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Undergraduate Studies creates award for core curriculum innovation

The School of Undergraduate Studies has announced plans to create a new annual award to be called the Cale McDowell Award for Innovation in Undergraduate Studies.

The endowed award, which must be approved by the University of Texas Board of Regents, will be used to reward innovation or research by staff in the School of Undergraduate Studies or extraordinary effort by any University of Texas at Austin student, faculty, or staff member to improve the UT core curriculum.

The award is named for and intended to honor Charles Cale McDowell, a student at the university from fall 2002 to spring 2009 and staff member in Undergraduate Studies since fall 2006. “Cale’s contribution to curriculum reform at UT was monumental. It must not be forgotten,” said Dean Paul Woodruff. “This award will ensure that he is remembered, along with what he has done for us, every year.”

During his time at UT Austin, McDowell earned three degrees (BBA ’05, MPA ’06, JD ’09), served as President of the Texas Student Media Board of Operating Trustees (’04-‘05) and as Vice Chairman (’04-’05) and Chairman (’05-’06) of the Senate of College Councils, and was appointed by President Larry Faulkner to the Task Force on Curricular Reform.

After the Task Force delivered its report calling for major reforms to the undergraduate curriculum and the creation of the administrative structure that would become the School of Undergraduate Studies, McDowell joined the staff of President William Powers, Jr. as Aide to the President. When Paul Woodruff was appointed inaugural Dean of Undergraduate Studies in September 2006, he named McDowell Special Assistant to the Dean and, later, Deputy to the Dean. In this role, McDowell worked with Woodruff to build the new School of Undergraduate Studies and was responsible for negotiations with UT’s twelve undergraduate colleges and schools, faculty governance organizations, and the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board to implement the core curriculum reforms recommended by the Task Force. McDowell left the university on June 1 and will join the Austin office of the law firm Jackson Walker L.L.P.

$25,000 has been raised to date in gifts and pledges to endow the award. Early contributors to the endowment include Dean Woodruff, President William Powers, Dean Judy Ashcroft, Pat and Louanne McDowell, Professors Lawrence Abraham, Linda Golden, Linda Henderson, Ben Kuipers, Maggie Rivas-Rodriguez, Lawrence Speck, Laura Starks, and Sam Wilson; Lara Harlan, Lane Foster Harrell, Kathy Lawrence, Andrew Carls, Stephen Myers, and George Mitchell & The University Co-op.

For more information, contact Lara Harlan, School of Undergraduate Studies, (512) 475-7374. For information about contributing to this endowment, contact Doug Duke, University Development Office, (512) 475-9611.