Richard the Bruce – Famous Warrior and New Administrative Coordinator for OSI

February 1, 2016 Leave a comment
Richard Bruce & Wally

Richard Bruce & Wally

During his reign, Richard the Bruce, and his faithful sidekick Wally, fought successfully to regain Austin’s place as an independent nation, and is today remembered as a national hero . . .Oops! Wrong era, wrong “Bruce,” and wrong story. 

The real story is about Richard Bruce joining the ranks as the Administrative Coordinator at UT System’s Office of Strategic Initiatives. With 15 years of experience in higher education, Richard arrived at OSI most recently from UT Austin where he was an event and conference planner for the College of Liberal Arts.

Prior to UT, Richard coordinated the Psychology Department, one of the largest academic departments at Humboldt State University (HSU), and served as the coordinator for the College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences. He received a master’s degree in English from HSU and a few years later completed a Master of Public Administration program at California State University, San Bernardino, which, with careful planning, he took entirely online.

Having driven from the northwestern-most reaches of California (“It’s not the end of the world, but you can see it from here!”) to Austin this past spring, he’s exploring the Austin area, with special attention given to new places to eat. When he’s not out eating, he’s thinking about the next thing to bake (cheesecakes are his specialty), not learning to play the guitar now for the third year in a row, reading, and/or feeding the birds while his pug Wally snores at his side.

OSI welcomes Richard Bruce.

Easier to Get than Adele Tickets – Vertex Conference 2016

December 21, 2015 2 comments

Vertex Conference Higher Education Wordforce Data


Can’t get tickets to Adele? Don’t let it get you down because the next best thing is available – tickets to the inaugural Vertex Conference 2016. Scheduled for April 18 and 19, 2016 at the Hyatt Regency in Austin, Vertex is a two-day national forum for higher education sponsored by the University of Texas System.

The Vertex Conference 2016 theme – At the Intersection of Higher Education and the Workforce – will focus on strategies for accessing and using student employment data. Unless you have been living in a vacuum, you know that affordability and the value of an investment in education are critical topics that higher education must address at multiple levels. The Vertex Conference focuses on how to use data to provide real, quantitative-based answers to questions about affordability, as well as offers ideas about using technology to create tools for students and families.

Guest speakers from universities, community colleges, federal and state agencies, and organizations across the country will discuss this subject and other important issues, in venues ranging from highly technical data workshops to moderated discussions on the broader policy implications of this data.

Vertex Conference

Click here to read more about Vertex 2016

Some of the topics slated for discussion include:

• New and innovative ways to access available data and resources
• How to use workforce data to inform policy and advise students
• Overcoming obstacles and limitations of data
• FERPA / privacy regulations
• How to demonstrate your institution’s value added
• The impact of higher education on workforce supply and demand

In addition to the speakers, conference attendees will have the opportunity to interact with leaders from 2-year and 4-year colleges; institutional researchers, policy analysts, career services and financial aid advisers; government/agency representatives; economic development advisers; and communications professionals.

Click here to find out how you can secure your tickets for Vertex 2016.

UT System Initiatives – Ingenuity, Originality, Creativity, Enterprise

December 2, 2015 Leave a comment

UT System Initiatives

The Influuent Website Likes To

IˈniSHēˌāt  the ˈPäzədiv*

When it comes to laying out a bold and sweeping path for UT System’s 14 academic and medical institutions, it takes a lot of ingenuity, originality, creativity, and enterprise to make it happen. In November, Chancellor William McRaven unveiled his “quantum leaps” to make UT System a public higher education system of global influence.

Around the same time, UT System announced some of its transformational research initiatives. With a strong emphasis on connecting minds, advancing research, and encouraging creativity, the Influuent website now includes a section under Resources that provides a description of each initiative in greater detail. These initiatives leverage UT System’s existing strengths, combined with strategic investments, to make quantum leaps in research and healthcare.  Influuent makes these system-wide research initiatives and the faculty behind them more accessible.

