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President’s Letter
Spring 2008

Dr. Mabry
President Rodney Mabry is pictured in one of the many high-tech classrooms in UT Tyler’s Bill Ratliff Engineering and Science Complex.

Last year I had the opportunity to visit the Samsung and Hyundai plants in South Korea.
The use of technology that I witnessed was amazing.

Their manufacturing plants employed robotics that were able to delicately and skillfully handle the flat screens used in making televisions at Samsung and to assemble automobiles at Hyundai. Each movement was carefully calculated and repeated with adjustments made “on the fly” to accommodate differences in parts. It was truly fascinating to observe.

At Hyundai I noticed that there were very few people working on the assembly line, which built one automobile every 57 seconds and ran 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

As I discussed this with members of our civic organizations and other groups, the consensus seemed to be “can America keep up with the global technology?’’

My answer is yes, and we must. Higher education’s mission is to prepare students to think and create at a high level in order to meet approaching challenges in innovative ways so that they can compete in a global society.

First, we need to give students the highest level of knowledge. Then, we need to provide a classroom atmosphere that allows and encourages students to bring creativity and new ideas to their studies and their research. With these two elements, our students will become world-class competitors.

Our goal should not be to replicate human efforts with robots – or, at least, not only to do that. Instead, we need to educate our students so that they create completely new methods – new ways of healing, new ways of producing, new ways of combining current technology to meet needs of people tomorrow and beyond.

Our goal is to educate tomorrow’s scientists, engineers, health care providers, historians, playwrights and artists to think outside the box and develop more efficient and cost effective solutions. Our current research efforts are seeking and experimenting with those fresh ideas, and we are using those research endeavors to challenge students’ minds and ignite their creativity.

Creating solutions today for a better tomorrow is an important objective for us all.

Rod Mabry Signature




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