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Friday, July 11, 2014

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Regents adopt Chancellor’s recommendations on admissions best practices

AUSTIN – The University of Texas System Board of Regents adopted new recommendations on best practices in admissions requirements at a Thursday meeting of the board.

The recommendations are the result of a report commissioned by Chancellor Francisco G. Cigarroa, M.D., after an inquiry into the admissions process at UT Austin earlier this year.

The inquiry did not uncover any evidence of a systematic or structured process of reviewing and admitting applicants recommended by influential individuals, nor did the limited inquiry reveal any evidence of a quid pro quo for admissions decisions or other wrongdoing. However, the data and information reviewed demonstrate sufficient reason for concern that certain current admissions practices will be reviewed and revised.

The report emphasized the importance of transparency and fairness in admissions processes, and that the UT System and each institution must ensure the integrity of the admissions process through implementation of the best practices outlined in this report.

The report includes the following recommendations:

  • Each campus shall identify one individual as an “admissions contact” for UT System communications. This individual would be responsible for sharing the best practices identified in this document and ensuring that every program on campus has a fair and transparent admissions process aligned with this document.  Future communications regarding admissions policies would flow through this individual for implementation and distribution.

  • Each institution shall develop a written policy, available to staff, administration, faculty and prospective students that outlines directions for prohibiting undue influence in the admissions process, especially as it relates to unsolicited letters of support and other communications submitted outside of the formal admissions process. The policy should be developed with input from a variety of admissions officials, faculty and students. The policy should be developed by institutional officials and be approved by the U T System.

 “Ideally, a firewall should be established around the admissions process that would prevent anyone, even those within university administration, from unduly influencing admissions decisions,” Cigarroa said.

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