2007 Reaffirmation Teams
3.4.2 - 2007 Reaffirmation Teams
The institution's continuing education, outreach, and service programs are consistent with the institution's mission.
Although The University of Texas at Dallas (UT Dallas) does not have an office of continuing education or traditional continuing education classes, the outreach and service programs at UT Dallas are not only consistent with but also integral to the university’s mission and strategic planning. UT Dallas’ commitment to professional and community outreach and service stems directly from the university’s mission to serve the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex by transforming ideas into actions that benefit the lives of the citizens of Texas . The recently released strategic plan, “Creating the Future,” states that UT Dallas aspires to be (1) “a ground-breaking leader in both framing and answering the questions faced by business, policy makers, healthcare, and the public” and (2) “a synergistic partner with local industry, government, and cultural organizations as well as local K-12 schools, community colleges, and universities .” Thus, the strategic plan contains initiatives such as “Making a Great City Greater,” which is subdivided into specific action items regarding K-16 education, the arts, business leadership, and community outreach .
UT Dallas works to accomplish these goals in multiple ways. For instance, many of UT Dallas’ schools offer certificate programs that can be an important resource for both mid-career professionals and others seeking to advance their knowledge and expertise . The structure and duration of these certificate programs vary, although the majority are graduate certificates that incorporate focused course sequences from the graduate curriculum, thereby providing focused knowledge in specific areas geared to community professionals. These certificate programs are governed by the procedures outlined in Policy Memorandum 07-III.21-94, Academic Certificate Programs , and are assessed annually using UT Dallas’ web-based assessment tool, AT6. The program’s mission statements are aligned closely with the university’s mission statement, and detailed annual reports are generated from AT6 and reviewed by the faculty in order to ensure program integrity and continual improvement. The assessment reports for the graduate certificate in economic and demographic data analysis  and for executive and professional coaching  reveal the rigor of the assessment standards as well as initiatives to close loops and thereby improve learning.
The School of Management (SOM) offers twelve certificates in areas that range from executive coaching to health care management to entrepreneurship to oil and gas financial management . The structure of these certificate programs varies from formal courses in the graduate program to specialized seminars, workshops, and intensive work sessions. Some courses in certificate programs may be applied, with approval, toward a graduate degree. SOM is investigating offering additional, non-credit certificate programs, and the university recently established a policy to ensure that the content of these programs is reviewed and approved by the faculty and that they have full assessment plans in place before they are initiated .
The School of Economic, Political and Policy Sciences (EPPS) also offers seven certificate programs for both degree and non-degree seeking students. The certificates are offered in: crime and justice analysis, evaluation research, financial economics, geographic information systems (GIS), nonprofit management, local government management, and quantitative analysis of social and economic data (QASED). All certificate programs within EPPS are based in coursework offered within the regular graduate academic curriculum and typically require 15 semester credit hours for completion . Several other academic units offer single programs including a remote sensing certificate from the program in geosciences , a Holocaust studies certificate  in arts and humanities, and an information assurance certificate from engineering and computer science  . This certificate program and the certificate program in chess   are the only certificate programs open to undergraduate students.
In addition to offering certificate programs, as discussed in the response to Principle 18.104.22.168 , UT Dallas takes seriously its commitment to be an important resource for the community through training and mentoring programs, opportunities for public school students and their families, outreach programs that facilitate UT Dallas’ students’ sense of citizenship and commitment to the community, and public events that invite the community at large onto the campus.
The university partners with educational, business, government, cultural, and health organizations in the community to work on large-scale programs for the greater good of the community, state, region, and country. One such example is the High Technology Educational Coalition of Collin County (HI-TECCC), an agreement between educational institutions such as UT Dallas, Collin County Community College, and the Plano Independent School District, and local industries including Texas Instruments, Lockheed Martin, Nortel, Cisco Systems, and Raytheon . The educational partners participate in the establishment of a community of scholars through development of aligned curricula in mathematics and science, deployment of the most effective instructional strategies and tools available, and promotion of leadership and fellowship among professionals at all levels of public and higher education. The business partners serve the institutions as resource and advisory partners to build student proficiency in science, technology, engineering, and math. They also provide internships, co-op positions, mentoring, recruiting outreach, math/science competitions, and career exposure activities to area students. Together these entities work to enhance scientific literacy and promote technological competence within the area workforce. Additionally, the Hi-TECCC coalition provides scholarship money for Plano ISD and Collin County Community College District faculty; in fall 2007, five graduate students will be engaged in this scholarship program.
