The University of Texas at Austin has established a new School of Undergraduate Studies as a college-level academic unit reporting to the executive vice president and provost.
The School of Undergraduate Studies will be led by Professor Paul B. Woodruff, who became inaugural dean of undergraduate studies in fall 2006. It will be the initial home for students who choose not to select another college or school before the beginning of the first year and for those who are admitted to the university but not into the majors they have chosen. The school will offer special advising resources to help new students explore potential majors before making a selection and to support continuing students who are considering a change of major.
The School of Undergraduate Studies will accept its first cohort of students in fall 2009.
The School of Undergraduate Studies will develop a new central advising center, the Center for Strategic Advising, which will work closely with other advising units across campus. This center, supported by the new Jamail Endowment for Excellence in Advising, will collaborate with the Bridging Disciplines Programs, Signature Courses, First-year Interest Groups and the Office of Undergraduate Research, to provide students with opportunities to explore their academic and career interests.
"This is an important change in the way the university interacts with undergraduate students, and we have been careful to seek the input of faculty, students, staff and alumni at every stage," said William Powers Jr., president of the university. "I believe we have an opportunity in the School of Undergraduate Studies to show that a large research university can attend to the needs of individual students as well as a small, private institution."
"I look forward to leading the new School of Undergraduate Studies," said Woodruff. "In collaboration with the other UT colleges and schools, I believe we can build a program that complements the outstanding work of faculty and academic advisers across campus."
The creation of a new central administrative entity to oversee undergraduate education and to advise undeclared students has been recommended by a number of university committees, including the Doluisio Committee on Undergraduate Education (1989), the Bean Committee on the Undergraduate Experience (1991) and the Task Force on Curricular Reform (2005). The task force was convened to recommend an implementation plan for the first strategic initiative of the university's Commission of 125: to develop a new undergraduate core curriculum to better prepare students for lives of accomplishment.