University of Texas at Austin Employee Reviews

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professional environment, teamwork among staff, pleasant work environment
Sr. Administrative Associate (Current Employee) –  Institute for Computational Engineering & SciencesJanuary 22, 2015
Austin is a beautiful city to live in, and my job at U. Texas is in a brand new high-tech building. I arrive to work early and log-in by 8:00 am. I review my workload and decide what is priority to accomplish today. There a variety of tasks to do. I enjoy working with the faculty, post-docs, and graduate students. As I finish a project I check if off my electronic list. I log-in new projects in color-coded files and have a system to track and move the workflow through my desk until it's completed. I do different kinds of tasks on different days. Some workload has strict deadlines to meet, and the rest of the work is "filler" work that has to eventually get done, but no strict deadline. After 4 hours, I'm ready to take a break.

On my lunch hour, I walk to the gymasium and take an exercise class (different type of class every day), and I really look forward to this. After the workout, I'm back at my desk feeling refreshed and ready to concentrate. I pay tuitions, hire students, process visas, finish travel reimbursements, meet with a faculty member about their accounts, or do accounting work on the grants. When my day ends at 5:00 pm, I have accomplished a lot.

I have learned a new computer system at U. Texas. I have learned the NSF-style / Fastlane proposal submissions and have done a lot of accounts reconciling, projecting in Excel how to spend down the grant funds before the end date, and tracked and closed grants at a zero balance.

One of the best parts of the job here are the coworkers who are very knowledgeable and helpful towards each other. I was trained by a coworker
  more... for a year (when I started the job), and now I'm training a coworker who is new to the Institute. The administrators work as a big team. If one administrator is busy submitting a proposal and cannot manage the rest of their workload, then we help out by doing their travel reimbursements or other work until they can recover.

The hardest time at my job was when I was brand new and not very familiar with the U.T. computer software and accounting system. I simultaneously had a full workload and many people to support.

The most enjoyable part of the job has been the teamwork among all the administrators who are willing to answer questions when you're really stuck and give support when too much workload is occasionally happening. The supervisor of administrative staff will meet with a new administrator once a week. You can bring your work questions and get answers during the meeting, and you can continue with the training meetings for as long as you need help to get up and running fast. The Director of the Institute also takes all the administrators out for lunch several times a year. As well, he provides several lovely party events during the year for the entire Institute.
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Pros
excellent faculty and committed supervisors, teamwork among administrators, well-run organization, really care about the students, pleasant work environment.
Cons
long commute, traffic congestion, only 8-5 workhours are allowed, low pay compared to west coast
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Good benefits, if you can put up with bad pay, terrible managers, lack of advancement, and routine layoffs
Senior Software Engineer (Former Employee) –  Austin, TXMarch 12, 2015
There was a time when job candidates were told by UT Austin interviewers "If you take care of UT, UT will take care of you. You'll never see an industry-grade salary, but you'll come close. You'll have both good benefits and a good working environment. You'll work 40 hours a week, and we don't do layoffs."

They don't say that anymore, and will deny ever having said it. That's because it was only true up to a point when they said it (though even paying lip service to those ideals said something good about University values at the time), and would merely be a pack of lies today. The exception is the benefits, which are good, but remember that you're locked into the Teacher's Retirement System, so you need stay at the University long enough to vest, and with University-wide and departmental layoffs standard operating procedure since 2003, that's a lot harder than it once was.

Even as a Senior Software Engineer you're likely to earn at least $35K/year less than industry is paying, and your retirement (if you can stick it out long enough) will be based on the average of your highest five yearly salaries. For many years now, money for salaries has been so tight that holding your own against inflation has beeen problematic, so forget any fantasies about anyone doing the right thing for you in your last five years.

The software developer's career ladder has also been severely truncated over the years, which means that during your career, just a few promotions (your only chance for significant raises) are possible. Once you hit Senior Software Engineer, forget about meaningful salary
  more... growth. (Job opportunities at UT are few due to the budget problems, so jumping between jobs within the institution is an unlikely source of useful salary bumps.)

In the IT sphere you can mostly expect bad, even actively abusive, managers. On the plus side, though, they are deeply concerned about career advancement and salaries. On the minus side, it is only their own advancement and salaries they are concerned about, so the politics among them are vicious and that trickles down to make already iffy and chaotic working conditions even worse.

As various people have said of the management: Those people are so bad, that even if they're not trying to make you so miserable that you'll quit, quitting is your best option. And of the UT employment experience as a whole: Get out - get out now - it'll be the best move you've ever made.

