Letters from Leadership Spring 2024

From the Faculty Council Chair

One of the most wonderful things about being an instructor is the seasonal cadence of the work. We return to campus in January to greet new students, each with a fresh slate of courses, embarking on a new semester journey. I’m teaching a new course this semester, so I’m excited but also a little daunted perhaps just like my students.

I love being part of a community of learners. Here, there’s a regular sense of beginning anew. While The University of Texas campus is the physical embodiment of Longhorn Nation, our learning community extends well beyond the Forty Acres. We have students of all backgrounds and all ages, from our littlest students at the UT Lab School, to elementary and middle school visitors who attended STEM Girl Day in February. We have high schoolers participating in the UT OnRamps program earning university credit along with our undergraduate and graduate students. Earning a doctorate is just the beginning, not the end, of a lifelong process of learning as professors continue to explore their areas of scholarship. Adults in our community may take advantage of a wellspring of learning opportunities, from credentialing programs to simply auditing a course. Featured in this edition of Texas Connect are other ways UT provides opportunities to learn something new. Passport Services is making it easier to explore the world. Feeling a little less ambitious? Take in the new exhibits at the Art Galleries at Black Studies!

Whatever your interests, UT Austin is a great place to start. Happy spring!

Jen Moon
Faculty Council chair

From the Staff Council Chair

The primary focus of my tenure as chair of UT Staff Council during the past year has been to create connections and build relationships. Cultivating these partnerships is central to Staff Council’s role in representing the interests of staff and providing a conduit for communication between University staff and leaders.

Leading Staff Council also has been personally enriching. I began work at UT six years ago after many years of being a full-time mom. For a long time, I felt this situated me well behind the professional learning curve of my peers, some of whom had nearly two decades of work experience. During this past year, I discovered that the wisdom and lessons of my lived experiences are professionally valuable. Those experiences gave me a robust foundation for advocacy and collaboration, teaching me how and when to set and hold priorities and when to be agile and versatile in the face of unexpected challenges.

I am indebted to the Staff Council officer and program coordinator team for their energetic commitment, keen insights and pervasive integrity. I am so proud of the work of every Staff Council committee and the excellent stewardship of each committee’s chair. I am very grateful for the commitment and the engagement of each UT Staff Council representative.

I am a staunch believer in the ingenuity, determination and flexibility of staff. I salute the work, the dedication and the energy of all staff across every UT Austin campus. You are crucial to the University’s success, and you bring to life the vision and the mission of The University of Texas at Austin.

Ann Sellers
Staff Council chair