It is hard to believe that I have been with The University of Texas at Arlington for a full year now. The days have gone by quickly, and it has been my sincere pleasure to meet thousands of the faculty, staff, students, alumni, and community members who make this University remarkable.
As I reflect on my first year as your president, I am humbled by the support you all have shown and the spirit of optimism I have seen for where UTA is headed. It’s hard to put into words what makes UTA so impressive because it’s this wonderful, intangible spirit within our community. I see it within all those I meet—a fortitude, a culture of collaboration, and a desire to create a lasting impact. YOU are what makes UTA great.
My first year has been marked by many exciting accomplishments at UTA. It is great to see the effort our Maverick family is putting toward reaching our Texas-sized dreams. As I shared at my investiture ceremony in September, our state needs us to dream big. My own dream for UTA is for us to be one of the most impactful and inclusive research universities in this country and, by working together, for us to be a force for positive impact across Texas.
Here’s a highlight of UTA’s recent accomplishments:
These successes are not my successes, they are all of ours. They are the successes of our faculty and staff who helped us achieve the Seal of Excelencia. They’re the successes of students who came together to leave their mark on UTA. They belong to all of us, and we should feel proud to share these accomplishments as our own.
We’ve also seen tremendous progress in just a short time on our key strategic themes.
I’m excited to share with you some of the feedback I’ve received around the many new initiatives, efforts, programs, and more we have launched over the last year, and to provide some updates on what’s ahead for UTA as we trailblaze toward a better Texas for all.
“UTA has done everything to prepare me for my future. With the number of opportunities to build myself professionally, I feel I am a great candidate for any job I go into, as well as good competition for other applicants.”
—Liam Rhodes (’23 B.S., Social Work)
One of UTA’s greatest strengths is the diversity of our student population; we are stronger because of the unique experiences they bring to this community. We have a number of new and ongoing initiatives to support a rich environment where all students can thrive, such as the Provost’s Nationwide Insurance Faculty Fellowship Supporting Equity in Student Success program, for which we recently selected our first fellow. This opportunity supports faculty as they directly contribute to our mission of student access and equitable outcomes.
I’m so proud of the work that our teams have been doing to support student success this past year. We expanded our graduate tuition support, rolled out the new MavPlanner, and opened the UTA Maverick Food Pantry presented by Kroger, all in support of our students.
We understand that your success extends so much further than just in the classroom, and I want to thank you for the hard work you have put in this past year. The ongoing success of our students is a collaborative effort that we continue to prioritize, as we ensure you are ready for your future.
“Being involved in research has been a highlight of my time at UTA. My exposure to research has given me profound insight, nurtured my inquisitiveness and love for learning, and helped me develop the skills to think like a scientist. I’m excited to apply what I’ve learned at UTA when I start medical school this summer.”
—Julissa Mireles (’22 B.S., Biological Chemistry), research scientist in Dr. Michael Nelson’s lab
Not a day goes by since I started that I have not received an email about or heard an amazing story on the research being conducted at UTA. I’m regularly touring our research spaces and learning about the real-world impact our research is making locally and globally. I have had the distinct pleasure of meeting so many students who are learning and working with our researchers across campus, taking advantage of the numerous research opportunities we have for students.
In May, I’ll be speaking at the inaugural State of Higher Education hosted on our campus in partnership with the Greater Arlington Chamber of Commerce and Tarrant County College District. There, I will have the opportunity to share a number of impactful and life-enhancing research stories thanks to the work you do at UTA.
Alumni & Community Engagement
“UTA is an incredible partner in the community. We align on a shared commitment to developing a diverse workforce and helping students from all backgrounds achieve their dreams of earning a college degree. We thank President Cowley and UTA as a whole for their investment in North Texas and the next generation of energy innovators.”
—Annette Underwood, Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer at Vistra Corp
As future Maverick alumni, you should know that we are focused on supporting you and want you to be engaged with us for years to come. Our Alumni Relations team is working hard to build our chapter and affinity groups, which I hope you will join when you graduate.
We have also built new corporate partnerships, raising over $6 million in corporate gifts and over $3 million in foundation support since this time last year. These gifts go on to support faculty research, scholarships, study abroad, various programs, and more.
Over the past year, our students have outdone themselves in support of our community as well. With over 160 service-learning courses and thousands of students involved, they have made a significant difference to Arlington and the broader metroplex.
“The new Smart Hospital has given me new joy with simulations! The rooms are set up exactly like hospital rooms, making the simulation experience more realistic for us. The beauty of the building itself and the new additions make it perfect for nursing students to enjoy studying there.”
—Evelyn Zaragoza, President of UTA’s Hispanic Student Nurses Association
One of the things I am most excited about is the future of our campus. This year, we achieved a major accomplishment by opening our new School of Social Work and College of Nursing and Health Innovation Smart Hospital.
We’ve also made significant investments in our student spaces. Some of the improvements include the Planetarium Plaza’s new outside study area and the College of Business’ enhanced engagement spaces for students and faculty to meet before and after classes, as well as improvements to over 90 classrooms in more than 12 buildings.
Our team continues to identify new opportunities for enhancement, including continuing work on our new Greek Life Center, which is expected to open this fall on Greek Row, and relocating our Center for Cultural Engagement and Social Change within the University Center. Planning is underway for the Cooper Street Bridge renewal, Life Sciences renovation and expansion, and a new residence hall. We are also exploring how we can best utilize the vacated School of Social Work space.
What a year! For a summary of our accomplishments and ongoing work under each strategic theme, visit our strategic plan webpage here. We are actively engaged in our strategic planning process, and I encourage you to provide your feedback in the form on the website.
I can’t thank this community enough for the warm welcome y’all have given me in my first year. If it’s possible, I am even more excited now about the prospects for our future than I was on day one. It’s been a year of success, laughter, and change as we transform UTA for the future together. This community is why I am here, and I could not be more thankful.
Jennifer Cowley, Ph.D.
The University of Texas at Arlington
701 S. Nedderman Drive | Arlington, TX 76019 US