UT Dallas also works cooperatively with several other institutions of higher education. The School of Natural Science and Mathematics’ (NSM) “Nano at the Border” program has supported the educational activities and research in nanotechnology at The University of Texas at Brownsville (UT Brownsville) and The University of Texas Pan American (UT Pan American), exposing primarily minority students to the field of nanotechnology. The Nanotech Institute works closely with universities in Mexico, and, together with the University of Guanajuato, hosted a U.S.-Mexico Workshop titled, “Nanoscience for Advanced Applications: On Crossroads of Disciplines.” UT Dallas is the driving force behind the exchange of students, faculty, and information . Significant advancements in nanotechnology research have led to significant national and international research partnerships .
UT Dallas offers a vast array of programs designed to build intellectual curiosity and spark young scholars’ interest in science, technology, and their future. The Nano Explorers program, funded by the Robert Welch Foundation, promotes nanotechnology-based education for the next generation of scientists now in public schools . Through the HI-TECCC coalition, 25 tenth- and eleventh-grade students spend their summer in a UT Dallas research laboratory . Physics presents a summer physics camp for young girls interested in science careers  while the chemistry program brings elementary school students to campus for a “Kids in Chemistry” program . UT Dallas hosts the “Metroplex Math Circle” which connects students who have particular interest and aptitude in mathematics. It provides a friendly learning environment and builds a mathematical community where people share a common love of mathematics . Each summer, the university sponsors “Awesome Math,” a three-week residential program that offers mathematically-gifted students the opportunity to engage in meaningful problem-solving activities and explore in detail areas in advanced mathematics . In a number of venues, UT Dallas provides intellectual activities for community students outside of formal academics.
The community and the university also have a strong relationship through athletics and camp programs. Each year, over 10,000 students come to UT Dallas to play soccer on UT Dallas’ athletic fields . Local, regional, state, and national tournaments have been held at the university. The UT Dallas Athletic Department also sponsors a wide range of summer sport camps that are popular among local families . The chess program offers summer chess camps that attract hundreds of students to campus for the two-week sessions . The university also offers its facilities to local and state organizations. Long involved in creative problem-solving with children, UT Dallas welcomed approximately 6,000 children and their families to campus in spring 2007 for the Texas State Destination Imagination Championships .
Students play a major role in all aspects of UT Dallas’ outreach efforts, and the Center for Service Learning  and the Multicultural Center  provide central foci for students’ service efforts in the community and the nation. Specifically, the Center for Service Learning provides a clearinghouse for service learning activities as well as training programs that focus on the student as leader and citizen as well as scholar. In addition, a number of special programs such as the Greek Council  and the McDermott Scholars Program  each have community service requirements for their members. Specific objectives directly related to the mission statements of the units and of the university are set annually for each organization, and planned activities are assessed on an ongoing basis using AT6. The annual reports are monitored by the dean of students and the vice president for student affairs or the Office of the Executive Vice President and Provost as appropriate so that adequate resources are available and so that improvements can be made. Specific assessment reports are available for review in the response to Principle 22.214.171.124 .
Finally, UT Dallas’ outreach efforts include extending community invitations to a wide range of intellectual and cultural activities that occur on campus. Most academic units offer lecture series that bring renowned scientists, theorists, authors, and philosophers to campus for public presentations. The School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences staged the well-received series “Behavior and the Brain”  in 2006-2007, while the School of Engineering and Computer Science welcomed six speakers in spring 2007 for its “Distinguished Lecture Series” . The community is also very active in UT Dallas’ cultural arts programs, and the School of Arts and Humanities has offered 79 programs for 2006-2007 including art, theatre, music, concerts, and lectures .