UT System Cyber Security Cloud Security InitiativeCyber & Cloud Security Initiative

As cloud and mobile computing technologies expand their IT landscapes, the public and private sectors are subject to increased cyber-attacks, precipitating the application of plans and technologies that will let them rapidly detect and react to threats. The newest generation of security professionals, CIOs, and government leaders will bear the burden of protecting an organization’s infrastructure, and will be held accountable for security lapses. Security is more than just patching holes, so network gatekeepers need not only to keep up with trends, but to think beyond the present threat, as well. To meet current needs and expand future capabilities in cybersecurity, this initiative works on four fronts:

  • education and training,
  • research and applied technology,
  • industry outreach, and
  • network and infrastructure.

UT System Manufacturing LogisticsManufacturing Logistics & Sustainment


UT System recognizes the importance of ensuring that Texas has a globally competitive and innovative manufacturing sector. This proposed initiative promotes the connection of experts across UT System campuses with industrial partners both within Texas and beyond its borders, ultimately attracting investment, promoting innovation, expanding markets, and creating jobs in Texas. It has two major components:

  • Identify and exploit emerging opportunities in the design and use of innovative materials and processing technologies
  • Design, develop and deploy a net-centric “industrial Internet” infrastructure across Texas to learn how to support distributed production, reduce the technology gaps between OEMs and suppliers, and fundamentally transform post-production logistics and sustainment

How will it do this? “By enabling a tighter integration between research and application, education and training and by mapping academic activities to specific economic and educational needs.”

UT System Military Health Biosecurity InitiativeMilitary Health & Biosecurity

This initiative focuses on the health of our nation’s military service members, veterans, and their families through collaborative education, research, and clinical care. It includes developing and evaluating the most effective early interventions for detecting, preventing, diagnosing, and treating combat-related post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other service-related conditions. Additionally, UT System is focusing on biosecurity research areas that include bio-containment, vaccine development, infectious genomics, infectious virus analysis, rapid field assessment, and biological and digital threat surveillance and assessment, to name a few.

UT System FreshAIR Initiative

Texas FreshAIR

The FreshAIR initiative is committed to developing the biotech ecosystem in Texas by promoting strong partnerships and consortium-like structures among industry, UT System faculty, and other Texas university systems. Its various venues bring together entrepreneurs and innovators, including UT System faculty, industry experts, venture capitalists, and executives from the country’s top pharmaceutical and device companies.



*Translation: Initiate the Positive

Influuent 2015 Tour In Full Swing – Philadelphia – Dallas – Chicago – The Netherlands

November 23, 2015 Leave a comment

Influuent UT System Collaboration FreshAIRGood News for you fans searching for the perfect expert collaboration experience – the Influuent™ Tour may be headed to a city near you. Admittedly not on the same scale as the Stones’ A Bigger Bang Tour or U2’s 360º Tour, Influuent is drawing excited audiences to its presentations and demonstrations, not only in the U.S. but also internationally. Starting in the summer – just a month after the domestic launch of Influuent – UT System’s free online tool for finding faculty experts, innovations, and facilities made its debut to global crowds at the BIO 2015 International Conference in Philadelphia. [See: 2015 BIO – A Biotech Convention on Steroids]

Doing Dallas Influuently

Picking up speed in the fall, Influuent headed to the Texas FreshAIR Annual Conference at UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas. Texas FreshAIR is a world-class UT System conference designed to showcase faculty research for industry research, new medications, medical devices, and startups. The event proactively fosters collaborations with the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries, and helps commercialize UT System’s research.

