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THE UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS AT EL PASO: OVERVIEW
Now celebrating its Centennial year, The University of Texas at El Paso is the second oldest academic institution in The University of Texas System. UTEP was founded in 1914 as the Texas State School of Mines and Metallurgy. In 1949, the school's name changed to Texas Western College. In 1967 – one year after the University won a historic NCAA basketball championship (as showcased in the 2006 Disney movie Glory Road) – Texas Western College became The University of Texas at El Paso.
Today, UTEP is a research university with an enrollment of more than 23,000 students – the majority of whom are Mexican-American. UTEP is the only national research university with a Mexican-American majority student body and is third among all U.S. colleges and universities in awarding bachelor’s to Hispanics. The University, which employs 1,267 tenured and non-tenured faculty, and 1,830 staff, is located on the U.S.-Mexico border and adjacent to the State of New Mexico in El Paso, Texas – the 19th largest and the safest big city in the country. The U.S.-Mexico borderplex that includes El Paso and Juárez, Mexico has a total population of nearly three million people and generates more than $2.6 trillion annually, the equivalent of the fifth largest economy in the world.
The University of Texas at El Paso’s strategic location, student body and faculty expertise – which is focused on wide range of academic programs and research topics of emerging national interest, such as bilingual education and language acquisition, border security and immigration, environmental sustainability and infrastructure, health disparities and communicable diseases, and international trade and commerce – make UTEP an exciting place to work. Ongoing major investments from the Department of Defense, Department of Education, National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation form the base of a rapidly growing research portfolio with annual expenditures of more than $83 million. That places UTEP among the top emerging Tier One universities in Texas and the top 200 universities in the nation. In recognition of its significant growth in both graduate programs and doctoral degree candidates, in 2009 the Texas Legislature designated UTEP as one of eight emerging Tier One research universities. This designation allows UTEP to more effectively compete with other prestigious research universities from across the country and will bring additional resources to the city of El Paso.
UTEP’s competitive programs are attracting record numbers of students and preparing record numbers of graduates. Enrollment has grown 49 percent over the last decade, and since 2000, UTEP has achieved 104 percent growth in degrees awarded. Consistent with UTEP’s public university mission, administrators have kept tuition and fees affordable (UTEP offers the lowest net price among all public and private research universities in the nation) without sacrificing the quality of services offered to students. Additionally, the University recruits heavily within the region – 90 percent of students come from the area, including more than 83 percent from El Paso County.
Under the presidency of Dr. Diana Natalicio, a dynamic and well-respected leader in higher education, UTEP has served as a national model for higher education through the success of its mission to offer historically underserved populations access to excellent higher education opportunities. The University’s many successes in working with a nontraditional, primarily first-generation college student population have been lauded by such prestigious institutions as Excelencia in Education, the National Science Foundation (as one of six Model Institutions for Excellence), the National Survey of Student Engagement (as one of 20 Project DEEP Schools) and the American Council on Education (ACE). Dr. Natalicio has been personally recognized twice in the last five years by ACE – in 2007 as the recipient of the prestigious Reginald Wilson Diversity Award and in 2013 through her election as board president. With a 2012 and 2013 ranking by Washington Monthly magazine as one of the top 10 universities in the nation – and #1 for promoting social mobility among its graduates – UTEP is well on its way to becoming the first national research university with a 21st century student demographic.
The University of Texas at El Paso is dedicated to the advancement of the El Paso region through education; creative and artistic production; the generation, interpretation, application and commercialization of key discoveries; and the dissemination of knowledge. UTEP embraces its role as an intellectual, cultural and socioeconomic asset to the region, offering programs to meet human resource needs and improve the quality of life in the Paso del Norte region.
Vision and Core Values
The UTEP community – faculty, students, staff, and administrators – commits itself to the two ideals of excellence and access. In addition, the University accepts a strict standard of accountability for institutional effectiveness as it educates students who will be the leaders of the 21st century. Through the accomplishment of its mission and goals via continuous improvement, UTEP aspires to be an educational leader in a changing economic, technological and social environment: a new model for Texas higher education.
The University of Texas at El Paso is one of 15 component institutions of The University of Texas System. With nine academic and six health institutions, the UT System is one of the nation’s largest systems of public higher education. The Board of Regents, the governing body for the UT System, is composed of nine regents and one student regent who are appointed by the Texas Governor and confirmed by the Senate. Regents serve staggered six-year terms; the student regent serves a one-year term. The chancellor is the chief executive officer for the UT System and reports to the Board of Regents. He directly manages all UT System executive officers and institution presidents, including UTEP President Diana Natalicio.
