Powers outlines plan to maintain excellence at UT

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In an address early this morning, President William Powers Jr. addressed University goals, state budget cuts and the importance of research at UT.

His speech came at a time when higher education officials are nervous about a perceived anti-research message from the governor's office and the UT System Board of Regents. UT also anticipates at least $50 million in state funding cuts as the state legislature this session strives to balance a budget shortfall that may be as high as $27 billion.

Powers commended the efforts of the Commission of 125, a group of 125 individuals from outside the University who outlined a set of goals to improve the UT curriculum in 2004, including ensuring that all undergraduate students study broad range of topics. Other initiatives, like the Freshman Research Initiative and the Course Transformation Program, are helping improve the undergraduate experience, he said.

The University must focus on increasing its graduation rate and helping students graduate in four years, Powers said, and it must also increase business efficiency while maintaining excellence in teaching and research.

"I will continue to defend our Constitutional mandate to remain 'a university of the first class,'" he said. "I will work night and day to achieve our vision for the public research university of the future. And I thank everyone in the Longhorn family for helping me do that."

Read the full transcript of Powers' speech here: http://www.scribd.com/doc/55032005/0509-Powers-Speech