UT Invests Millions in Efforts to Become World’s Highest-Impact Public University
By Megan Fee
Reporting Texas TV
AUSTIN, Texas — The University of Texas at Austin’s slogan “what starts here changes the world” is taking on a whole new meaning as the institution strives towards its goal of becoming the highest-impact public university in the world.
In doing so, UT’s Board of Regents is looking to extend its $20 million contract with consulting firm Bain & Company.
“We’re really looking to compete at the highest level with the best public universities in the world,” said J.B. Bird, UT’s director of media relations and issues management.
He said UT’s goal is to stand alongside colleges like the University of California-Berkeley, the University of Michigan, the University of Virginia and the University of California-Los Angeles.
This announcement came about two weeks after U.S. News and World Report ranked UT the No. 43 university in the world, the No. 9 public U.S. university and first in Texas.
If approved by the board, UT will put its dollars towards a consulting expense to fund procurement, IT costs and a university-wide action plan for diversity, equity and inclusion. To view the strategic plan in full, click here.
President Hartzell selected an advisory committee composed of UT leaders and faculty members to spearhead the strategic direction. To view the Strategic Plan Leadership Committee in full, click here.
“The president assembled the strategic advisory committee and the strategic planning committee with the goal of having diverse representation across campus, across disciplines, across generations,” Bird said.
Several members of the committee declined to comment on the strategic efforts.
These efforts will impact current Longhorns, prospective students and UT alumni, Bird said.
“We’re trying to attract top talent, and that means diverse talent, people from diverse backgrounds. It also means people from all over the world and country who are the best in their field,” Bird said.
He said the university’s work with Bain & Company falls into two major categories. One-third of the work will focus on the strategic plan itself, while two-thirds of the partnership is dedicated to improving operations behind the scenes.
Bird said the plan will also emphasize areas in which UT is already naturally strong, including energy and environmental sciences.
The university’s total annual budget is almost $3 billion, with $1 billion of that is dedicated to purchasing goods and service. According to the university’s announcement, this contract with Bain & Company is less than 2% of the goods and services budget, and is expected to lead to “smarter, faster procurement processes yielding long-term savings.”
“If you’re going here now, it’s an exciting time because we’re focused on achieving excellence and increasing the excellence of the university, and that is going to impact you as a student,” Bird said.
“But also as a citizen of the state, and really of the world, hopefully you’ll be benefiting from the things the university is doing,”
Bird said the advisory committee held more than 100 town hall and forum meetings with campus stakeholders to gather input from the community, and will continue to do so through an input form on the strategic plan’s website.