Celebrating 100 Years
The University of Texas at El Paso has been transforming the lives of young people in the Paso del Norte region for 100 years and continues to celebrate its Centennial throughout 2014. From the first 27 students to the more than 110,000 graduates and beyond, the University has opened its doors to all who have the motivation to succeed and the willingness to work hard to improve their lives and achieve their dreams. As the number of students continues to increase each year, UTEP continues to help shape the Paso del Norte region by transforming its people, infrastructure and capital investment.
A Campus Transformed
Considered by many to be one of the most beautiful campuses in the nation, UTEP is known for its unique Bhutanese style of architecture. As UTEP celebrates its century of service to the Paso del Norte region, Texas and the nation, University leaders have implemented a new phase in the recent expansion of the campus facilities that will complement the University’s unique architectural style and accommodate the growth in enrollment and program expansion. This Campus Transformation Project will revitalize the exterior spaces of the University to create an aesthetically pleasing outdoor environment that will knit together the University’s beautiful buildings and reflect UTEP’s Tier One aspirations. Designed by Lake/Flato and Ten Eyck architectural firms, the plans utilize pedestrian walkways and green spaces and incorporate elements compatible with the natural beauty of the Chihuahuan Desert to build places for students, faculty and the community to engage and collaborate. Interconnected walkways, bike paths and organic campus trails will improve circulation to and from classes and increase pedestrian safety. Interspersed among the walkways will be shady retreats where students can study, socialize or relax with friends while enjoying El Paso’s year-round beautiful weather.
The Campus Transformation project will also be a reflection of the University’s long-standing friendship with the Kingdom of Bhutan and connectedness to the border region. Centennial Plaza – a large open area reminiscent of urban plazas located across the Paso del Norte region and in Mexico, where residents congregate and celebrate life — will feature a Bhutanese lhakhang, which was presented to the people of the United States by the people of Bhutan for permanent installation on the UTEP campus after it was showcased at the 2008 Smithsonian Folklife Festival in Washington D.C. This hand-carved masterpiece is UTEP’s first building actually made in Bhutan and its central presence on campus underscores the University’s cultural heritage, century-long friendship with Bhutan and commitment to expand the global perspective of UTEP students.
The Campus Transformation Project will also serve as a visible reminder of the progress made over the past 100 years and will provide future students with a vibrant campus culture that will be part of the University’s bright future.
THE UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS AT EL PASO: ACADEMIC PROGRAMS AND INFRASTRUCTURE
Today, the University is recognized for its successes in preparing and graduating minority students across multiple disciplines, particularly in the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) fields. UTEP offers a diverse array of academic programs at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. UTEP’s six colleges — Business Administration, Education, Engineering, Health Sciences, Liberal Arts, and Science — together with the School of Nursing and Graduate School, offer 70 bachelor’s, 75 master’s and 20 doctoral degree options, with several others in development.
College of Business Administration: The UTEP College of Business Administration shares with the University its fundamental mission to provide the highest quality education to the citizens of El Paso and the West Texas region, commensurate with AACSB International standards for business education. The college is educating the next generation of business leaders and growing a new breed of entrepreneurs; many graduates choose to be their own boss by starting a business with the skills they have learned and practiced at UTEP. The border location of the University and the expertise developed by the faculty provide an environment that also gives students opportunities to become knowledgeable in international business.
The college’s 111 distinguished faculty members work directly with more than 3,000 undergraduate and graduate students within the college’s four departments: accounting, economics and finance, information and decision sciences, and marketing and management. The college grants Bachelor of Business Administration degrees in the following majors: accounting, computer information systems, economics, finance, management, marketing, operations and supply chain management, and general business. The college also offers Master of Business Administration programs in both traditional and accelerated formats, as well as an executive M.B.A. option for business leaders with at least eight years of managerial experience. Serving a diverse population of students from more than 20 countries, UTEP’s M.B.A. program is consistently ranked among the top in the nation, and in 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013 was ranked #1 by Hispanic Business magazine.
The faculty of the College of Business Administration participates in the Division of Professional and Continuing Education, which offers a wide variety of noncredit programs including those for the business practitioner. The college’s CEDARS (Centers for Entrepreneurial Development, Advancement, Research and Support) provides support and a nurturing environment for family business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs to successfully develop their enterprises.
College of Education: The UTEP College of Education has its feet in the community – more than 70 percent of current K-12 teachers in El Paso are UTEP alums. The college prepares educators and support personnel at all levels of leadership and responsibility, through both degrees and special certificate programs within its three departments: Teacher Education, Educational Leadership and Foundations, and Educational Psychology and Special Services. Sixty-four faculty members serve more than 2,000 undergraduate students from the College of Education, the College of Liberal Arts and the College of Science.
