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Change emerges from leaders across the college community. The college will create a flexible, forward-thinking culture that values and promotes leaders and gives voice to their bold ideas. The next generation of scientific leaders, from new graduates to young faculty, must have strong leadership and organizational skills, and the college should support their development. We must also provide a creative environment in which superior scientists at all levels, from undergraduate students to faculty members, can be recruited and thrive. The following six actions will develop leaders across the college community and support a scientific culture at the frontiers of discovery.

4. Diversify the faculty and support targeted growth in both core scientific disciplines and fields that emerge at the interfaces of those disciplines.

  • The college will work with departments to develop flexible, multi-year hiring plans whenever possible.
  • Positions and funding will be designated to interdisciplinary positions and the hiring of faculty that significantly diversify our faculty demographics. The college will provide a pool of positions to encourage increasing diversity in the recognition that hiring a diverse faculty requires considerable dedication and work to identify candidates in a small pool. Increasing diversity and “hiring the best” are compatible goals.

5. Strengthen and stabilize the non-tenure track faculty and acknowledge the important role that they play in the college’s learning community.

  • The college will increase the channels of communication with the non-tenure track faculty and more fully integrate them into the mission of the college.
  • We will develop and articulate clear standards and practices for hiring, performance evaluation, career advancement and rewards for these faculty members.

6. Increase financial and programmatic support for recruiting the country’s best graduate students.

  • The college will thrive by recruiting the best and most diverse graduate students, endowing them with resources to excel, and helping them become scientific leaders that have high scholarly, societal and economic impact. Stipends in many of our programs are significantly below those of our peers and competitors. We will increase graduate student support where necessary to be competitive with the best programs in the nation. We will catalyze and facilitate the submission of training grants, multidisciplinary center and program project proposals, and other student support programs.
  • We will focus efforts to recruit students from groups traditionally underrepresented in science and mathematics, help today’s students by providing support to explore a variety of career paths through the Texas Center for Science Discovery, and accommodate graduate students who have families.
  • We will critically evaluate the size, mentoring provided, and outcome success of each of our graduate programs, making adjustments where they are needed.

7. Establish a competitive, prestigious postdoctoral fellowship program.

  • We propose a college-wide, named postdoctoral fellowship program to attract the most accomplished new Ph.D.-holders to the college. A number of top-ranked universities have seen the benefit of attracting these early career scientists who seek a situation of independence and collegial interaction with senior researchers. In addition to the breadth and depth of research at the university and the high-tech Austin environment, the Texas Center for Science Discovery will be an attraction for postdoctoral fellows. Fellows will interact with each other on a regular basis and have a chance to enhance their teaching and public outreach skills.

8. Encourage and support the college’s talented staff and scientific professionals and integrate them fully into the fabric of the college’s research and educational programs.

  • The college will establish a regular series of faculty talks for college staff that offer non-technical glimpses into the research and exciting ideas being generated here.
  • We will redesign the performance evaluation system to make it more transparent, effective and meaningful for staff.
  • We will enhance communication across all units of the college and create a staff leadership group in the dean’s office that will help guide new policy and staff relations within the college.

9. Develop and implement strategies for increasing the success of students from groups traditionally underrepresented in science and mathematics.

  • We will continue to revamp and support introductory undergraduate courses and programs to enhance experiential learning, highlight the long-term economic benefit of STEM majors in career programs, provide a variety of role models by diversifying the faculty and creating a student leadership lecture series, and support family-friendly policies for graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, staff and faculty.