This university has always been driven by the enthusiasm of those who study and work here and the fulsome financial support of those who believe in the mission of higher education and the specific role of TCU in that mission. This sturdy enthusiasm has meant that the university has often punched above its weight – the little engine that could.
Planning in this century has built on the foundations of yesteryear. The TCU campus has grown in both size and splendor. New buildings sprout from the campus with such speed that older alumni may get lost on campus. Academic and athletic successes mount and we have achieved prime destination status for an increasing number of both students and faculty.
However, increasing in size and complexity creates risks of which we must be aware. Two themes will assume great importance in the coming years. First, how we respond to the changing, increasingly diverse, demographics of the nation and in particular Texas, will require sustained strategic thought and action. Secondly, we must counter changing public and political perceptions of higher education. Many, of various political persuasions, question the relevance, cost and, especially recently, basic fairness of a university education. Regulations may be looming in the mist!
The great driving force of TCU has been the morale of those who work and study here. TCU has always been a place where decency has been a paramount value. Decency and high morale thrive best when camaraderie and good humor are constant companions. Maintaining a warm sense of community requires shared aspirational thought and action in which all can find common cause. TCU should avoid the descent into bureaucracy.
There is no cause to extract gloom from the preceding observations – but there is a need for sustained commitment to exciting ideas and bright unifying actions.
This report presents some of those ideas and suggests pertinent actions. There is, of course, a price tag. Budget sagacity has always been a feature of planning at TCU. Put simply, we have always “cut our coat according to our cloth.” Our conservative (small “c”) stewardship has permitted us to expand our operations in a consistent and integrated way, avoiding dyspeptic moments of budget frenzy.
This strategic approach has revolved around the simple idea that on a rising tide all ships float upwards. Thus, we can mark academic and athletic successes, an extraordinary improvement in facilities, a remarkable emphasis on the quality of the experiences that we offer to our students and, for our workforce, a commitment to enhancement of reward that has not faltered even during a climate of dismal national finances. At the same time, we have been cognizant of the challenges afforded to us by the dramatic and diverse demographic changes that are taking place in the nation and world. We are and will continue to respond to these changes with vigor.
Against this background we offer many recommendations. They come with a variety of price tags and timelines for implementation. Some have a greater priority, or perhaps a greater sense of urgency than others. None of the recommendations is revolutionary, but many are exciting and all, we believe, will improve the essence of this great university. It is a time for this university to be both brave and wise.
Dr. R. Nowell Donovan &
Dr. Teresa Abi-Nader Dahlberg
Provosts & Vice Chancellors for Academic Affairs
Three themes transcend TCU’s institutional goals and are key to the university’s strategic priorities.
Build a university for all by recruiting and retaining more diversity at all levels
— from students, faculty and staff to donors and trustees.
Craft a unique, highly engaging college experience that spans academics, athletics
and advising and emphasizes interdisciplinary learning.
Encourage student success by creating a holistic support model that encompasses mental
health, academic advising, career services and disability services.
Diversity & Inclusion
Build a university for all by recruiting and retaining more diversity at all levels — from students, faculty and staff to donors and trustees.
Craft a unique, highly engaging college experience that spans academics, athletics and advising and emphasizes interdisciplinary learning.
Encourage student success by creating a holistic support model that encompasses mental health, academic advising, career services and disability services.