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UT News

Experienced Leaders Go Back to School at UT Austin Thanks to New Program

UT Austin will launch a nine-month program that provides experienced professionals the unique opportunity to explore the vast educational resources of UT Austin through a highly personalized curriculum. 

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AUSTIN, Texas – People who are late in their careers and considering what might come next now have a new option at The University of Texas at Austin. The university will launch a nine-month program that provides experienced professionals the unique opportunity to explore the vast educational resources of UT Austin through a highly personalized curriculum, as well as educational and networking opportunities outside the classroom.

Called the TOWER Fellows Program, it is designed for those seeking a new purpose or career path, looking to deepen their knowledge, navigate an entrepreneurial venture, or maybe just pursue a lifelong dream. The program is now accepting applications for the inaugural class, with the first cohort of 25-30 fellows entering in fall 2018.

“The TOWER Fellows Program is the perfect opportunity for highly accomplished individuals from all walks of life to explore, discover, reflect and prepare for whatever they decide comes next,” said Gaylen Paulson, associate dean and director of Texas Executive Education at the McCombs School of Business. “We live in a time when many people are rethinking traditional retirement and exploring a second career path, and this program is designed to foster that exploration or reignite a passion through the resources and support of the university.”

Inspired by Harvard University’s Advanced Leadership Initiative and Stanford University’s Distinguished Careers Institute, the TOWER Fellows Program offers individuals a new way to engage with the university. The curriculum allows fellows to access the full academic resources available at UT Austin, with more than 12,000 classes for fellows to choose from. As a part of the program, each fellow is paired with a faculty adviser who supports the course decision-making process, helping curate a course load and outside-the-classroom opportunities based on each fellow’s individual priorities, goals and needs.

In addition to two or three academic courses per semester, the program fosters collaboration and connection, including dedicated seminars, learning workshops, social activities and a speaker series addressing specific topics of interest to the group. Fellows also enjoy access to all the resources the Texas campus and its faculty have to offer, including access to campus amenities and admittance to the libraries and gym, while living in the culturally rich city of Austin.

The University of Texas boasts one of the most creative, energetic, entrepreneurial learning environments in the world – and it is located in a city with a long history of taking chances and approaching innovation with aggressive enthusiasm,” said Isabella Cunningham, the Stan Richards Chair in Advertising and Public Relations Strategy at the Moody College of Communication, who is also serving as the faculty director for the TOWER Fellows Program. “This is a fertile environment for exploration and self-fulfillment, and we hope this program provides people with the platform for an exciting period of discovery and reinvention.”

The fellows will also bring their individual expertise and real-world experiences to the program, offering UT Austin a versatile and talented group of individuals with valuable hands-on knowledge to share with one another and with undergraduate and graduate students in the classroom. Their diverse professional background will help shape the networking component of the TOWER Fellows Program and will add an intergenerational perspective to the classes they take because of their unique perspective and the ideas they bring to the table.

Upon completion, TOWER fellows will come away from the experience with a richer understanding of themselves, deeper relationships with one another, and the coveted badge of being a Longhorn for life. Fellow alumni are encouraged to continue the relationships built during the program and will have opportunities to participate in mentorship programs through the TOWER Fellows Program alumni network.

For more information about the TOWER Fellows Program, including applications, visit www.towerfellows.utexas.edu.