UT will use the grant to implement and evaluate next-generation learning models designed to help low-income, first-generation college students graduate at higher rates with an affordable, quality degree. The UT system is one of three public university systems in the nation to receive a grant from the Gates Foundation to support the development and assessment of highly customized and personalized degree programs. The programs, all targeted in areas of high employment demand, include biomedical sciences, criminal justice, cybersecurity, energy technology, engineering, and nursing at UT campuses in Arlington, Dallas, El Paso, Permian Basin, the Rio Grande Valley, San Antonio, and Tyler.
The grant also will underwrite the formation of a multi-campus consortium tasked with designing and testing future models of teaching and learning as well as financing the research infrastructure needed to evaluate and improve new approaches to instruction. To boost student success, schools in the system will employ digital tools to personalize learning pathways and "success" coaches to help students navigate the challenges they face in and outside the classroom. The programs also will harness sophisticated learning analytics to alert faculty when students are at risk of failure and to continuously improve the learning experience.
"The impact that the Gates Foundation is making here in the United States and throughout the world is unparalleled, and to receive a grant from this extraordinary organization is a great honor that comes with great responsibility," said UT System chancellor William H. McRaven. "To be a truly exceptional system of higher education, we must constantly evolve and find new and better ways to serve all students."