The University of Texas of the Permian Basin, an academic institution of The University of Texas System, is a growing and vibrant four-year university offering bachelors and masters degrees. Its faculty is engaged in a wide range of research attracting millions of dollars in grants for programs in teacher certification, energy research, and groundbreaking work in many disciplines.
U.T. Permian Basin has a diverse student population who consistently earn awards in kinesiology, business, and visual arts. UTPB has a 98% pass rate for teacher certification and ranks third in the state for placement in employment and graduate school. Student enrollment has grown, often in the double digits. Student housing expanded in Fall 2004 and Fall 2005 with the addition of twelve apartment-style buildings bringing the number of student residents to almost 500.
The largest graduate program at the University is the College of Education, respected for its teacher certification programs and mentoring strategies that reach out to the public school classrooms in the community. U.T. Permian Basin boasts exceptionally high success rates for graduates in the pre-health and education professions. First-time acceptance rates for graduates who apply to medical or health professional schools averages 78 percent, compared to the 1998 state average of 40 percent. The university takes pride in offering 32 undergraduate degrees and 19 graduate programs as well as various certification programs. The masters degree programs include seven different education specialties, plus a masters degree in Professional Accountancy, Biology, Business Administration, Criminal Justice Administration, English, Geology, History, Kinesiology, Clinical or Research Psychology, Public Administration and Spanish.
Four additional graduate degrees are currently available through U.T. Permian Basin’s distance learning program. These include the online courses: Master of Business Administration, Master of Science in Kinesiology, Master or Arts in Education – Educational Leadership, Master of Arts in Education – Special Education , and the School Superintendent Certification. First year basic courses through the UT TeleCampus (a virtual campus that includes every component of the University of Texas System). In addition, U.T. Permian Basin offers courses in cooperation with the three area community colleges in many locations throughout the region via the Regional Electronic Academic Communications Highway (REACH). The University began offering classes taught at Midland College, and at the Center for Energy and Economic Diversification in Fall 2003. Presently, six undergraduate degrees and one graduate degree are offered by UTPB at Midland College.
Since the first classes were offered at the upper-level University in 1973, U.T. Permian Basin has evolved from a largely commuter campus to one that was granted four-year status in 1991. The four-year status and the expansion of the athletic program continues to attract a younger population.
Filling a niche as the only four-year University for Midland, Odessa — and surrounding rural areas — U.T. Permian Basin’s enrollment is more than 3,400 for the first time in University history, attracting students from over 160 Texas Counties.
Permian Basin citizens expressed pride and excitement in recent years as the University’s new instructional buildings, the first to be built in 25 years, completely changed the horizon of the campus. In June 1997, House Bill 1235 approved $25.8 million in tuition revenue bonds for the construction of the state-of the-art $4.1 million Visual Design Studios, an 80,000 square-foot two-story $15.7 million Library/Lecture Center, and an $870,000 renovation of a lobby area of the main Mesa Building as well as a retrofit of the energy plant. With these changes came new sidewalks, large trees, landscaping, a water feature near the library, a boulevard entrance to the library, and a 100-space parking lot joined the Devonian parking lot by a landscaped “turn-around.” A new Student Union was constructed as well. The addition of student housing has changed the landscape of campus as well as the quality of campus life.
Dependent on the oil industry for many years, the local chambers of commerce are attracting diverse businesses to the area. In the past five years, a flourishing retail boom brought in many restaurants, and shopping centers to Midland and Odessa. Museums, theatres, a symphony, golf courses, a Texas League AA professional stadium, football stadiums, ice hockey, a polo club, international airport, and other metropolitan attractions are all within minutes of the University. The semi-arid grassland climate averages 300 days of sunshine a year, boasts wide-open spaces and spectacular sunsets. Even better than the sunny climate is that positive “can-do” attitudes abound.