The idea for a Dean of Undergraduate Studies emerged early in the discussions of the Task Force on Curricular Reform at The University of Texas at Austin in 2004–2005, under the leadership of William Powers, then dean of the law school. Most members of the task force felt that curricular reform in core areas must be an ongoing, dynamic process responsive to the rapidly changing needs of students, as well as to changes in departmental requirements. They also recognized that changes of the scope they envisioned might require years to implement.
Accordingly, a task force subcommittee recommended the creation of a new unit led by a dean who would have the care and maintenance of the core curriculum as his or her main mission. The subcommittee also recommended that the new unit would be the home for a number of existing undergraduate programs as well as undeclared students. The unit would be set up with faculty oversight and closely coordinated with existing colleges and schools.
A committee of deans, under the leadership of then Dean Steven Leslie of Pharmacy (now executive vice president and provost), met during the spring and summer of 2006 and agreed that such a unit was indeed needed and recommended that a committee composed equally of senior faculty and associate deans guide it. Concurrently, the Faculty Council Educational Policy Committee met to con