December 11, 2017
Dear faculty colleagues,
Thank you for a productive fall semester. As classes end I know many of you are now turning your attention to final exams and likely looking ahead to the spring. I hope you can take the opportunity to disconnect and recharge over the holiday break.
I wanted to share a new report that illustrates the critical role faculty play in the lifelong well-being and success in students’ lives.
Earlier this year, we partnered with Texas Exes and asked Gallup to survey UT alumni in order to identify the undergraduate experiences that positively impact their lives. It then benchmarks these results compared to our national peers.
The Gallup-Purdue Index looks beyond the traditional metrics of success — job placement, career paths, salary — and aims to also understand lifelong fulfillment and well-being and how one’s undergraduate education influences this.
The good news is that our alumni are thriving and are more likely than their national peers to say their education prepared them for lifelong success and well-being. And having a professor that cared about them as a person and challenged them academically were identified as primary drivers in these outcomes.
These results are encouraging and show what many of you already know. UT faculty care deeply about their students and are committed to their success. However, there are areas where we can improve.
For example, the report found first-generation students did not feel supported to the same degree as their peers.
There are clearly many factors that might contribute to this disparity. First-generation students are more likely to live off-campus, thus making it harder to participate in activities like student clubs and study groups, attend office hours, contribute to research and in general be involved in the campus.
Call for First-generation Faculty
Many of our first-generation students wonder if they belong. One way that we can support them is to give them the opportunity to meet with faculty who are themselves the first in their families to attend university.
In an effort to help our current and future first-generation students, I would like to invite first-generation UT faculty to participate in an event in the spring to meet current students. This would allow students to learn about your own path and experiences, and your example will also show them the success they can achieve.
If you are interested in participating, please fill out this contact form. Once we have details about a proposed event, I will follow-up and contact you in the spring.
I wish you the very best over the holidays, and thank you again for all you do for UT.
Executive Vice President and Provost