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Tower Shines for Dean Justiz’s 25th Anniversary

Dean Manuel Justiz has led the College of Education for 25 years, making the school one of the best in country.

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The University of Texas at Austin Tower will be lit orange Thursday, March 5 to honor Manuel J. Justiz’s 25 years of service to the university as dean of the College of Education. Photo by Marsha Miller.

The Tower will shine with orange lights Thursday, March 5, to honor the 25th anniversary of Manuel J. Justiz‘s tenure as dean of the College of Education.

Justiz, the university’s senior dean and one of its most accomplished leaders, has propelled the College of Education to national acclaim, transforming a once-struggling program into one of the country’s premier schools.

“It’s very gratifying to be a dean,” Justiz recently told The Alcalde. “You can see the impact of the work you do. I get to see it in the departments. In the students we hire. In the research projects that we undertake. I’m close up where the action is.”

[Read more about Dean Manuel Justiz in the December 2014 Alcalde article  “The Dean of Deans: A Conversation with the Dean Who Took UT’s College of Education to the Top.”] 

During his 25 years as dean, Justiz’s leadership has helped the college consistently rank among the best schools of education in the nation.

Justiz built interdisciplinary academic and research programs across departments within the College of Education and across the university as well as with external systems, including hospitals. He has also overseen the building an integration of new technology capabilities within the college to improve the undergraduate and graduate curricula.

Before coming to the university in 1990, Justiz was the director of the National Institute of Education, a post he held from 1983 to 1985 after being appointed by President Reagan and approved by the U.S. Senate. His resume includes stints at other top universities, prestigious appointments like being asked by President George W. Bush to serve on the board of directors of the Federal National Mortgage Association and well-deserved awards. 

To highlight some of the accomplishments and successes during Justiz’s 25-year tenure, we put together a list of 25 milestones and points of pride achieved under his watch:

  1. U.S. News and World Report ranked The College of Education the No. 1 public school of education for three years in a row.
  2. Established UTeach in 1997 with the College of Natural Sciences to recruit and train STEM majors to become teachers.
  3. Awarded funding to expand UTeach now replicated at 44 universities in 21 states.
  4. Asked by Governor Ann Richards to lead Texas’ Math and Science State Systemic Change Initiative.
  5. Nationally recognized research centers including: Meadows Center, Vaughn Gross Center for Reading and Language Arts, Stark Center, Center for Community College Student Engagement, Texas Child Study Center, Center for Applied Psychometric Research and Center for STEM Education.
  6. Grew the college’s endowment to $57.8 million, a 101 percent increase since 1990.
  7. Achieved highest pass rate on the state teacher certification exam of all public universities in Texas.
  8. Established Texas Child Study Center with Dell Children’s Medical Center.
  9. Ranked No. 1 in research expenditures for six years in a row by U.S. News and World Report.
  10. Partnered to help establish and launch UT Elementary School, the first university-sponsored charter school in Texas.
  11. Launched Trib+Edu in partnership with The Texas Tribune.
  12. Awarded largest gift in college history: Meadows Center’s $20M grant from the Institute of Education Sciences.
  13. Created vibrant community partnerships with Austin Travis County Integral Care, Texas Regional Collaboratives, Cooperative Superintendency Program, Heart of Texas Writing Project, Principalship Program and Fitness Institute of Texas.
  14. USA Today named the College of Education the No. 1 place to study early childhood education.
  15. Appointed by Governor Bill Clements to represent Texas to the Education Commission of the States.
  16. Launched Laptop Initiative in 2002 to integrate technology into all phases of the teacher education program first of its kind in the nation and included in the student financial aid package.
  17. Became first Hispanic dean at The University of Texas at Austin.
  18. Ranked among the top four graduate degree-producing colleges at UT Austin.
  19. Led the Texas Center for Reading and Language Arts’ Reading Initiative at the request of Governor George W. Bush.
  20. Nationally ranked academic departments include: Curriculum and Instruction (No. 11), Educational Psychology (No. 9) Education and Administration (No. 6) and Special Education (No. 6) in the U.S. News and World Report rankings and Kinesiology and Health Education (No. 4) in the National Academy of Kinesiology’s rankings.
  21. Raised $80.69 million in the campaign for Texas, exceeding the fundraising goal by 61 percent.
  22. Celebrated college centennial in 1990 established in 1890 as the School of Pedagogy.
  23. Celebrated Dr. Sharon Vaughn’s selection by the University Co-Op for its highly prestigious Research Excellence Award.
  24. Hosted U.S. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings.
  25. Known nationally for research that improves health and human performance outcomes for athletes, military amputees and school-aged children, as well as public health initiatives.

“Great universities are made up of two really principal factors: great students and a great faculty,” Justiz told The Alcalde.

“The dean’s role,” he says, “is just to be supportive and to help steer it in the right direction.”