As the first President of UNT Dallas, Price drove the boot-strap effort that brought the university from the drawing board to reality.
The University of North Texas at Dallas (UNT Dallas) announced Tuesday that President John Ellis Price will step down next year after his three-year presidential contract concludes. He has held the campus CEO role since the institution began in 2001. Price will leave office on August 31, 2013.
âBuilding a university from the ground up was an once-in-a-lifetime career challenge that presented me with growth opportunities few educators are given,â President Price said. âThis university is on its way to great things, and Iâm a stronger professional because of my experience at UNT Dallas. More importantly, my time here has given me the opportunity to work with exceptional minds and committed, talented people, including faculty, staff and UNT Dallas and System leadership who have great ideas and a passion for higher education.â
Price notified University of North Texas System (UNTS) Chancellor Lee Jackson and the UNTS Board of Regents in March that he would end his tenure as president on August 31, 2013, the end of his current contract. Since then, he has been working to lay the foundation for an orderly and smooth transition to new leadership.
âWhen I was offered this position, I said I would only do so if I could lead the creation of a different kind of university with truly innovative approaches. So, in coming to Dallas, I had three goals: create the university, achieve its initial accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS), and provide the university with a strong foundation for future success,â Price said.
Price added: âWe achieved goal one when we became the first public four-year university in the City of Dallas and the 38th general academic institution of the State of Texas on September 1, 2010. We were recently notified by SACS that our application for separate accreditation has been approved which authorizes SACS to assemble a visitation team and schedule a university visit as early as Spring 2013 so we are close to achieving goal two. Our current work with the Commission on Building the University of the 21st Century will yield recommendations on innovative approaches to creating a New University Model which, if adopted, will give the university a strong foundation for future success â" we are another step closer to achieving this third goal. I have done what I came here to do and I feel like now is good time to look for my next career challenge and opportunity.ââ¨Price said he is still considering his options after he leaves office. He said he may return to teaching, research and consulting or may pursue another presidency of an established university, after a well-earned break.
âI believe my experience here will open many doors, but for now I am focused on the next year,â Price said. âThere is a lot of work still to be done and I intend to use every moment I am here to make sure UNT Dallas is well-positioned for success long after I leave.â
As the first President of UNT Dallas, Price drove the boot-strap effort that brought the university from the drawing board to reality. The institution started with 55 students who attended classes at an UNT branch campus in leased space in a business park in Southern Dallas County. UNT Dallas now offers 19 graduate and undergraduate degree programs to more than 2,000 students who attend classes in state- of-the art facilities on its 264-acre campus near IH20 in the southern part of the City of Dallas.
âThe challenges of growing UNT Dallas from infancy have been considerable â" from building facilities and degree programs to recruiting faculty, staff and students to a little-known institution to the never- ending battle for funding,â Price said. âWe would have never been able to accomplish what we have done, had it not been for the dedication of our faculty, staff and students and UNT System, UNT and UNT Dallas leadership. We asked them to take a chance on a brand new school with no real track record and they did. I will always be thankful for their trust and commitment.â
With an eye to the universityâs future, last year Price organized the 21st Century Commission, a working group of academic, civic, government and business leaders tasked with developing a new operational model for UNT Dallas â" a model designed to give the university a clear advantage in the hyper- competitive North Texas and statewide academic markets to ensure its long-term success. Dubbed the âNew University Model,â this new approach to operations and academics will dramatically cut tuition costs and shorten graduation times while producing high-value graduates with quality, in-demand degrees to meet the growing local and regional talent gap.
âWeâre not talking about low- or reduced-cost degrees in a few programs,â Price said. âThe New University Model is a radical new approach to higher education. Of all of our accomplishments while at UNT Dallas, I am most proud of the fact that I was a part of something that has the potential to break down the barriers of cost, access and quality that many âexpertsâ have said are insurmountable.â
UNT System Chancellor Lee Jackson called Price a visionary who has brought a unique blend of insider system knowledge and real-world experience to his job as UNT Dallasâ founding president.
âNo one from the outside could have done what John did,â Jackson said. âHe was a department chair and professor at UNT and knew our system intimately. He leveraged his relationships and knowledge of the system to gain approval on every academic decision for UNT Dallas and was exceptionally collaborative throughout the entire process. He was diplomatic, energetic, and above all, focused on the mission of building UNT Dallas. No one else could have done what he has done. I truly believe that.â
Added Jack Wall, chairman of the UNT Board of Regents: âYou cannot truly comprehend the set of challenges that President Price and his team faced in getting UNT Dallas up and running. We will always be thankful for his diligence, vision, leadership and effort to build and grow UNT Dallas.â
Texas State Senator Royce West, who initially proposed the concept of a public university in southern Dallas, said that the institution would have remained only an idea had it not been for President Priceâs efforts and vision.
âFew are uniquely positioned to provide leadership and to be prepared to take on a task when an opportunity presents itself and President Price is such a person,â said Senator West. âWhile he and the Dallas community supported the concept of a new university located in the southern sector of Dallas, President Price had the vision and gave it meaning when many thought it was a passing dream. He leaves his legacy that will benefit generations not yet borne. His work and vision will be inextricably entwined with the university forever. When people talk about the history of UNT Dallas, the name John Ellis Price will surely be one of the first mentioned.â
Pegasus News Content partner - North Dallas Gazette
Source: UNT Dallas