Driving Transformative Experiences

We will change the world through our pursuits of transformative experiences.

We aim to propel the journeys and passions of individuals in our community through...

efforts also that ignite a strong sense of belonging, community and purpose for our students, staff and faculty in our shared work to serve Texas, the United States and the world. This requires:

5. Fostering an inclusive college climate so that, in this large college, Longhorns look out for and support one another and have equitable opportunities to dive deeply into learning and discovery

5.1 Summer Experiential Learning Opportunity Fellowships

  • In today’s world, students need an array of experiences both inside and outside the classroom to compete for graduate school admission or top industry jobs, and access to these experiences, which often take place over summer months, should not be limited to those with higher family incomes. Expanding access to experiences outside of the traditional classroom environment for students to participate in research, internships and study abroad trips is a key goal, as the college works to reduce disparities for students from families with low to middle incomes to participate in experiential learning opportunities.

5.2 Inclusive Campaigns like You Belong Here

  • CNS wants to embed in its spaces, touch points and events explicit signals of welcome, inclusion and belonging for our students, staff and faculty. We are continually examining ways to bolster community-based values and experiences for everyone in Texas Science.

5.3 Offering Students a New DEI Concentration

  • The Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Concentration facilitates students' exploration of DEI concepts through coursework and opportunities in order to develop skills and knowledge needed to succeed in a diverse world. 

5.4 Taking a Promotion Milestone From Associate to Partner

  • The "From Associate to Partner" retreat for newly promoted associate professors in the College of Natural Sciences engages newly tenured faculty in an exploration of their hopes and goals for their life's work. The retreat is a two-day event filled with opportunities for mid-career faculty to interact and learn from senior-level faculty about new possibilities in service, research collaborations, teaching, administration, entrepreneurship and more.

5.5 CNS Mental Health Task Force and Resources

  • CNS is directing more focus to the essential role of wellbeing and health across our community, including a new College of Natural Sciences Student Mental Health Task Force — made up of faculty, staff and students — working to identify priorities for those in CNS with concerns and experiences related to mental health and create affiliated resources for students, faculty and staff.

5.6 Student Sprint Experiences

  • Sprints allow students to explore real-world problems for a day with opportunities to follow-up with other experiential programs. Organized by the Texas Institute for Discovery Education in Science (TIDES), sprint projects also can be focused around timely core themes, such as equity.

5.7 Advancing Mentorship College-Wide

  • With careful consideration from a soon-to-be-established working group, a large-scale, multi-phased initiative will work to create resources for improving mentorship across students, faculty, staff and alumni. Such resources will include clarified job expectations, training workshops centered upon best practices, strategic intake and matching opportunities, timely conversation templates and timeline nudges, a new awards series, evaluation and feedback loops, toolkits for troubleshooting and more.

5.8 Texas Excellence in Jobs and Services (TEJAS)

TEJAS connects work study-eligible students with research opportunities combined with a professionalism course to help advance their careers.


Key Updates and Priorities for 2022–2023

  • To emphasize belonging in Natural Sciences, our diversity, equity and inclusion plan will continue to take shape and define clear commitments and next steps in advancing DEI priorities across our college. The plan is not new but instead builds on and expands upon our earlier commitments to advancing our community and its sense of belonging.

  • Expanded counseling resources for students in Natural Sciences were made available to support mental health and well-being of both undergraduates and graduate students. The Counselors in Academic Residence Program (CARE) that initially provided one professional counselor devoted to Natural Sciences has been increased to three full-time counselors.

  • Undergraduate summer research experiences received more than $200,000 in support, with 156 students (131 of them in the Freshman Research Initiative) receiving support to conduct research through the summer.

  • A mentoring task force convened over the summer and made recommendations about how better to ensure effective mentoring for graduate students, postdocs and others across the college. Implementation groups have formed and are being charged with moving these recommendations forward.

5.1-5.6 build upon work underway in the college, while 5.7-5.8 represent newer priorities.


We aim to deliver excellence in all we do through outstanding personnel, operations and technology:

6. Improving our organizational practices and deepening our understanding of our areas of strength and opportunities for improvement

6.1 College Climate Assessments

  • New and ongoing efforts to listen and learn from our community members help inform and focus the work of the college. Improved coordination across faculty, student and staff climate surveys will allow us to better understand the climate of our college and the various units and organizations within it.  Periodic updates on the findings of these surveys will help inform the work of various committees as well as affirm the voices of our college community, and college actions will be driven by lessons learned through the assessment process.

6.2 Research/Practice Partnerships in Science Communication

  • New and expanding partnerships with the Moody College of Communication create expert-informed opportunities to train our scientists to be better communicators. With graduate student opportunities underway, the college is exploring new ways to systematically train our faculty. This research/practice partnership aims to explore public trust in science and science literacy as well as motivation and barriers to effective science communication.

6.3 Improved Data Leadership, Data Availability and Data-Informed Decision Making

  • Informed by the Action Plan of Summer 2020, CNS has been worked to establish a college-wide Data Task Force to develop CNS data policies and ensure access to data to improve CNS outcomes. This group is closely monitoring the affiliated Data to Insights Initiative (D2I) that is planning for modern, cloud-scale technologies, analytics and broad engagement of all campus-wide data systems. The CNS Data Task Force also worked to establish a data ticketing system. This system provides a streamlined process for requesting data and/or requesting support for data queries. 

6.4 College Budget Planning Capacity-Building

  • Working with key staff and leadership across the college, CNS will be designing new methods and training opportunities for strategic budgeting and optimal use of resources in alignment with strategic priorities.

6.5 Increasing Attention to Educational Technology

  • Leveraging the disruptive technologies that have recently emerged as common teaching tools, the college will work to prioritize needs and opportunities, then create resources for learning, building and troubleshooting the use of technology in the classroom.

6.6 Conducting Comprehensive Exit Interviews

  • Systematic, standardized and centrally administered exit interviews will provide a more confidential and comprehensive understanding of why individuals choose to leave the college and university. This initiative aims to not only improve upon the employee experience in their final days on campus, but more holistically inform the college as to areas of strength and areas of needed improvement.


Key Updates and Priorities for 2022–2023

  • The college data team was moved to the Office of Strategy, Planning and Equity Initiatives. The move will help broaden and streamline access to information, helping individuals and groups improve outcomes across multiple domains and will work in harmony with the campus-wide Data to Insights initiative.

6.1-6.3 build upon work underway in the college, while 6.4-6.6 represent newer priorities.