The Education Foundation Advisory Council for The University of Texas at Austin’s College of Education has contributed $500,000 to create the $1.4 million Manuel J. Justiz Endowed Chair in Math, Science and Technology in Teacher Education. With fundraising ongoing, the endowment totals $1.4 million in gifts and pledges from 139 donors, making it one of the largest endowments in the college’s history.
This is the college’s eighth endowed chair, and money from the permanent endowment will be used to attract and retain leading scholars in the areas of technology, education innovation, math and science. The endowment will also support a new program that will focus on health and learning sciences.
The chair was a means for the college and council to honor Justiz for his leadership during the 22 years that he has been at the college’s helm. During his tenure, the dean has encouraged innovations that have steadily elevated the college from a U.S. News and World Report graduate school ranking of 18th among public universities 14 years ago to its current ranking of No. 1.
This year the college was ranked third among public and private universities, behind Vanderbilt University and Harvard University, and positioned above other elite institutions such as the University of California-Los Angeles, U.C.-Berkeley, Columbia University, the University of Michigan, Stanford University and the University of Pennsylvania. The University of Texas at Austin’s College of Education has been ranked No. 1 among all U.S. schools of education in research funding for five years in a row, with research and development expenditures totaling almost $64 million last year.
“The University of Texas at Austin’s College of Education was ranked No. 1 for two years in a row because of the visionary and innovative leadership of Dean Justiz,” said Vaughn Gross, College of Education Foundation Advisory Council chair. “As a tribute to this remarkable leader, the Advisory Council enthusiastically embraced the financial challenge and raised $500,000 in four months. It was a team effort and a demonstration of admiration and appreciation for our No. 1 dean.”
The College of Education was the first in the nation to require laptop computers of all teacher education students and is the only college or school of education in the United States to have its own dedicated, high-powered visualization laboratory. The college is co-administrator of the nationally replicated UTeach program, which helps top science, math and engineering majors become secondary school teachers.
The college also is home to several internationally recognized research and professional development centers, including the Meadows Center for Preventing Educational Risk and the Center for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Education. Additionally, cutting-edge laboratories in the college’s Department of Kinesiology and Health Education continue to generate landmark studies in areas such as cardiovascular health, nutrition and physical performance, obesity prevention, and recovery after traumatic muscle or nerve injuries.