AUSTIN, Texas—President Larry R. Faulkner of The University of Texas at Austin announced today (April 22) he is recommending that The John A. and Katherine Jackson School of Geosciences be consolidated as a separate unit at the level of a college to be led by a dean.
He is forwarding his recommendation to Executive Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Teresa A. Sullivan at the University of Texas System. To become effective, the proposal will require approval by the System leadership, the University of Texas System Board of Regents and the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board. If approved by Vice Chancellor Sullivan and Chancellor Mark Yudof, the proposal could be considered by the University of Texas System Board of Regents next August.
Faulkner has also authorized the university’s provost, Sheldon Ekland-Olson, to open a national search for a dean of the Jackson School in the expectation that early stages of the search can be accomplished while review is being undertaken at higher levels.
The school would link three components in the university—the Department of Geological Sciences, the Bureau of Economic Geology and the Institute for Geophysics. Together these research and teaching units have about 135 faculty and research scientists and 325 students.
The Department of Geological Sciences and the Institute for Geophysics are now part of the College of Natural Sciences. The Bureau of Economic Geology now reports to Juan Sanchez, vice president for research
The announcement came as the result of a two-year process that included a report from the Jackson School Vision Committee, chaired by Dr. Peter Flawn, former president of the university. This committee brought together a group of distinguished advisers in the geological sciences to provide advice on the use of the contributions by John A. and Katherine Jackson of Dallas that were dedicated to studying the Earth and its environment.
The Jackson School Implementation Committee, composed of faculty members within the school, drafted additional recommendations and a charter.
The John A. and Katherine Jackson School of Geosciences was created in 2001 as a result of a $25 million endowment funded by John Jackson, a 1940 geology graduate. Jackson also bequeathed the remainder of his estate, valued at about $232 million, to the school for geosciences research and education.
“This is a matter of considerable consequence and we have proceeded with care at every stage,” Faulkner said. “Though there are some points that still warrant discussion, I believe we have arrived at a decision that will maximize the chance for top-level scientific achievement and leadership, in keeping with Mr. Jackson’s ambition for his alma mater and his home state.”
For more information contact: Robin Gerrow, Office of Public Affairs, 512-232-2145.