Influuent FreshAir UT System

UT System presents Influuent at FreshAIR Confererence 2015 in Dallas

This year’s event, “Cardiovascular & Metabolic Therapeutic Focus: Science, Pharmaceuticals & Devices” drew more than 250 researchers, entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, and executives from Texas and the country’s top pharmaceutical and venture companies, many of whom stopped by the Influuent booth to view demonstrations by staff members from the Office of Strategic Initiatives (OSI). OSI’s communications coordinator Paula Bales and communications specialist Nancy Daniels had attendees take Influuent for a test drive, demonstrating just how easy it is to find research partners across all 14 UT System institutions. The tool was met with overwhelmingly enthusiastic responses.

If It’s Monday, It Must Be Amsterdam

Next on the docket for the Influuent Tour was the Pure User Group Inaugural Meeting in Amsterdam in November. Dr. Stephanie Huie, OSI vice chancellor, joined up with Claus Christensen, the head of Pure Product Development at Elsevier in The Netherlands, to present “Connect, Collaborate, and Create – Building Relationships with Industry,” which showcased UT System’s use of the Pure product (Influuent is the enhanced front end of the Pure application), as well as the building and launch of Influuent. While mosh pits are no longer de rigueur for such events, the session was met with rousing applause and cheers, along with many questions from those wanting to know how to build their own Influuent site.

Chi-City Gives a Pure Look at Influuent

Also in November, Northwestern University hosted the North American Pure User Group Inaugural Meeting just north of Chicago in Evanston, Illinois. OSI’s assistant director Annette Royal and project manager Elizabeth Cockerham actively participated along with academic users from New York University, Northwestern University, University of Illinois, University of Michigan, University of Minnesota, Oregon Health & Science University, and the Indiana University School of Medicine. The venue gave the participants a chance to weigh in on the tool’s functionality and suggest what enhancements they wants to see in the future.

For More Information on Influuent

See:  Cutting-Edge Influuent Tools and Website Launch Today.

The Newly Enhanced UT System Dashboard – Worth the Wait

September 30, 2015 Leave a comment


The Newly Revised and Enhanced UT System Dashboard Is Finally Here!

We were all ready to launch the UT System Dashboard on September 22 when low and behold we suffered an application service error. That brought our release to a grinding halt while repairs were made. These things happen, folks, and in the spirit of transparency, we are sharing it with you.

UTdashbuttonI’m happy to report that all of the drama is behind us, and the new version of the UT System Dashboard (formerly known as the Productivity Dashboard) made its official debut this morning (press release), complete with a new name to match its evolution. The interface has been overhauled to make it more user-friendly and the site includes a number of major enhancements and new measures of System’s performance. Some of the great new changes include (in part):

  • Spiffy new look
  • Responsive design for ease of access across platforms
  • Easy access to trend data on more than 70 measures, including 11 indicators that track performance in major strategic areas, such as affordability, student success, post-graduation earnings, research, healthcare, and state economic impact
  • Quick visual overview of strategic areas, with opportunity to learn more
  • Additional context and analysis provided—not just data—including a “Driving Success” sidebar and page dedicated to giving a quick look at the scope and scale of UT System and its mission
  • Powerful search and improved site structure to make it easier to find what you are looking for
  • Access to exportable data that can be used for research
  • Reduced load times
  • Link to interactive reports
  • Inclusion of Google Analytics, providing helpful insight into our audience

Who Uses the Dashboard?

The Dashboard is considered a national model for transparency and accountability in higher education. The UT System Dashboard is free and available to the public. In particular, it caters to a variety of audiences who are looking for knowledge and insight into UT System’s mission to educate, conduct research, and provide patient care. It is available to internal and external stakeholders, such as legislators, policy and decision-makers at all levels, as well as academic and administrative leaders. The measures on affordability and post-graduation earnings are of particular interest to students and their families.

How Is the UT System Dashboard Different from seekUT

One of the most valuable tools in the Dashboard suite is seekUT, which is UT System’s online, interactive tool that presents data on the loan debt and earnings of UT graduates over time. The Dashboard provides earnings information; however, earnings is but one component of many measures offered, making the Dashboard more of a management tool that supports UT System’s policy decisions and tracks the progress of System goals for productivity, efficiency, and impact. The Dashboard turns data into actionable knowledge so that UT System can effectively use big data on behalf of its students, institutions, and the communities it serves.

