The Commission of 125

The Commission of 125

The Commission of 125 was a group of citizens convened in 2002 to express a vision of how The University of Texas can best serve Texas and society during the next 25 years. The group included 218 members chosen for occupational, ethnic, and geographic diversity. Ninety were honorary members who had served as members of the UT System Board of Regents or one of two previous planning efforts--the Committee of 75 (which concluded its work in 1958) and the Centennial Commission (1983). Members hailed from 22 states and two foreign countries. The Commission was chaired by Kenneth M. Jastrow II , chairman and chief executive officer of Temple-Inland.

After nearly two years of deliberations, the Commission delivered its report to UT President Larry R. Faulkner on September 30, 2004. The Commission recommended one imperative: "The University of Texas must create a disciplined culture of excellence that will enable it to realize its constitutional mandate." The imperative alludes to the Constitution of the State of Texas, which states, "The Legislature shall...establish, organize, and provide for the maintenance, support, and direction of a University of the first class." To that end, the Commission recommended two strategic initiatives --to develop a new undergraduate core curriculum and to establish a more demanding standard for leadership of academic departments and research centers.

In response to the first initiative, UT President William Powers, Jr., then dean of the School of Law, chaired the Task Force on Curricular Reform, which included 18 distinguished members of the University faculty and two students. The group was charged with reviewing the undergraduate curriculum--last done in 1981--and presenting a proposal for revision. The Report of the Task Force on Curricular Reform was submitted to the president, provost, chair and members of the Faculty Council on October 27, 2005.

With regard to the academic leadership initiative, then President Larry Faulkner and Provost Sheldon Ekland-Olson led a series of working groups to assess the current situation and develop ways to attract and support stronger department chairs. In the spring of 2005, they met with groups of deans, chairs, research center directors, and faculty members. The administration is at work implement the resulting recommendations.

The Commission of 125 also made 16 operational recommendations in support of the strategic initiatives, including:

  • Reducing the undergraduate student-faculty ratio
  • Limiting enrollment
  • Increasing campus housing
  • Implementing an Honor Code

This web site will have more news as work on the recommendations progresses.