In the past several years, all 24 teaching certificate areas have been transitioned to an optional online format. The college provides online access to teacher certification programs throughout the State of Texas with its Alternative Teacher Certification Program for people who have degrees in areas other than education and would like to be certified.
Out of more than 3,400 graduate students on UTEP’s campus, 27 percent are enrolled in the College of Education – including more than 100 doctoral students. These graduates and current students are engaged in research on issues relevant to the U.S.-Mexico border to examine impacts of culture and language on school achievement and many other topics of interest to the surrounding community and beyond. Doctoral programs include an Ed.D. in Educational Leadership and Administration and a Ph.D. in Teaching, Learning and Culture. Graduates go on to positions within the immediate region and throughout the nation.
The college is also home to one of UTEP’s best-known outreach initiatives, the Mother-Daughter program. Established more than 25 years ago, the program offers sixth-grade girls and their mothers opportunities to learn about the value of higher education, as well as meaningful interaction with UTEP students and faculty. Successful women from the community serve as mentors throughout the yearlong program. The program started modestly with 32 girls and today averages about 250 students per cohort. To date, more than 5,000 students have participated in the program.
College of Engineering: The College of Engineering traces its roots to the early years of the Texas State School of Mines and Metallurgy. Today, the college has emerged as a national leader in graduating Hispanic engineers with the real-world experience and academic foundation needed to change the face of engineering.
The college employs more than 120 faculty and staff in six academic departments, and includes 15 state-of-the-art research and instructional laboratories and research centers. Academic departments include civil, computer science, electrical, industrial, mechanical, and metallurgical and materials engineering. Undergraduate and graduate degrees are offered in all major disciplines. Master’s degrees are also offered in systems engineering and environmental engineering; doctoral offerings include Ph.D.s in biomedical, civil, electrical and computer engineering, computer science, energy science and engineering, and materials science and engineering.
The college has consistently ranked among the leading institutions in the country for the education of Hispanic engineers at the undergraduate, graduate and doctoral levels and has been named a "Model Institution for Excellence" by the National Science Foundation. Ranking among the top 10 graduate engineering programs for Hispanics, the college serves as a national model for urban institutions in engineering education innovation and in the integration of education, research and engineering practice and entrepreneurship as a potent economic stimulator for the Paso del Norte region. Along with innovative programs, pioneering research efforts, active partnerships and a continued commitment to diversity, the College of Engineering is using the Paso del Norte region’s unique characteristics, such as climate, proximity to the border and military instillations, economic status and population statistics, to help generate valuable research on some of today’s most pressing global concerns.
College of Health Sciences: The 164-member UTEP College of Health Sciences faculty team is dedicated to excellent evidence-based teaching with a range of nationally accredited professional education programs in the health, rehabilitation, education and human service fields. These programs lead to careers in nine distinct professions: clinical laboratory science (bachelor’s), kinesiology (bachelor’s and master’s), social work (bachelor’s and master’s), public health (master’s), physical therapy (doctorate), speech-language pathology (bachelor’s and master’s), rehabilitation counseling (master’s) and pharmacy (cooperative Pharm.D. with UT Austin). The college’s flagship interdisciplinary health sciences Ph.D. program also provides a unique educational path for clinicians to become future faculty and health researchers. UTEP has been recognized as among the top universities in the nation in awarding degrees in the health fields to Hispanic students.
The college’s programs contribute hundreds of key personnel to clinical practice and leadership roles in the regional health care system. More than 70 percent of graduates remain in the community and many choose to work closely with faculty as teachers and mentors for current students. The college also prepares students to address health issues in their own community through collaborative institutes such as the Community and Academic Partnerships for Health Science Research (CAPHSR) and the Center for Interdisciplinary Health Research and Evaluation (CIHRE), which address health disparities and promote health equity among underserved populations on the U.S.-Mexico border.
Together with the UTEP School of Nursing, the college is housed in a newly constructed, 135,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art health sciences facility that features the latest in health care technology and provides students the opportunity to practice responses to common health care scenarios.
College of Liberal Arts: The UTEP College of Liberal Arts offers a dynamic environment that engages the creativity, resourcefulness and imagination of its students and is ranked one of the top five in the nation for the number of bachelor’s degrees awarded in the visual and performing arts, according to The Hispanic Outlook in Higher Education Magazine. As the largest college on campus, the College of Liberal Arts has nearly 2,000 combinations of majors and minors, 20 master’s and three doctoral programs in the behavioral and social sciences, humanities and the arts. More than 7,000 students are enrolled in Liberal Arts classes with more than 400 faculty committed to capitalizing on the scholarly opportunities presented by El Paso’s bi-national, multicultural region. At the same time, the college looks to advance scholarly research, showcase art and provide innovative instruction that is of national and international significance.