Don't be fooled into thinking it is a rich University due to all the construction on campus, the new medical school, etc. That is funded by the Permanent University Fund, private donors, etc. Staff salaries, on the other hand, are funded by the Texas Legislature, which seems to be opposed to public education at all levels.
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Pros
good medical benefits, interesting place, some very interesting people
Cons
constant budget problems depressing salaries, and causing routine layoffs. a lot (perhaps most) of the management is stunningly bad.
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Excellent co-workers/Poor management and no raises
Middle Management (Former Employee) –  Austin, TXOctober 22, 2015
I worked over in the College of Natural Sciences. I did enjoy my co-workers and the humane attitude CNS took to taking time off and having a flexible schedule. I also had a great deal of autonomy in my position.

Poor management. Poor communication from management. Current dean was brought in to bring budget back in to shape after years of over-spending. There has been a mandate for hiring and pay freezes although people were still being hired and I heard of a few raises being handed out (I received one), but there are just as many people being laid off. Management has stated people should just enjoy working at UT and not worry about getting raises. I would strongly take this into account when weighing a CNS job. I hear other colleges at UT are managed better.

However, there are larger problems of mysterious accounting at UT as the public narration is the university is just making ends meet, but behind the scenes UT is making lots of money hand over fist. It seems UT is wanting to funnel this money into other areas other than rewarding their work force.
Pros
Co-workers, flexible work schedule, autonomy
Cons
No raises, poor management communication which led to poor morale
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R&D in Optical MEMS and Biomedical Instrumentation
Postdoctoral Fellow (Current Employee) –  Austin, TXJuly 7, 2013
R&D in Optical MEMS and Biomedical Instrumentation, performed research on:

• Handheld confocal imaging probe for oral cancer detection
− Enabled by a dual-axis silicon electrostatic MEMS micromirror, developed a miniaturized handheld confocal imaging probe for oral cancer detection. Probe body designed with CodeV optical simulations and Solidworks CAD simulation. A Java and LabVIEW based software kit were developed with real-time medical image processing algorithms. Clinical trials on neoplastic lesion tissues were performed in University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio (UTHSC).

• Non-silicon micromirror based handheld hyperspectral fluorescence imaging for oral cancer detection
− Explored non-silicon materials such as stainless steel and nickel with various fabrication techniques such as electrical discharge machining and electroplating for electromagnetically driven MEMS micromirror design. Micromirror structure designed & FEA analyzed with COMSOL. Imaging probe with micro-actuation assembly developed for fluorescence imaging of early epithilial cancer.
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Work-study position with lax atmosphere
Receptionist (Former Employee) –  Austin, TXSeptember 16, 2013
When I first got hired, I got hired as a filler receptionist, which meant I filled in the rest of the hours that were needed. That consisted of 17 hours a week in addition to the job I currently worked at Chili's and being a full-time student. Being a receptionist at the Sanger Learning Center meant clocking in students with numbered pins to either Math, Physics, or Chemistry tutoring. We helped out with printing out hand-outs, running errands to other buildings, or projects that were assigned by our boss. I became more familiar with Word and Excel and commercial printers. It was a nice job to have and my co-workers were other students with the same goal in mind: getting work done in a timely manner. The hardest part of the job really was just getting studying in because clocking students in could entail in reading the same paragraph for a while. The best part of the job really were the people. Creating good healthy relationships is always rewarding.
Pros
got to study, meet new people, easy to get shifts covered
Cons
employer change makes a difference
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Learning Expierence
Parking and Transportation (Former Employee) –  Austin, TXJuly 14, 2014
I had a more detailed learning experience at this job I was out in public and at any time pulled to the side for directions to a building/event on campus or how to get to I-35. I had a 40 percent customer interaction at my previous job so I had to break my shell if I wanted to be a more people person.

The only negative feedback I've had from the public I had assisted in the past during my employment at UT were from those whom were upset with paying a parking fine they were clearly in the wrong. I wanted to be informative to those individuals I came in contact with during a citation on their vehicle for parking without a permit etc. Helpful, honest, courteous.

If I didn't have an answer, I found someone who did. I had a great group of co-workers on all shifts I've worked. Hardest part of the job was the re-scheduling with shifts constant rotation was hard for my family, my kids. Great part of the job was working with co-workers I considered family, the people that worked there, went to school there or visited made my days at work exciting.
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One of the most rewarding experiences I've ever had.
Team Leader (Former Employee) –  Austin, TXNovember 26, 2012
The structure of this project was a bit different: I was with a group of 12 team leaders who were tasked with delivering the instruction portion of a three day student leadership conference. The University provided all of the logistics and scheduling work.

We worked for several hours every Saturday morning from December 2011 to when the conference to place, March 2012. During the week, it was up to us as individuals to design our workshops and tweek them as we saw fit. On Saturdays we would come together and provide constructive criticism as a team, and work on portions of the conference that were collaborative.

