A Message from Our VP, November 2021

Nov. 2, 2021

Hello Student Affairs Team,

This month, I need your help. Even a few minutes of your time could make a difference.

Our impact on students sets us apart from every other unit of The University of Texas at Austin. We touch the lives of every Longhorn. So it is our responsibility to lend our voices to the future of our university through our strategic planning process, which will create a roadmap for the next decade.

In late September, President Hartzell unveiled a new Strategic Direction, a 10-year aspiration:

Become the world's highest-impact public research university, unleashing knowledge, opportunity and innovation from the heart of Texas.

I was honored to be part of the leadership team that drafted this Strategic Direction and the supporting pillars to help us achieve it.

People (our students, staff and faculty), Place (Austin and Texas) and Pursuits (experiences, education and research).

As one of the most important educational institutions on the planet, our plan will articulate who we want to become, and provide a roadmap for how we get there. It puts some stakes in the ground, giving us all shared points on the horizon we can move toward. Having just concluded the first phase to set this direction, we are now headed into phase two.

This is where you come in.

We are asking every member of our community to participate in transforming these aspirations into reality, by helping us identify, design and implement initiatives.

That’s why I want to ask for this favor: please take 10 minutes this week to directly share your ideas for how to make the university even better. Simply visit this digital “suggestion box" to enter your suggestions and insights.

This is a genuine request for your particular input. Every piece of feedback will be read and reviewed, and many of them will directly influence the investments we make in the next ten years.

Why should you care about the university’s new strategy?

Three big reasons come to mind. First, because you love UT Austin, you want it to realize its incredible potential. In your job role, you see countless opportunities for us to make things even better. Share them, and let’s try to turn them into reality.

Second, the more our new strategy is based on real, authentic, boots-on-the-ground staff perspectives, the greater its effectiveness. Simply put, I don’t know all the things you know. Nobody does. So let’s ensure, together, that the Division of Student Affairs is fully represented as we develop goals and initiatives.

Third, I believe this new strategy will give all of us extra freedom to make our work more creative, innovative and fulfilling. We will invest in the programs, services and resources we need to make our campus — and the student experience that it’s home to — as rewarding as possible.

So, again, I hope you’ll take some time in the next few days to think deeply about what you want for our university, hop online here, and give us your honest thoughts.

As always, if you have any questions — or if I can be of service to you as we round out 2021 — please don’t hesitate to email me at vpsa@austin.utexas.edu.

Hook ’em,

Soncia Reagins-Lilly

Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students