UT Arlington President James D. Spaniolo discusses current challenges facing both students and administrators in higher education. The college is forced to look for alternative sources of revenue to educate a record number of students as state funding shrinks. Spaniolo also details plans for a 22-acre multi-use development currently under construction and updates UTA’s progress toward becoming a nationally recognized research university.
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As the University’s seventh president, James D. (Jim) Spaniolo has focused on building and strengthening partnerships and instilling Maverick pride among the students, faculty, staff, and alumni who make up The UT Arlington family.
Through this attitude of collaboration and inclusion, he has enhanced UT Arlington’s strong academic quality to meet today’s global needs – and beyond. Over the next 10 years, UT Arlington aims to become a major national research university and have highly rated academic programs in every one of its nine academic colleges and schools.
President Spaniolo is emphasizing engagement both in and out of the classroom, leading to a more well-rounded university experience. Under his leadership, UT Arlington has seen dramatic increases in student organizational involvement, leadership opportunities, cultural events, community service activities, and new infrastructure.
Before coming to UT Arlington in February 2004, President Spaniolo was dean of Michigan State University’s College of Communication Arts and Sciences. As dean from 1996-2003, he oversaw an enrollment increase of more than 1,000 students and helped establish the James H. and Mary B. Quello Center for Telecommunication Management and Law by raising more than $3.5 million. He forged a partnership with a newspaper corporation in Mexico and strengthened alumni outreach. He was also a professor in the School of Journalism and taught courses on the First Amendment and communications law.
Before his tenure at Michigan State, he was vice president and chief program officer of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the largest media-related private foundation in the United States with more than $1.5 billion in assets. In seven years with the Knight Foundation, he directed a program that included major grants and initiatives to support journalism and a free press in the United States and worldwide. He also served as a member of the foundation’s Journalism Advisory Committee from 1997-2003.
Before joining Knight Foundation, President Spaniolo was a newspaper executive and lawyer with Knight-Ridder for more than a decade. He was vice president of human resources and assistant to the publisher at the Detroit Free Press and general executive and general counsel at The Miami Herald.
He began his legal career with the Miami law firm of Paul & Thomson, which represented The Herald, and later served as associate general counsel of the American Newspaper Publishers Association, where he established the organization’s legal department. He is a member of the Florida Bar and has been admitted to practice before the U.S. Supreme Court, the 5th and 11th U.S. Circuit Courts of Appeals and the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida.
He graduated with high honors from Michigan State in 1968 with a B.A. degree in political science. As a senior, he was editor-in-chief of the student daily, the State News. Following service in the U.S. Army Reserve, he became an assistant to Michigan State President Clifton R. Wharton Jr. from 1970-72. He earned a law degree from The University of Michigan Law School in 1975 and a master’s degree in public administration from The University of Michigan Institute of Public Policy Studies (now the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy).
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