The University of Texas at Tyler announced the 100 Communities initiative, an umbrella effort to build partnerships in cities and towns across East Texas to enhance economic and educational outcomes and improve the well-being of the region.
"The University of Texas at Tyler is committed to working with communities to build a better future for students and a stronger, more vibrant region for all East Texans,’’ said Dr. Michael Tidwell, UT Tyler president. "The 100 Communities initiative will allow the university to connect with each community and identify ways in which we can work together to move our region forward.’’
The 100 Communities effort has started identifying opportunities where the university’s intellectual and human resources can enhance local communities. However, communities are not limited by current projects. For the past few months, UT Tyler’s Office of Community Engagement has visited school districts, chambers of commerce, city governments and other East Texas entities to communicate the availability of these resources and learn about additional ways the University can support the region. The goal is to reach more than 100 individual communities in the region.
"We are calling this effort 100 Communities because it reinforces our mission as a university to benefit the entirety of East Texas," said Dr. Laura Jackson, assistant vice president for government and community affairs. "We look forward to meeting with our East Texas neighbors and working together to make a lasting impact on our region.’’
As part of the five-year strategic plan, UT Tyler is working to expand collaborative efforts with existing East Texas partners and establish new partnerships. The 100 Communities program represents a new phase in those efforts. "I see UT Tyler as a significant economic driver in the region with a true commitment to expanding that reach to areas like Jacksonville,’’ said James Hubbard, president/CEO of the Jacksonville Economic Development Corp. "I think the direction that UT Tyler is taking and its openness to reaching out to establish partnerships in communities is really exciting,’’ said Dr. Kim Tunnell, Mineola Independent School District superintendent. "Through our partnership with the UT Tyler School of Education’s Center for School-Based Research and Instruction, we are providing professional development and research-based strategies for our staff.’’
The Office of Community Engagement works to enhance UT Tyler outreach programs, build relationships throughout the region and connect communities to the vast resources of the university. For more information about the 100 Communities initiative or other UT Tyler community engagement programs, visit uttyler.edu/community.