College of Science: The UTEP College of Science ranks second in the nation for Bachelor of Science degrees awarded in biology and biomedical sciences to Hispanics. Over the past five years, the college has doubled its majors and has increased enrollment to more than 1,500 students. Award-winning faculty, combined with a number of exchange programs, competitions and research opportunities, have helped UTEP’s College of Science gain national attention, including recognition from the American Chemistry Society, the State of Texas, museums and other universities. Dedicated to discovery, invention and education, the college envisions itself as a dynamic community dedicated to innovative research and learning with a global impact for the 21st century, while also recognizing its special role as a leader in the Paso del Norte community.
School of Nursing: The UTEP School of Nursing (SON) started as the Hotel Dieu Training School for nurses in 1898 – the first nursing school in El Paso – and joined The University of Texas at El Paso in 1976. The multicultural diversity of the SON’s faculty, staff and student body creates a rich learning environment. With bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral programs, the school serves close to 700 students and graduates more than 360 students annually. More than 60 percent of graduates stay in the immediate area and work with area health care facilities or in the public schools.
The SON offers both graduate and undergraduate degree options, all of which are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (B.S.N.) options are offered in traditional and fast-track formats. Practicing nurses with an RN may also pursue a B.S.N. through an RN to B.S.N. program. The school also offers a Master of Science in Nursing degree with options in nursing education, nurse practitioner and nursing systems management, as well as a Doctor of Nursing Practice (D.N.P.).
The SON’s Centers of Excellence add to its strength and national reputation by providing additional resources in areas of expertise and research opportunities for both students and faculty, including a Center for Aging, Center for Simulation and the Hispanic Health Disparities Research Center.
Span of Campus Acreage and Facilities
UTEP is nestled in the foothills of the Franklin Mountains on the far western edge of the City of El Paso.
El Paso’s desert environment perfectly complements UTEP’s majestic buildings and extends the feeling of serenity invoked by their presence. As a tribute to the desert’s natural beauty, the UTEP campus includes the Chihuahuan Desert Gardens, a mini biome offering both educational opportunities and a place for rest and introspection. The incorporation of hiking and biking paths alongside a naturally formed arroyo that winds throughout campus will likewise bring opportunities for both educational outreach and relaxation, and will have the added benefit of connecting the University with surrounding neighborhoods.
UTEP’s 421-acre campus includes 90 buildings incorporating classroom and meeting spaces, state-of-the-art laboratories, business and faculty offices, a six-story library and technology center, and multiple athletic facilities and computer laboratories. UTEP’s recently constructed, $32 million Student Recreation Center — complete with an Olympic-sized swimming pool, indoor running track and climbing wall, weight and cardio exercise rooms — is the campus’ crown jewel of student life and is considered one of the finest in the country.
UTEP is also home to some of the top research facilities in the nation, including:
The Paso del Norte Region
The Paso del Norte region holds unparalleled promise – the promise of a magnificent quality of life augmented by a pioneering University that inspires talented individuals to fulfill their dreams through higher education.
Literally translated, El Paso means “the pass” in Spanish. Through this historic crossroads that was once a hot focus during the Mexican Revolution, one can discover the best of El Paso, Mexican and Native American culture and the enchantment of the Southwest. El Paso is known for its welcoming people, abundance of arts and cultural events, local Mexican food and beautiful sunsets. In 2013, Forbes listed El Paso among 15 emerging downtowns, citing 85 redevelopment projects, including a new children’s museum, cultural heritage museum, and a new Triple A baseball stadium that is home to the El Paso Chihuahuas. In 2012, the voters also approved $470 million in Quality of Life Bonds to improve parks, libraries, museums, the zoo and Downtown, which will further add to the city’s charm and reputation for being one of the best places to live.
Known as the Sun City, El Paso offers locals abundant opportunities to enjoy the year-round beautiful weather, boasting more than 300 sunny days a year. This makes El Paso a perfect place for families and outdoor enthusiasts. The city’s parks and year-round cultural events attract locals and visitors alike. The natural Southwestern beauty of Franklin Mountains State Park, McKelligon Canyon, Hueco Tanks State Park and White Sands National Monument, as well as other archaeological sites, call to bicyclists, hikers, mountain climbers and others with an adventurous spirit. Just a stone’s throw away is Carlsbad Caverns, natural hot springs, and a number of historic sites such as the Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument. Overall, one is awestruck by the abundance of spectacular canyons, sheer cliffs along mountain trails, sand dunes, lava fields, caverns and other natural attractions that make the El Paso area a unique place to live and explore.
