Skip to main content


One year into UTEP’s 2030 Strategic Plan implementation, we want to take some time to reflect on our progress. I am pleased to say that despite the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have had a successful first year. The plan focuses on the University’s strategic advantages – our place, our people, our culture of care and our partnerships – and lays out a roadmap to leverage those advantages to achieve four goals tied to our mission during the next decade. In year one, we established some baseline figures for each goal area and began to make progress on the goals and their respective initiatives.

In the area of teaching, learning and the student experience (Goal 1), we began to implement a marketing strategy to increase recruitment within Region 19 and expand into secondary markets. With the support of The University of Texas System, we were able to increase our Paydirt Promise funding to cover all tuition and mandatory fees for undergraduates whose families make up to $75,000 a year. We also made strides to increase student engagement by expanding Miner Welcome programming during the first weeks of each semester and promoting additional engagement activities throughout the year.

Research and scholarship (Goal 2) flourished in spite of the pandemic, with research expenditures in 2020-21 reaching a new high of over $109 million. In addition, Academic Affairs established a faculty development leave program to give faculty the opportunity to pursue research and other academic interests during paid time off from teaching.

UTEP established or enhanced several partnerships in the last year as part of efforts to increase community impact and public service (Goal 3). This included renewed partnerships with El Paso Community College and El Paso Electric, and new agreements with the U.S. Space Force, as well as eight regional and national banks through the establishment of the UTEP Banking Academy.

To honor the legacy of UTEP President Emerita Diana Natalicio, who died in 2021, the University established the Diana Natalicio Institute for Hispanic Student Success with a leading gift from The University of Texas System. The creation of the institute is one way UTEP is shaping the future of higher education and supporting its status as America’s leading Hispanic-serving university (Goal 4).

I am encouraged by the progress we made in this first year of the Strategic Plan implementation, and by the commitment of the UTEP team to continue to work toward these goals. Although there is much left to be done, we can all be energized knowing that each step we take toward our goals benefits our students and our community.

Heather Wilson