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Message from the Interim Vice President: Reflecting on State of the University Address

Leonard Moore

Dear DDCE Family,

On Tuesday, President Fenves delivered his third State of the University address during which he discussed the university’s longstanding commitment to the educational benefits of racial and ethnic diversity as well as our university’s greatest purpose – to unlock the potential of our ideas. In discussing his vision, he outlined three prioritized commitments:

  1. Increase UT’s role as an engine of upward mobility for students and their   families
  2. Transcend the lecture hall to empower students to experience their education
  3. Support faculty research, scholarship, discovery, and creativity

I thank President Fenves for his focused leadership in areas that are key to the university’s growth as a top tier research institute. These commitments coalesce with a number of our division’s longstanding priorities and will continue to be key to our work.

First, we strive to provide our students with the tools, knowledge, and guidance they need to succeed in the world after graduation. We do this through student success initiatives in our Longhorn Center for Academic Excellence like the Gateway Scholars Program and Longhorn Link, which have greatly improved first-year GPA, retention rates, and on-time four year graduation for students from first-generation and economically disadvantaged backgrounds.

We’ve been at the forefront of experiential learning with a nationally recognized study abroad program focused on social entrepreneurship. We also provide academic service learning and community-based learning experiences through the Longhorn Center for Community Engagement, which supports faculty in the development of more than 100 courses across many different disciplines.

Other experiential learning initiatives focus on undergraduate research and career exploration opportunities such as the longstanding and highly successful Intellectual Entrepreneurship program, currently serving 130 students across 14 colleges and more than 50 academic disciplines. More than 70% of IE interns are either the first in their family to attend college, come from economically disadvantaged backgrounds, or are historically underrepresented students. Finally, through the McNair Scholars Program and DiscoverLaw, we prepare students for graduate and professional schools.

Our support of faculty and graduate student research is far reaching, including via initiatives like Project MALES and the African American Male Research Initiative (AAMRI). Just last month, Project MALES held its fourth annual Texas Male Student Leadership Summit which brought together more than 300 young men from across the state for two days of research, panel discussions, and fellowship. And this January, AAMRI will host its fourth annual Black Student Athlete Summit, the premier gathering in all of higher education for the discussion of student-athlete based research.

Unlocking this potential requires attention to detail and hard work, but I know that we are up for the task. Each Friday this fall I’ll be holding office hours in Main 12 from 9:30 – 11:30 a.m. and 12:30 – 3:00 p.m. I welcome the opportunity to discuss these or other issues related campus climate and diversity. Hope to see you soon.


Leonard N. Moore
Interim Vice-President for Diversity and Community Engagement
George Littlefield Professor of American History