Written by Juan Prado
Everyone at The University of Texas Pan-American must work together to make UTPA an “agent of transformation” for the entire Rio Grande Valley, President Robert S. Nelsen said Friday in his upbeat Fall Convocation address to faculty and staff.
“We must harness the brain power of our faculty and the energy of our students and engage with the Valley so that we can change not only our students’ lives, but also the lives of everyone — and I mean everyone — in the Valley,” Nelsen said, calling on faculty and staff to work together with him to carry the University into its future.
Despite the budget crisis facing UTPA and every other state-supported institution of higher learning in Texas, Nelsen said that the future of UTPA remains strong and challenging.
“We must and we will improve the social, economic and personal well-being of those who live here,” Nelsen said. “Everyone knows that the best way to do that is through education — but it is also through reaching out to the community with literacy efforts, with entrepreneurial education, with health programs, with civil engineering projects and with civic training.”
To accomplish its mission for the future, and to “truly be an agent of transformation, we will have to transform the University itself” and to do that, UTPA will have to set for itself “some very powerful and maybe even frightening goals,” Nelsen said.
He added that over the next 10 years, the University will, among other things, have to:
• Increase annual giving to $25 million per year, with goals of reaching $7.5 million dollars in three years, to $12 million in six years, and to $20 million in eight years;
• Increase college-going rates in the Valley from 32 percent to 60 percent;
• Grow University enrollment to 30,000 students;
• More than double the annual graduation rate from the current 3,500 a year to 7,500 students a year;
• Build at least four new buildings – Science, Business, University College and an Engineering Building;
• Add eight new doctoral programs;
• Increase research expenditures to $30 million;
• Increase the faculty from 665 to 1,350;
• Add 20 endowed chairs;
• Remake the undergraduate experience by adding the University College and 15 signature, uniquely Pan Am programs;
• Change the four-year graduation rate to 26 percent;
• Change the six-year graduate rate to 65 percent;
• Offer 750 courses on-line;
• Build housing for 4,000 students on campus; and
• Establish an Academy of Distinguished Scholars. Read more…