to (1) producing engaged graduates, prepared for life, work, and leadership in a constantly changing world, (2) advancing excellent educational and research programs in the natural and social sciences, engineering and technology, management, and the liberal, creative, and practical arts, and (3) transforming ideas into actions that directly benefit the personal, economic, social, and cultural lives of the citizens of Texas .”
The UT System Board of Regents approved the mission statement on June 2, 2006 . The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board approved the new UT Dallas Mission Statement on October 26, 2006 . At the recommendation of SACS Vice President Rudy Jackson, the mission statement from the strategic plan was sent to SACS President Belle Wheelan . Dr. Wheelan deemed the revision of the mission statement as a non-substantive change .
The mission statement drove the entire strategic planning process and helped to establish UT Dallas’ goals to become “a first-rank public research university with focused centers of excellence, prepared to meet the challenges of a rapidly changing, technology-driven global society; a global force in innovative, transdisciplinary research and education in emerging areas of technology, science, and learning; a ground-breaking leader in both framing and answering the questions faced by business, policy makers, healthcare, and the public; a synergistic partner with local industry, government, and cultural organizations as well as local K-12 schools, community colleges, and universities; and one of the most creative, innovative universities in the nation and world .”
The mission statement also framed the discussion of strategic initiatives that UT Dallas would undertake to achieve these goals and fulfill its mission to serve the region and the state and to become a global leader in education and research. The strategic plan contains six transdisciplinary initiatives that involve multiple schools: “1. Discovering Tomorrow’s Inventions Today; 2. Preparing Students for Tomorrow’s Challenges; 3. Managing Change in a Constantly Changing Society; 4. Securing the Safety of the Future; 5. Improving the Health and Quality of Life of Individuals and Society; and 6. Making a Great City Even Greater.” These six initiatives are interlocked and deliberately overlap each other, and they are designed to involve the entire UT Dallas community. Each spring, the president reports the progress towards bringing these initiatives to fruition at annual state of the university addresses for faculty, staff, and students.
As discussed in the response to Principle 2.5 , each UT Dallas school aligned their missions with the revised university mission and wrote their own strategic plans to fulfill their missions. To ensure that the schools succeed, individual programs have developed mission statements, objectives, and measures. UT Dallas’ web based assessment tool is used annually to track the success of those programs. As part of the process, each program uses AT6 to link its objectives to specific initiatives in the current strategic plan . Furthermore, UT System has established a Compact Process that requires component universities to develop “written agreements between the Chancellor and Presidents of the component institutions that summarize major goals, priorities, strategic directions, and specific tactics to achieve its goals” related to the university’s mission . To date, UT Dallas has completed three compacts 2004 , 2005 , and 2006  and is in the process of completing its fourth compact .
Because the strategic plan and, therefore, the mission statement that generated the plan’s initiatives are important elements in the assessment process at UT Dallas, the mission statement is also used in the budgeting process  as discussed in the response to Principle 2.11.1  as well as in degree program requests  .
The strategic plan is a living document and is under constant review to ensure that it is fulfilling the mission of the university, and the mission statement will remain under constant review. Indeed, the THECB requires that “[a]s provided by Texas Education Code, 61.051(e), at least every four years the Board shall review the role and mission statements, the table of programs and all degree and certificate programs offered by each public senior university or health related institution. Requests for preliminary authority for new degree programs shall be presented as part of this review. The review shall include the participation of the institution’s board of regents .” The next review is scheduled for November 1, 2007 .
In order to communicate UT Dallas’ mission to its constituents, UT Dallas publishes the mission statement in its graduate catalog  and undergraduate catalog , on the university website , in its strategic plan , and in multiple printed and electronic documents such as fact brochures  and fact websites .