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New Initiatives in Undergraduate Studies

At the annual Undergraduate Studies meeting, Interim Dean Larry Abraham presented the school’s upcoming initiatives and gave an update on the school’s first entering class, who are now in their final year at the university. The school is charged with helping undecided students identify a major that allows them to graduate; this dovetails with the university’s goal to increase the four-year graduation rate to 70% by 2016.

Enrollment Management & Graduation Rates

The data from our fall 2009 cohort demonstrates that the school is succeeding in its mission to help students identify majors that will allow them to graduate. Of the students who made up our initial class who are still enrolled or have already graduated, 84% remain in the majors they selected when leaving UGS. Advising provided in the Center for Strategic Advising & Career Counseling seems to be proving effective in guiding undecided students into majors in which they can excel. Students spend up to four long semesters in exploration mode, while completing core coursework that counts toward any degree.

77% of that first entering class selected Undergraduate Studies as their first or second choice. Of the students who did not select us as their first or second choice, 55% ended up in their first-choice major when they transferred out of Undergraduate Studies.

The four-year graduation rate of our initial class is predicted to be strong, especially when compared with UT’s overall four-year graduation rate. Of the 709 students who entered Undergraduate Studies in fall 2009, more than 66% are on track to graduate in four years or less. This is 16 percentage points higher than the university’s overall 50% four-year graduation rate.

Wayfinder

Beginning October 2012, visiting the school’s interactive major exploration website will be a requirement for every applicant to UT Austin. As part of the Provost’s efforts to champion four-year graduation rates, a new portion of the site provides a formative experience that encourages prospective students to consider alternate majors that would result in steady progress to graduation.

New Initiatives

Interim Dean Abraham also spoke about several new initiatives in the school:

  • The core curriculum will go undergo a transformation starting in 2014, through 2016
    • All undergraduate degree programs will require all of the flags
    • Six new objectives, determined by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, will be embedded in the core curriculum, and guidance will be added for instructors teaching core courses
  • The school has renewed its focus on college readiness, utilizing two grants totaling $1.4 million
  • The school’s capital campaign continues, with a $3 million goal over the next two years
  • A campus-wide interview & recruiting center was created to serve all undergraduate and graduate students enrolled at the university
  • The school continues to improve its academic support of students

Annual Report

Interim Dean Abraham’s talk coincided with the release of the Undergraduate Studies Annual Report which covers the time period from September 2011-August 2012.