The University of Texas at Tyler is a successful and comprehensive, fast-growing institution, President Rodney H. Mabry told faculty during the 2014 convocation on Friday.
“Growth and success is really everywhere” on campus, Mabry said, in delivering a state-of-the-university speech in the R. Don Cowan Fine & Performing Arts Center Vaughn Auditorium.
The gathering was “to celebrate our growth, celebrate faculty and student success and to look at what is in store,” Mabry said.
Enrollment is expected to grow 7 or 8 percent this fall, nearing the 8,000 mark. That’s “a great accomplishment when most universities are flat or losing enrollment,” Mabry said.
Enrollment has nearly doubled in the last 10 years and the number of degrees awarded annually has more than doubled, Mabry said. The number of degrees awarded has increased from 803 in 2003 to 1,775 in 2013.
During that period, the faculty grew from 293 to 484 and the number of colleges within the university went from five to seven.
UT Tyler is a world-class institution with capable students and faculty who care about and treat students as their own, Mabry said, adding students are taught well both inside and outside of class.
It is dedicated to turning out well-rounded university men and women. That means, Mabry said, that graduates are supposed to have a sense of personal responsibility, produce at a high level, they are ethical, make positive decisions, are willing and effective leaders and solid citizens.
UT Tyler occupies an important niche in the UT System, Mabry said. It has a non-urban, park-like campus, high-ability students and is dedicated to innovation through cutting edge technology, research and service, he said.
UT Tyler gives students an alternative that has academic programs with the same rigor and market value as programs at large urban institutions, Mabry said.
It is a friendly learning environment with first-rate facilities and a world-class staff, Mabry said. Another thing that sets it apart is its lower student-faculty ratio.
“We continue to maintain a 16 to 1 student/faculty ratio, the lowest in the UT System, which means faculty interact with students,” Mabry said.
UT Tyler is an innovative place, he said, calling it a national leader in hybrid education with a self-sustaining college of pharmacy, online graduate programs, dedication to project-based learning, the nation’s first 2-plus-2 engineering program and a “movie trailer” advertising campaign.
“Together we’ve accomplished much in the last 10 years; we’ve been busy teaching students with the latest technology. We’ve added new academic programs and we’ve added buildings and renovated others and expanded others,” Mabry said, also saying student life opportunities have been enhanced.
Programs added since 2004, Mabry said, include the Bill Ratliff Engineering and Sciences Complex, University Center addition and renovation, fine arts complex, a health clinic, Ph.D. programs, Greek life, Ornelas Residence Hall, Mathis Hall in Palestine, baseball and softball fields, and civil and environmental engineering.
Expenditures for sponsored research are projected to total $9 million in 2015.
Not only has UT Tyler grown on its Tyler campus, but also it has had additional growth at its other campuses. The Palestine campus added a nursing SIM lab, the Longview campus added a criminal justice program and Innovation Academy building, the Houston Engineering Center was added and the graduate school has grown.
Last year’s postgraduate enrollment increased by 14 percent and is expected to increase 20 percent this fall.
Construction projects on the Tyler campus include the Ben and Maytee Fisch College of Pharmacy, the Cowan Center music addition, an alumni house, a STEM addition and business building renovation.
“We work hard to have first-rate facilities for students and faculty,” Mabry said.
Student awards and accomplishments in 2013-14 included distinguished awards for the model UN, a 100 percent certification pass rate in industrial technology, criminal justice graduates in the top 5 percent nationally on a field test, and chemistry graduates in the top 6 percent nationally on a field test.
On the athletic front, Mabry noted, UT Tyler had nine ASC conference titles, women’s basketball was in the first Sweet 16, the university had 13 NCAA DIII All-Americans, 118 academic all-conference student athletes and two academic all-Americans.
Student athletes contributed 2,805 hours of community service, Mabry pointed out.
Coming up, Mabry said, are work on a strategic plan, creation of a new campus master plan and rollout of a new marketing campaign.