Institute for Public School Initiatives Moving to College of Education

The Institute for Public School Initiatives (IPSI), an innovative University of Texas System center aimed at improving academic outcomes for Texas pre-K through high school students, is getting a new home at The University of Texas at Austin's College of Education.

The Institute has been operating under the UT System administration since its inception in 2002 and will be moving to The University of Texas at Austin this summer.

Dr. Darvin Winick will provide expertise during the Institute's transition, first as a special assistant in the UT System Office of Academic Affairs and then as the Institute's interim executive director, upon its re-establishment at The University of Texas at Austin. Winick is a senior research fellow in the College of Education and has been chair of the National Assessment Governing Board, which sets policies for the National Assessment of Educational Progress, for the last eight years.

Dr. Marina Walne has served with distinction as the Institute's executive director since May 2005. Walne recently announced she was leaving the UT System to accept an appointment as executive director for education at the Houston-based Laura and John Arnold Foundation.

"Marina has served the UT System and its institutions in an exemplary manner and has provided outstanding leadership for the Institute for Public School Initiatives," said Chancellor Francisco G. Cigarroa, M.D. "Marina's grasp of pedagogy and her understanding of which practices work best has provided a solid framework for IPSI from which it can build upon. We are grateful for her vision, leadership and dedication."

Walne successfully led efforts to improve the educational pipeline so that more students are ready to enter and succeed in college. Over the last five years, the Institute has partnered with UT System institutions and public school districts to address issues such as reading proficiency and college-participation rates. The Institute also has led several statewide initiatives in partnership with the Texas Education Agency, the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, the Texas High School Project and the U.S. Department of Education. Since it was established in 2004, the Institute has had a direct impact on an estimated 1.7 million students and more than 20,000 teachers through its products, services and statewide initiatives.

Moving the Institute to The University of Texas at Austin's College of Education, one of the nation's top-ranked institutions for teacher training and educational research, will allow the center to be more closely aligned with renowned faculty, researchers and resources central to the Institute's mission of improving student outcomes.

"The Institute for Public School Initiatives plays a vital role in assisting public school districts and students in Texas by providing innovative educational research and best practices," said Dr. Manuel J. Justiz, dean of UT Austin's College of Education. "The transition of IPSI to The University of Texas at Austin will serve to enrich the Institute's core mission, and I am confident that the College of Education will continue to enhance the delivery of valuable services to teachers and the schoolchildren of Texas."

Funding for the Institute has been made possible through the generosity of private foundations and grants from public agencies. To date, the Institute has received more than $107 million in support for its four program areas: academic foundations, educator quality, college access and college readiness. These important funds have benefited many universities, school districts and nonprofit organizations.

The University of Texas System is one of the largest higher education systems in the nation, with nine academic campuses and six health institutions. It has an annual operating budget of $11.9 billion (FY 2010), and preliminary student enrollment exceeded 202,000 in the 2009 academic year. The UT System confers more than one-third of the state's undergraduate degrees and educates nearly three-fourths of the state's health care professionals annually. With more than 84,000 employees, the UT System is one of the largest employers in the state.

The University of Texas at Austin's College of Education is a national leader in research and teaching in the areas of teacher education, health, fitness, school leadership, special education and educational psychology. In the most recent U.S. News and World Report graduate school rankings, the College of Education was ranked fourth nationally among public institutions and was in the top 10 overall, along with Harvard, Columbia, Vanderbilt, Stanford, Johns Hopkins and Northwestern.