As Jennifer Cowley recently took office as the 10th president and first woman to lead The University of Texas at Arlington, her message to the UTA family was to “dream big.”
“I believe that The University of Texas at Arlington can be one of the nation’s most inclusive and impactful research universities,” said Cowley in a message to campus on her first day. “We owe it to ourselves and to the state of Texas to achieve this goal.”
Cowley spent her first official hours on the job meeting with student leaders and attending an appreciation breakfast for the University’s administrative professionals. In her communication to campus, she extolled UTA’s commitment to making a college education affordable and accessible.
“We have the passion and the programs to provide access to a college education for ordinary Texans and help them lead extraordinary lives,” she said.
Cowley has outlined her strategic vision, saying she plans to focus on four key themes: People and Culture, Student Success, Research and Innovation and Alumni and Community Engagement.
“In the meantime, I plan to learn and observe, to ask for your help, to team up with this incredible community, and to chart together a path to where we will go next,” she said.
The UT System Board of Regents officially named Cowley as the next president of UTA on Feb. 1. She also will serve as a professor of public affairs and planning in the College of Architecture, Planning and Public Affairs.
The appointment was a homecoming of sorts, as Cowley grew up in Arlington and attended summer camps and classes at UTA. Her personal connections to Arlington and UTA make her new role especially meaningful, she said.
“I was a Maverick long before today,” Cowley said.
Before joining UTA, Cowley served as provost and vice president for academic affairs at the University of North Texas, where she led economic development partnerships, advanced diversity and inclusion initiatives, fostered student success, bolstered the research portfolio and helped increase enrollment.
She previously worked at The Ohio State University for 16 years, serving as the vice provost for capital planning and regional campuses, associate dean of the College of Engineering, head of city and regional planning and a professor.
Cowley said UTA has everything in place to be a leading university in Texas.
“We have outstanding and dedicated faculty and staff,” she said. “Our students are innovative, hardworking and passionate in creating their impact in the world. Our devoted alumni and steadfast supporters know that their help is key to UTA’s role in the economic and cultural growth of our region.”