report on The Commission on the Future of TCU
David Van Meter
Fort Worth Councilwoman Cathy Hirt may have said it best.
when the Stripling & Cox department store on West Berry closed and left
the future of the street in question, Hirt spearheaded what became the
Berry Street Initiative -- 16 neighborhood groups, including TCU, and a bold
$16 million redevelopment plan over the next 20 years.
the final report luncheon of The Commission on the Future of TCU in October,
Hirt marveled at the 400-or-so members who had given a year to serve on
one of 17 task forces that looked at everything from TCU's basic undergraduate
experience to its strategic alliances in the community.
be interesting to see what the different task forces came up with," Hirt
said, "but to me, any time you can get this many people in one room, good
things are bound to happen."
Chancellor Michael R. Ferrari said. "I can assure you that it has been
no small task to examine and reflect on each of the 500 or so recommendations
that have resulted from this extensive process," Ferrari told the crowd
of business, civic and campus leaders. "Nonetheless, the Board of Trustees
and I are persuaded that there is a convergence of thinking on the most
urgent and compelling priorities that warrant our vigorous and enthusiastic
support in the months ahead."
to "move up" to the international stature it seeks, the Commission recommended
that the University "shore up" certain areas of campus, Ferrari said.
comes a university-wide plan to spend up to $100 million in the next few
years, with funding to come from gifts, student and user fees, endowment
income and other institutional resources.
and improve classrooms, science laboratories and studios across the University.
Include equipment and technology used in instruction and research to benefit
the learning process.
campus parking facilities on both the east and west campuses.
and expand the Rickel Building, followed by the Brown-Lupton Student Center.
and refurbish Waits and Milton-Daniel residence halls. v Expand teaching
and research facilities for the MBA program in the M.J. Neeley School
of Business, in concert with gifts focused on the James Ryffel Center
for Entrepreneurial Studies and the construction of the Sarah and Steve
Smith Entrepreneurs Hall.
the Tucker Technology Center.
subcommittees, the Commission strongly agreed that TCU's mission of "educating
individuals to think and act as ethical leaders and responsible citizens
in the global community" concurs with the University's heritage and its
members also affirmed that current enrollment of full-time students (about
7,500 total students) is optimal, that the personal faculty-student model
is vital and that commitment to the teacher-scholar model and core values
should fortify all future initiatives. But to "move up," the University
must move ahead in a number of areas.
the undergraduate experience, with specific emphasis on revitalizing the
core curriculum; expanding internships, service learning and student leadership
opportunities; strengthening the Honors Program; and increasing interdisciplinary
programs across the curriculum.
the presence, visibility and support of graduate education -- increasing
TCU's competitiveness to attract and retain top students, assessing opportunities
for new graduate degrees and research institutes and providing funding
vital to building respected graduate programs.
the academic profile and diversity of our student body, especially undergraduate
scholarship support, financial aid and graduate student support.
current distinctive programs, including the MBA program in the M.J. Neeley
School of Business, piano and orchestral studies in the School of Music,
the health professions (especially pre-medicine) and international and
global education, especially the alliances with universities in Mexico,
Latin and South America.
academic programs that could achieve regional, national and international
distinction, including art history, mathematics, science and technology
education, engineering, communication, journalism and radio-TV-film.
feasibility of new graduate and professional degree programs, especially
in pharmacy, law and new interdisciplinary doctoral programs related to
or construct facilities that support TCU's mission and aspirations, with
these top priorities being the expansion of Mary Couts Burnett Library,
Ed Landreth Hall, the School of Education, communication studies, new
residence halls, facility enhancements to Brite Divinity School, a multipurpose
athletic facility and a learning facility that can benefit our entire
campus, especially the humanities and social sciences.
to implement a technology-rich learning environment at TCU, with specific
emphasis on creative uses of technology in teaching and learning. v Enhance
and support a high-quality and nationally respected Division I-A athletics
program that complements TCU's academic goals and maintains its institutional
integrity and vitality.
an office of Community Relations to coordinate University and community
initiatives; search for high-visibility programs that connect the needs
and attributes of Fort Worth with the qualities and capacities of TCU,
especially in regard to municipal projects, local governments and school
districts; develop a distinguished speaker series.
increased support for faculty and staff development, recognizing that
the dedication, competencies and accomplishments of our human capital
will largely determine the future reputation and pace of progress of TCU.
know of no other university that has involved so many people in a serious
and substantive conversation about its future," said Executive Director
Larry Lauer, vice chancellor for marketing and communication. "Half were
from inside TCU, and the others were supporters and friends representing
virtually all of our constituents. I am confident that everyone who participated
came away feeling that the future of TCU is extremely bright."
lies ahead -- including a likely fund-raising campaign that will exceed the
$127 million raised by The Next Frontier Campaign that concluded three
years ago. But Commission Chair Bob Schieffer '59 said the year-long think
tank energized the campus community for the toil ahead.
years since I sat around and said, 'How can I make TCU a better place?'
" Schieffer said. "But then I started to do just that É and so did a whole
lot of other people."