September 14, 2012
As we begin a new academic year at The University of Texas at Brownsville, we have an opportunity that few will have in a lifetime: the opportunity to help design a unique, innovative university. With UT Brownsville now established as an independent university, Chancellor Cigarroa and the Board of Regents of The University of Texas System have charged us with "creating a university of the first class and a 21st Century model."
To envision that creation, we are convening the 21st Century University Commission and inviting members of the campus and the broader community to help us imagine what The University of Texas at Brownsville should strive to become. The challenge before us is to design a complex knowledge enterprise, with three guiding principles to focus our work:
- UT Brownsville will create a teaching, learning and discovery environment that will develop a complete graduate with advanced critical thinking skills and the capacity for lifelong learning. The mastery of a particular subject will actually be a secondary outcome, with the primary goal to produce graduates who have mastered the ability to learn across disciplines, solve complex problems and develop new skills throughout their careers.
- UT Brownsville will be known as a place of innovation as we build a culture of agility and adaptability. We will harness present and future technologies and provide an environment conducive to experimentation and quick adaptation in new methods of teaching, learning and research. We will embrace change and challenge tradition to ensure that all students who demonstrate ability will achieve at the highest levels.
- Finally, we are determined to accomplish this while remaining affordable and accessible. The challenge is how to do what we do at the lowest possible cost to families and to our other stakeholders and investors so that we can keep this enterprise broadly accessible.
The work will be intense and compressed within four weeks. We're asking all participants to commit to attending as many of the four meetings as possible. The inaugural meeting of the 21st Century University Commission will be on Thursday, September 27, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. in the Gran Salón of the Student Union. Subsequent meetings will be on October 4, 10, and 17, also from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. All meetings will be accessible by video conferencing in Harlingen, Los Fresnos, Port Isabel, San Benito, Raymondville and Donna. To include our broader audience and alumni, we will concurrently encourage discussion through an input portal on-line for comment and suggestions from across the world.
We are convinced that UT Brownsville should become known, not for only being located on the frontera, but also for being on the frontier of innovative change. Please accept this invitation to join us for this important work.
Sincerely and with my utmost respect,
Juliet V. García
PS: Please RSVP to Marilyn Woods at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 956-882-8201.