I learned that I really enjoy connecting with people, as that was by far the most enjoyable part of my experience. I had a little bit older and had a little more experience than the average student in my workshop, so I really enjoyed passing along the wisdom I've attained over the years so that they may realize their potential.
Pros
making an impact on people's lives.
Cons
none.
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Enjoyable and gives positive growth both professionally and personally.
Peer Advisor (Current Employee) –  Dallas, TXApril 23, 2012
The typical work day is relatively easy. You have to fill out reports of incidents that have occurred on campus and perform office desk hours. Also, you will occasionally have to participate in an on-call rotation with fellow Peer Advisers during the after-hours when the office is closed. All at the same time, you must ensure that you are maintaining relatively constant contact with whatever residents are in the building you're in charge of.

That all being said, the management and your co-workers are always willing to help you when you need it. It's understood that this job works as a team effort and that when you're balancing school and classes with this it can get quite taxing. That's where your coordinator comes in and proves to be one of your greatest proponents and assets. My coordinator has helped me to grow both professionally and personally to help prepare me for the post-graduate world.
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Great social environment that will train you
Senior Software Engineer (Current Employee) –  Austin, TXMay 18, 2012
The Software Developer Training Program at UT takes people with logical aptitude but no experience with software development and trains them to be software developers. This means that coworkers tend to come from a variety of backgrounds, which I consider a big plus. The social environment here is fantastic. I moved to Austin knowing virtually nobody, but now have a social network of dozens thanks primarily to working here.
My direct managers here were about as good as managers come. However, sometimes the management higher up seems detached from what is going on at the ground level.
My only complaints with UT deal with the excessive levels of bureaucracy and the fairly low salaries compared to the private industry.
Pros
excellent benefits and retirement, work with great people
Cons
pay low compared to industry, subject to legislative mandates, lots of bureaucracy
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Bad Experience with Lab Manager
Teaching Assistant (Former Employee) –  Austin, TXMay 6, 2015
I was a Teachers' Assistant for the Introductory Biology Labs. The labs were well organized and I felt they were beneficial to students. After working as a Teachers' Assistant for the labs for some time, the Manager of the Labs took me aside and told me that I was, "one of the weakest Teachers' Assistant employed there." I understand this is a legitimate evaluation, however the manager did not tell me in what areas I was weak, or how I could improve in these areas (in retrospect, I should have asked.) It seems like, since The University of Texas is an educational institution, there should be a decent amount of room to identify areas of weakness in teaching and allow the Teachers' Assistant to improve in these areas, however this culture was not present for Teachers' Assistants in the Introductory Biology Labs.
Pros
Free Food
Cons
Lack of evaluation or means to improve in work performance
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The absolute worst place imaginable
Multiple positions (Former Employee) –  TXAugust 12, 2013
The bureaucracy at UT Austin is worse and more mean spirited that in the Federal Republic of Germany, and the Krauts invented bureaucracy. There is absolutely no life to work balance at UT unless you are one of those bureaucrats. For professors, grad students, research assistants, etc, you are expected to put in 90+ hours a week for pay that, in the case of grad students, is well below the cost of living in Austin. The 'publish or parish' mantra is worse at UT than at other R1 institutions - so much so that it is often the only way to insulate oneself from the bureaucracy. Grad students and undergrads end up paying the highest cost for this system. If you are anything short of a full professor already and are being offered a job at that level, stay away from UT. Assistant and assoc professors be warned. Grad students - STAY AWAY!
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Stimulating environment.
Teaching Assistant (Former Employee) –  Arlington, TXJune 9, 2014
I enjoyed my time as a T.A. I was surprised it was cut short. My lab sections were about 4 hours long. I arrive, typically, a half an hour early. I set up all the equipment. I review the lecture material, and set up the overhead for the presentation. When the lab section begins, I collect homework, take roll, and answer students' questions as they arrive.

I learned to be very organized with my time. My supervisor gives great advice, which I followed to a "T". I liked all of my fellow TAs--everyone contributes equally to the creation of the week's quizzes.

