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Dr. Woodley Sets Goals for the University

Tatum Guinn

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UT Permian Basin President Dr. Sandra Woodley is laying out her plan for the future of the University. She unveiled her strategic plan during the University’s historic Investiture Ceremony on November 5, 2018.

“Our Strategic plan is outward focused.  It is truly focused on the value we can bring to the community,” Dr. Woodley said. “That’s how we win.  That is how we achieve success—we focus on our value and we focus on doing the work every day that will make a difference in the community.   We plan to accomplish hundreds of things over the next 10 years.”

Dr. Woodley’s first goal is to double the number of people who earn a degree. Last year, over 1,000 people earned a UT Permian Basin degree.

“We need to have twice that every year to make a dent in the educational and workforce needs of our region,” Dr. Woodley said.

Another goal includes doubling the amount of research done at UT Permian Basin.

“Our talented faculty produced over 19 million dollars in innovative research last year,” Dr. Woodley said. “Over the next decade, this university will produce more than $300 million dollars in research to fuel our economy and add new knowledge to areas that are relevant to the Permian Basin and to the world.”

UT Permian Basin is home to several STARs professors, giving the University over $3.5 million in funding from UT System.

“That money has afforded us seriously talented faculty in Geology, Engineering and Biology,” Dr. Woodley said.

Part of the University’s strategic plan includes building applied research institutes to the support the needs of the region. Topping the list: an institute around water and energy that will bring the best minds in the world to the University of Texas Permian Basin.

“These experts will contribute to new knowledge that will support the globally important energy industry in the Permian Basin,” Dr. Woodley said.

Dr. Woodley also plans to focus on doubling endowments and external resources.

“We currently have about $40 million in endowments and the interest earnings from these endowments make it possible to serve our region,” she said. “These endowments provide scholarships for recruiting and retaining students.  They provide funds to hire the best and brightest faculty to maintain excellence in our programs.”

Her plan is to grow the University’s endowments to $80-million over the next decade.

One priority that people will be able to physically see in the coming years is a campus transformation plan.  The University’s executive team, along with many community partners, are working on a plan to add function and beauty to the campus.

“We will build and enhance walking paths, parks and gathering places for the community.  We will take care of our facilities and build new ones that attract new students and faculty and staff to come to UTPB,” Dr. Woodley said. “We will pay attention to the health and safety of our university and community family.  We want to be part of the solution that’s needed across the Permian Basin to support a place where people love to live and work.”

Photo is artist’s interpretation, not approved design.

Another part of the strategic plan includes growing the University’s Athletic Department. Dr. Woodley’s goal is to be nationally competitive in all aspects of Division II athletics.

“Athletics is one of our most important strategies to grow our university and improve the quality of life and campus experience for our students and community,” she said. “Investments in scholarships and facilities will be a big part of our strategy going forward.”

Perhaps one of the most imperative goals set for UT Permian Basin: growing our own workforce.

Dr. Woodley plans to double the number of K-12 teachers who graduate from UT Permian Basin.

“These professionals are so badly needed in the Permian Basin,” she said. “We have a responsibility to do everything we can to ensure that our public school students receive the quality education they deserve.”

The University also plans to create an internship program to give students in every field of study ‘real-world’ experience and more hands-on learning.

“This is a win-win for our students and our industry partners. Internships and co-ops, along with capstone projects that connect our students to their careers long before they graduate, will be a differentiator for UT Permian Basin,” Dr. Woodley said. “This program will provide us an opportunity to gain a deep understanding of what our industry leaders need from our graduates and we will deliver on that service.”

The Permian Basin is one of the most important places on planet Earth—and this is no overstatement. The Texas Tribune reports that the U.S. just surpassed Russia as the world’s top oil producer. The paper states that oil from our area will account for 80 percent of the growth in global supply over the next seven years.

Dr. Woodley says that presents a unique opportunity.

“The University of Texas Permian Basin has a major role to play in the future success of West Texas and beyond – and we are up for the challenge,” Dr. Woodley said. “This is your university and we are here to serve.”

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