El Paso’s rich multicultural heritage, location on the U.S.-Mexico border, attractive geological features and Chihuahuan Desert landscape provide a unique setting, making the city a regional magnet for social, cultural, athletic and artistic events. Every year, local residents, domestic tourists, and Mexican nationals visit the area’s numerous entertainment venues, museums and performing arts events. In the past years, the arts have been a significant catalyst for the redevelopment of downtown El Paso. In a four-block area, Downtown holds the main public library, the Plaza Theatre Performing Arts Center, several major hotels, city hall, the convention center, the El Paso Museum of Art, the Holocaust Museum, and the El Paso Museum of History. Additionally, El Paso prides itself on hosting a series of cultural events that attract local, national and international visitors each year. Events such as Music Under the Stars, Neon Desert Music Festival, Viva El Paso and other projects make the city a vibrant, cultured and imaginative place to live.
A major contributor to the local economy, El Paso’s Fort Bliss Military Reservation is one of the largest military bases in the United States and home to the 1st Armored Division. Currently, it is home to more than 33,600 active duty soldiers and 1,770 reservists, accompanied by close to 45,000 dependents. In addition, nearly 11,000 civilian employees serve the base in various capacities. The headquarters for the El Paso Intelligence Center, a federal tactical operational intelligence center, is also housed on the Ft. Bliss base.
UTEP’s Impact on the Region
Since its inception, The University of Texas at El Paso has worked in partnership with the El Paso community to benefit the region. In 1914, the El Paso Chamber of Commerce paid $50,000 (more than $1.18 million in today’s dollars) to establish the Texas State School of Mines and Metallurgy, now UTEP. When a fire rendered the original campus buildings unusable in 1916, five El Paso residents came forward to donate additional land for a fresh start in a new location.
One hundred years later, thanks to ongoing community support, UTEP has become the large public research university that it is today.
Every year, UTEP alumni in the local workforce, university payroll and campus expenditures add more than $1.3 billion to the El Paso County economy. In fact, as an individual institution, UTEP produces a larger impact on the local economy than the entire transportation sector or construction sector. As the fifth largest employer in the city, UTEP employs 3,500 full- and part-time faculty and staff. Nearly 97 percent of these employees live in El Paso County and are credited with saving the state $36.6 million each year in avoided social costs from improved health, reduced crime and reduced welfare and unemployment. Additionally, UTEP prides itself on ensuring faculty, staff and students are involved in their community. Every year, students contribute more than 560,000 community service hours through academic coursework and volunteer opportunities. The total estimated dollar value of these hours is $13.1 million.
For nearly a century, the University has educated students who then enter the region’s workforce with enhanced skills and competencies that transform into increased lifetime incomes and enriched lives and families. The University employs thousands of the county’s residents, its annual operations generate revenues for hundreds of regional businesses and industries, and students and visitors to campus consume millions of dollars in living and entertainment expenditures. At the dawn of its second century, UTEP is poised to continue to serve as an economic driver in the Paso del Norte region while setting a new pace for higher education in the United States by fulfilling its ambitious mission of access and excellence.
Collaboration with Other Educational Institutions
El Paso is home to one public four-year university (UTEP) and one community college district (El Paso Community College). Lubbock’s Texas Tech University also has a health sciences satellite campus in El Paso. The city is also home to the recently opened Paul L. Foster School of Medicine. Four major school districts – Canutillo ISD, El Paso ISD, Socorro ISD and Ysleta ISD – serve the area’s K-12 public education needs.
UTEP serves a unique, “closed loop” community, meaning that the majority of students are recruited from El Paso high schools and remain in the area after graduation. The University’s relationships with the area’s four major school districts are strong and productive, and they focus on aligning and strengthening the curriculum so that students — particularly those from underserved backgrounds — graduate from high school ready to take on the challenges of higher education.
Efforts on the part of the University and its K-12 partners to address educational inequities at the local level began with establishment in 1991 of the El Paso Collaborative for Academic Excellence. As the collaborative’s lead partner, UTEP works with area school districts and the El Paso Community College District to align curriculum along the K-16 continuum, and to create teacher development programs, all in an effort to ensure that all El Paso students, regardless of their background, graduate from high school prepared to enter college.
UTEP also enjoys a collaborative relationship with Texas Tech University Health Science Center. Faculty members from both institutions work closely on projects related to border health and environmental issues.
To learn more about working in the El Paso area visit visitelpaso.com