August 25, 2017
Dear faculty and staff,
I am writing to let you know that Linda Hicke has decided to make this academic year her last as dean of the College of Natural Sciences. She will continue in her current role through August 31, 2018.
Like many across campus, I will sorely miss her dedication as the leader of one of UT Austin's largest colleges. Thanks to her strategic vision, the foundation of the College of Natural Sciences is stronger than ever and the future is bright.
President Fenves had this to share about Dean Hicke's contributions to UT Austin.
"Dean Hicke has been a passionate advocate of science education and research at the highest levels. She has strengthened the quality and impact of the college, expanded interdisciplinary research, increased experiential learning opportunities for students, and served as a strategic partner during the establishment of the Dell Medical School. Dean Hicke has been an exceptionally dedicated and thoughtful leader, and the university owes her a debt of thanks."
The College of Natural Sciences has achieved a number of milestones under Dean Hicke's leadership. Since her arrival, she:
- Advanced the strategic direction and reputation of the college, with at least a dozen academic programs consistently ranking among the top in the nation.
- Led a strategic reorganization of academic units that led to the creation of the Departments of Molecular Biosciences, Integrative Biology, Neuroscience and Statistics and Data Sciences. This helped leverage faculty expertise and advance biomedical research during the establishment of the Dell Medical School.
- Expanded the award-winning Freshman Research Initiative and established the Texas Institute for Discovery Education in Science. This advanced the university's reputation as a national leader among the most celebrated institutions in STEM education.
- Pursued new efforts to address diversity and inclusion in the sciences, particularly in faculty hiring and campus climate.
- Created the College Budget Council, comprised of faculty and key decision-makers, to increase transparency related to funding and college priorities.
- Led the first CNS master space plan to assess long-term facilities needs in academic and research sites, leading to a series of capital improvement projects, including one of the largest academic buildings on campus, Welch Hall.
- Worked with university leadership to ensure UT Austin's inclusion in the development of what will be the planet's largest-ever telescope, the Giant Magellan Telescope in Chile.
- Improved student-centered educational initiatives for undergraduates and new college-level efforts for graduate students to enhance recruitment, support, and services.
More than anything, Dean Hicke has led by example as a tireless champion for faculty, staff, and students. The Longhorn community has benefitted tremendously from her contributions. The search for a new dean will take place during the coming academic year.
Please join me in celebrating Dean Hicke's accomplishments and thanking her for six years of extraordinary service to the university.
Executive Vice President and Provost
The University of Texas at Austin