How Is the Dashboard Different from the College Scorecard?

There could be no better time than now to launch the UT System Dashboard with its newly enhanced features, especially in light of the release of the federal government’s College Scorecard earlier this month. The idea of ranking colleges and universities for “best value” vs. “worst value” has created a heated debate, but the Scorecard is Washington’s answer to holding the nation’s colleges—which collectively receive approximately $150 billion in federal aid each year—accountable for student outcomes. It’s all about the return on investment (ROI), folks.

Stymied in their initial plan to rank academic institutions, the government appeared to cave under the relentless objections from higher ed experts and college officials to the creation of a single rating system. In lieu of rankings, the government developed a revised version of the College Scorecard that provides federal data about the nation’s colleges and universities, giving a comprehensive look at student debt and loan payment, as well as how much students who receive federal loans and Pell Grants end up earning after they graduate from a specific college or university—for both the short- and long-term.

But in the case of the College Scorecard, the federal-level data includes everyone who started at a college, yielding a single number per measure for an entire institution; it doesn’t capture the nuances of state data that shows how different majors bringing about a wide variation in wages. It also won’t tell you the results for students who don’t receive federal aid, or how graduates’ earnings compare with those of non-completers. The UT System Dashboard will, for those graduates who remain in Texas.

What’s in the Future for the UT System Dashboard?

NEW_1UT_dashitall-08We will continue to respond to user feedback, add new content, and develop new features. If you are interested in keeping up with the latest and greatest news pertaining to the UT System Dashboard, email us and subscribe to the Dashboard newsletter Dash It All.

What’s in the Past? Some History and Background Information

The Dashboard was first developed by UT System’s Office of Strategic Initiatives in 2011 to support UT System’s commitment to enhancing transparency, accountability, and access and disclosure of information to the public. The Regents’ Rules and Regulations Sections 4.4 and 4.5 of Rule 10801: Policy on Transparency, Accountability, and Access to Information explains the groundwork for the development of the Dashboard, as well as the centralized data warehouse that provides information to the Dashboard.

Influuent – From Bench to Business to Bedside

August 21, 2015 Leave a comment

UT System Influuent Clinical TrialsInfluuent Is Not Just for Industry – It’s for Patients, Too

Many of you may already know that Influuent™ is UT System’s free, online searchable database that allows the private sector, academic researchers, and government agencies to find thousands of renowned researchers, experts, and facilities across the Systems’ campuses and health institutions – in one spot, quickly and efficiently.

What you may not know is that Influuent is also a great source of information for proactive medical patients who are looking for a practicing physician who is also active in research. Additionally, it is a great resource for volunteers (healthy or not) who want to enroll in a clinical trial.

The medical profession has come a long way in developing therapies and treatments to prolong and enhance the quality of life for patients who are facing an uphill health battle. However, given the sheer magnitude of what is being developed in the scientific field, even doctors are hard pressed to keep up with it all. Patients are taking an increasingly proactive stance to research the options available to them, so that they might make the best informed decisions about their healthcare and treatment.

Most patients will tell you, they want the best doctor who knows the most about their disease. So, how do they go about finding that doctor? Others are willing to enter into a clinical trial that allows them to take advantage of the latest drugs and treatments for their particular malady. But, where do they start to look for such a trial?

Good news. The information is right at their fingertips, and it’s free!

Influuent Offers Helpful Information, Insight, and Data for Patients

Finding Experts

The Influuent website is growing and evolving daily. It serves as a gateway to finding specific researchers and faculty experts, innovations, and even facilities. For patients looking for a particular doctor who is actively in practice, as well as involved in research, the Find Experts tool is a discovery portal to the 15,000+ faculty experts in the UT System. Users can find profiles on a doctor, including area of research, location, contact information, publications written, and research network. Further online research will reveal if the doctor is in active practice.

