In a three-decade career at NASA, Lesa B. Roe logged no fewer than 38 missions. The engineer-turned-administrator contributed to the launches of numerous space shuttle flights, to the mid-orbit assembly of the International Space Station, and to the deployment of the Martian rover Curiosity.

Chancellor Roe is now 2½ years into what may well be her toughest — but potentially most gratifying — mission to date: elevating the University of North Texas System to the upper reaches of American higher education.

As the system’s third chancellor (and first female leader), Roe is responsible for three fast-growing institutions in the Dallas-Fort Worth metropolitan area: the University of North Texas (UNT) in Denton, the University of North Texas Health Science Center (UNTHSC) in Fort Worth, and the University of North Texas at Dallas (UNTD).

“NASA had a fabulous mission, a real sense of purpose, and, for me, working on truly civilization-changing discoveries was just something that mattered to me,” Roe said. “Coming here, it’s really getting at that same sense of purpose and that same sense of mission.”

The attached white paper — Houston, we DON’T have a problem — explores the value of mission-oriented leadership in American higher education. A second attachment highlights some of the insights that Chancellor Roe shared in a just-released edition of the higher-education podcast Innovators.

Click on the image or attachments below to download or access the white paper: If you prefer not to download attachments, you may access the documents via these links: Houston, we DON’T have a problem. You also can click here to listen to the Innovators podcast featuring Roe.

We hope you find this research white paper both useful and thought-provoking.  We encourage you to post/publish/distribute/share the materials with your network.

As always, we welcome feedback, comments, and the opportunity to discuss the future needs of your campus.


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