On the day he was announced as the permanent dean for the College of Natural Sciences, David Vanden Bout sent the following message to the community of students, faculty, staff and supporters.
I am honored and enthused to accept the position of dean of the College of Natural Sciences at a time when together we are so well poised to capitalize on our strengths and seize new opportunities for collaboration. I take seriously this responsibility of working with you on addressing the challenges and possibilities of this moment for our college.
Over more than 25 years now, my experiences at the University of Texas—as an alum, as a faculty member, as a former associate dean and two-time interim dean, even as a UT parent—have helped me get to know the College of Natural Sciences very well. I'm confident that our large and important college is excellently positioned, with all of you, to fulfill its promise as a leader at UT Austin and in the world.
My commitments are to continuing communication and transparency, collaboration and remaining deeply focused on a set of values that help us to do all we do best. Essential to fulfilling our mission is keeping central the value of discovery, which is at the heart of our research and teaching, and the value of community, which provides for a sense of belonging for all our students, faculty and staff. Much of my attention will be on these values, plus one more: impact. I believe in embracing that we are a large and diverse college, spanning so many areas of science, because this size and scale can help us amplify our efforts in research, education and public engagement as they impact the lives of millions of people.
Continuing to foster research breakthroughs across the breadth of our disciplines, nurturing a spirit of curiosity in our classrooms so all learners practice asking and answering scientific questions and engaging deeply in educational experiences, honing an inclusive and team-oriented culture where we are welcoming and supportive of all members of our community, recruiting and retaining top talent and developing leaders, and bringing science to the public on a massive scale—these are the opportunities that excite me as dean. And they are made possible by the efforts of individuals throughout our college, each doing their part while working in collaboration, too.
I am inspired by what's ahead for the College of Natural Sciences—a future that abounds in exciting discoveries—and by the opportunity to lead this remarkable community as we embrace the full potential of our size and scale. I look forward to our ongoing work together.