Critical thinking: Texas Wesleyan’s vision for the future

Frederick G. Slabach

Pop quiz: What do the top 5 percent of all universities around the globe and Texas Wesleyan University have in common? Answer: The most prestigious business school accreditation in the world. Only 5 percent of university schools of business have obtained the elite accreditation by AACSB, The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business International. In May, Texas Wesleyan University was welcomed into this august group. Along with our U.S. News and World Report No. 1 tier ranking, this accreditation validates what we already know – Texas Wesleyan University is thriving.

And the success of our programs is good for businesses and good for Fort Worth. At Texas Wesleyan, we believe economic and cultural development begins with education. That is why the core of our 2020 Strategic Vision is our mission to prepare students for graduate school and leadership in professional careers and to empower them to thrive as leaders. We accomplish this through our commitment to teaching critical thinking, analytical reasoning and creative problem-solving skills. Employers tell us these skills are in high demand. They say, “We can train them, just give us someone who can think.”

We also know that obtaining a graduate degree is becoming increasingly essential for career success. The U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that jobs requiring a master’s degree are expected to grow 21.7 percent through 2020. In my father’s generation, you needed a high school diploma to advance in the workplace. In my generation, you needed a bachelor’s degree. To thrive in the future, we believe students will need a graduate degree or advanced certification. Our business program is a wonderful example of how we are creating learning environments that support our mission. Along with the recent higher level of accreditation, as part of our Rosedale Renaissance project we will introduce the Jack Morton Business Accelerator Center. The center will actively engage our students with the community to solve real-world business problems. The business accelerator will initially focus on providing market research and analysis for Southeast Fort Worth that we can share with prospective businesses seeking to enter the Southeast Fort Worth business community.

- FWBP Digital Partners -

Our work in the business community is just one part of our dedication to supporting Fort Worth’s economic and cultural development. With the Rosedale Renaissance project, we are turning East Fort Worth into a critical thinking hub. In addition to the business accelerator center, the $6.7 million project includes a new United Methodist Church Central Texas Conference Service Center, a new campus entryway and clock tower and $1.8 million investment in the streets adjacent to campus that leverages $32 million in street improvements along East Rosedale.

The $1.8 million in street improvements are a public-private partnership between Texas Wesleyan, the city of Fort Worth, Tarrant County and the North Central Texas Council of Governments. The funding will support street work adjacent to the campus and a number of pedestrian-friendly amenities including sidewalks, bulb out curbing, lights and crosswalks. The UMC Central Texas Conference Service Center will be a major catalyst in jump-starting area business growth. The conference is moving its offices from their current location on Bailey Avenue to Rosedale Street, across from our new campus entryway. The service center will be home to the bishop’s offices and house 25-30 employees, and will create real, lasting value for our students in the form of mentorship and internship opportunities.

We take pride in being ranked by U.S. News & World Report in the No. 1 tier of regional universities in the West and being the most affordable private university in North Texas. And our data show that most Texas Wesleyan students stay in Tarrant County, which means gains for the thriving North Texas workforce. Next year, we will celebrate our 125-year anniversary. As we reflect on our past and look to the future, we clearly see our opportunity to provide vision, leadership and education to Tarrant County and beyond, and look forward to the strong direction our 2020 Vision takes us.

Frederick G. Slabach is president of Texas Wesleyan University.