The hardest part of the job is at the end of the day when you are tired of standing. Students are bustling around trying to finish up, and you must be aware of lab safety at all times. the most enjoyable time is quiz time. It's the only time the lab is completely quiet.
Pros
i get to teach!
Cons
i have to teach!
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Cooperative colleagues, good work environment, good benefits
Assistant Instructor (Current Employee) –  Austin, TXMarch 30, 2013
A typical day at work consisted of several hours of outside-classroom lesson planning before teaching a 2 hour class, 3 days a week. Outside of class, I was required to hold 3 hours of office hours, and spend several hours grading student work. My co-workers were fellow graduate students, and we had a cooperative work environment where we shared quizzes and teaching strategies. The most difficult part of the job was the work/life balance-- assistant instructors are paid for 20 hours of work, but the actual workload was much higher, closer to a 40 hour work week. The insurance benefits were the most worthwhile part of the job. Assistant instructors received full benefits, partially covered by the employer.
Pros
insurance benefits
Cons
long hours
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Productive and friendly atmosphere. My bosses and colleagues are very forthcoming with sharing knowledge and skills.
Lecturer (Current Employee) –  Austin, TXJanuary 15, 2015
The best time of work and life is when I am in the classroom, helping and watching my students develop their linguistic skills.
I learnt how to motivate learning and how to keep those motivation levels high in an environment where Target Language is not used.
Colleagues and bosses are most supportive and very appreciative of my work.
The hardest part of the job can be to strike and maintain a balance among students with varying learning capabilities.
The most enjoyable part of the job is again interacting with students informally in the Target Language.
Pros
free hand to use my teaching technique and to experiment with it.
Cons
high number of students during the fall semesters
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Very good place to work and retire
Research Assistant (Former Employee) –  Dallas, TXJuly 6, 2015
One the best places to live in USA is Texas and one of the best places to work in Texas is the University of Texas System. Typical day starts with getting to your desk and reviewing what you did the previous day. You get work instructions whether from a person with Master degree or a PhD. Your work is scientific and you help those in need of medical treatment and you will be proud of yourself to do so. If you are directly hired by the system but not a contractor or research grant employee, you don't want to lose your job easily as it is very secured.The most enjoyable part of the job is when you have done something that has helped a person in need of medication no matter what you did.
Pros
Secure employment, environmentally clean place
Cons
Non at all
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Challenging and exciting workplace.
Research Assistant - seems appropriate. (Former Employee) –  Austin, TX - Love Austin!January 18, 2016
1) A typical day at work consisted primarily of training new instrument users on the SEM and EDS.
2) I learned many new applications of the SEM to solve a wide variety of research problems.
3) Management didn't do anything to support my efforts or reward my accomplishments. They were mostly absent from the scene.
4) I had no co-workers as such, but the users were largely a bright and well mannered group.
5) The hardest part of the job was dealing with the occasional inflated ego.
6) The most enjoyable part of the job was seeing a user gain valuable insight into their research with the instrumentation.
Pros
Never a boring job! Always something new.
Cons
Only part-time (19 hours per week) therefore no benefits.
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Wearing tons of hats in an academic environment
Editor (Former Employee) –  Austin, TXJanuary 16, 2013
While working a typical 40 hour work week, I would constantly push myself to take on more challenges. When producing commercial spots and short promo documentaries about the university, I was given a great deal of creative control over the style and production. I was oftentimes in charge of concept develop, shooting, postproduction as well as online posting and SEO. There weren't many video editors/producers like me, so I functioned in isolation most of the time. That was difficult for me, since I love to collaborate with others. While satisfying for several years, eventually my position reached a point where I could not get a higher title or take on new responsibilities, at which time I knew I had to leave.
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Research grant position with short time frame for employment.
Research Associate (Former Employee) –  Austin, TXApril 18, 2012
This was basically a typical teaching position based at a local high school, except that the students that were in my class were selected based on certain measures to receive intensive reading intervention. I learned that some of the identified students were later called "false positives", meaning that although they met some of the identification criteria, they were not in need of the reading assistance. The hardest part of the job was dealing with reluctant students. The most enjoyable part of the job was seeing the students succeed, know that I was there to help them, and not give up on them.
Pros
benefits, proximity to home
Cons
little to no latitude on various issues
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productive work atmosphere
sous chef (Current Employee) –  Austin, TXNovember 10, 2015
I am a chef at Jester Basement I over see a hot food production area were I feed 6000 for lunch and dinner. I over see day to day operations,purchasing,inventory. I manage a staff of 25 30 I also float around units on campus covering Chef manager positions as well manage the units needs. I have knowledge of HACCP program as well as dietary restrictions.

The most part I enjoy about my job is that I work Mon-Fri and off on the holidays. The thing that I least enjoy is that we get paid once month and its hard to advance to upper management. The most challenging part of my job is having a recipe system that is not very accurate.
Pros
free lunch and parking
Cons
health benefits and paid vacation mon-fri if possible
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Fun and professional
Receptionist- ESL Tutor (Current Employee) –  Austin, TXApril 24, 2014
What I learned from this job is how to adapt to certain environments, and how to handle situations more effectively. I am constantly speaking with students who have different cultures and languages different from mine, so it is important to be mindful and respectful. My co-workers are all fun, and professional. They have taught me a lot. The hardest part about this job is to learn new things, and to learn how to express them in a way that makes sense to the students. This is the hardest part, but it is the most enjoyable because I get to learn new skills and to communicate with people from around the world.
Pros
flexible, and great for a student.
Cons
no more full-time positions available.
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4.4
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