THE COMMISSION ON BUILDING THE UNIVERSITY OF THE 21ST CENTURY RELEASES ITS RECOMMENDATIONS FOR THE UNIVERSITY OF NORTH TEXAS AT DALLAS
Identifies Innovations and New Approaches to Provide a High Quality Education at a Lower Cost to Expand Access to Attaining a College Degree; Will Make Final Review at its Last Meeting
DALLAS (September 24, 2012) - The University of North Texas at Dallas today announced that the Commission on Building the University of the 21st Century - a group of business, civic and philanthropic leaders who share a passion for education reform and urban transformation - has released its recommendations for the university to consider as it looks for new approaches to provide a high quality education at a lower cost to make a college degree more attainable. The Commission will give its set of recommendations a final review at its last meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 25.
The Commission was organized last year by university leadership to define UNT Dallas' role in Dallas and the North Texas region and to develop innovations and best practices for a new university model. Its recommendations were informed by research conducted by Bain & Co. which showed that cost, schedule flexibility, opportunities for contemporary methods of delivering instruction, time to graduation and degree marketability were all major obstacles to attaining a college degree. Additionally, UNT Dallas and UNT System leadership and the New University Research Advisory Panel comprised of UNT Dallas faculty and staff also provided input.
"The mission of UNT Dallas is to enhance access to high quality education and to prepare students to become exemplary citizens who can assume leadership positions in a global environment - the traditional approaches in higher education will be insufficient to meet this mission," said John Ellis Price, president for UNT Dallas. "We have to connect the dots between a high quality education in an appropriate major with leadership and real world experience which leads to a good job and a good quality of life."
The Commission has made 17 recommendations in three areas of innovation including academic excellence, student success and operations. All recommendations are focused on enhancing the quality of education, significantly lowering the cost of a degree through technology, reducing the time to graduation, and the timely employment of students once they graduate. Highlights of the recommendations include:
- Innovations in teaching and learning and a competency-based and personalized education.
- Comprehensive analytics to predict student success and measure learning outcomes.
- Opportunities to pursue year round education to accelerate the path to graduation.
- Make experiential learning - real world, work experience - a component of every UNT Dallas graduate's education.
- Reduce tuition cost to result in greater opportunities to enroll and graduate with little or no debt, leverage scholarship dollars to reward continued enrollment and loan forgiveness for fast track students.
- Build a portfolio of academic programs based on those areas that are the highest priority for region and the State.
Dallas/Fort Worth lags well behind other major metropolitan markets in the level of educational attainment. Only 27 percent of Dallas residents between the ages of 18 - 34 have a college degree. In North Texas, the number of degreed adults 25 years of age and older grew by only 1.1 percent from 2000 to 2008. According to the Texas Workforce Commission, from 2008 - 2018 there will be an 80,000 net gap between college-graduate supply and employer demand in Dallas because there will not be enough local high-quality college graduates prepared with relevant life skills.
Upon officially receiving the final recommendations from the Commission, UNT Dallas leadership, faculty and staff will review and begin making determinations of how the recommendations will be used to enhance and build upon a university implementation strategy for UNT Dallas' first strategic plan - Vision 2020. The Office of Innovation and Strategy (OIS) will serve as the operational hub for the development, implementation and management of the new strategies and approaches.
The final Commission meeting comes at the cusp of Founder's Day, marking UNT Dallas' two year anniversary. The university recently reported a three percent increase in 2012 enrollment over the previous fall to 2,097, and an 11 percent increase in full-time equivalent enrollment to 1,212.