Finding Clinical Trials

Under the Resources tab on the Influuent site, users will find information about UT System’s special-focus centers and institutes, as well as the clinical trials occurring across the campuses. Clinical trials are a key research tool for advancing medical knowledge, providing insight into the disease process, and determining whether a drug or treatment is safe and effective for patients.

Despite a huge increase in the number of registered studies being conducted, there are still many studies that are hindered by procedural, structural, and infrastructural barriers, as well as a lack of volunteers. Research suggests that many patients eligible to participate do not because they are not given the information from their doctor.

However, thanks to the Internet – and to Influuent – patients and advocates can actually locate clinical trials online.

UT System Influuent Clinical Trials
A Case Study

When Lorna D., a healthy 64-year-old artist and teacher living in Texas, first developed a tremor in her right wrist, she immediately suspected she might have Parkinson’s disease (PD). She maintains an active life, taking care of her two-year-old granddaughter, working in her garden, painting, playing guitar, and enjoying social events with family. But because of Lorna’s significant contact with heavy metals, especially inorganic manganese compounds she used in clay and glazes during her career as a potter, as well as the fact that her maternal grandfather and uncle both had PD, she decided to contact an osteopathic neurologist for a professional opinion. Since there is no scientific diagnostic test for the disease, the doctor ran Lorna through the gamut of clinical tests and then delivered her findings – Parkinson’s disease.

While Lorna’s doctor was thorough in her exam and respectful of her patient’s desire not to take medication for as long as possible, the doctor never recommended a clinical trial. Even if she had, Lorna does not feel she has the time or the energy to spend on clinical trials, preferring instead to channel her strength into maintaining as much quality of life as possible over the next five to ten years.

Echoed by many PD patients, these reasons, among others, are just a few of the contributing factors explaining the low enrollment in PD trials. There are about 319 million people in the U.S., but only 1 million have been definitively diagnosed with Parkinson’s, representing just one-third of one percent of the population. Of those patients, only 1% is enrolled in clinical trials. This explains to a great extent why the disease is not well known and certainly not well understood.

How Can Influuent Help Patients Such As Lorna D.?

As Lorna avails herself of the resources on the Influuent website, she is recognizing the importance of finding the right doctor and is reconsidering entering a clinical trial. Her biggest concern is that her debilitating symptoms make it difficult to travel long distances to be tested. However, there are options available in some cases that allow a trial volunteer to capture and transmit information from home, thus reducing the number of onsite visits.

In the event that Lorna decides she wants to contact a PD researcher/doctor to follow-up, she can access the information through the Influuent Resources tab. In addition to a listing of clinical trials by UT System institution, which allows users to view by treatment, physician, and study, there are also doctor and faculty profiles, including interviews – one of which is with UT Southwestern Medical Center neurologist and movement disorders specialist Dr. Richard Dewey on Parkinson’s. Users can also tap the Influuent Experts database under the Tools tab to find practicing doctors who are involved in the research of a particular disease.


Progress towards a cure happens through the active involvement of patients and their advocates. Whether it is reading published studies, searching for practicing doctors who are involved in research, or becoming a clinical trial volunteer, patients hold a key to cures that cannot be found without their participation.

It is purely Lorna’s choice if she decides to enter a clinical trial for PD, but at least she knows they are out there, along with other valuable resources for Parkinson’s patients. She also knows that for the scientific community to find a cure for Parkinson’s, Michael J. Fox says it best, “The answer is truly in all of us, working together.”

!!Important Notice for Mobile BI APP Users!!

For those of you who use the Mobile BI APP to access the UT System Productivity Dashboard, we have reorganized the environment, so the reports you have downloaded will appear to be unavailable.

To remove the unavailable reports, click on them and hit OK.

To re-subscribe to a report, go to the Library > reports folder > and find reports by topic.

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