Project South Texas

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Have a question about the new UT in South Texas? Submit it anonymously and an answer will be posted as soon as possible. 

 

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Is it correct that all applicants for the fall 2015 semester at UTRGV will have 50 seats available? And UTB and UTPA have their own seats available? Do we apply for each campus? When we apply, what is the process to pick a campus and apply?

You may be confusing the medical school enrollment projection of 50 students for 2016 and the undergraduate enrollment of UTRGV for 2015, which is expected to be more than 28,000 students. UTRGV will offer programs online and on both the Brownsville and Edinburg campuses, as well as other sites. Students will apply to UTRGV and be able to choose from among a variety of options.

 

In regard to the Working Group Reports posted on the UT Brownsville web site, how will questions and comments be handled? Will the questions and comments be handled by UT Brownsville? I am concerned that some of the reports do not accurately reflect the program and services offered by the institution. I am concerned that vital support may be missed as we move forward.

The recommendations of the working groups and subsequent feedback will be part of several options that the new UTRGV president and administration will consider. Other options to be considered by the new president will come from external consultants engaged by the UT System, and the System administration. UTRGV will not be an extension of UTB nor UTPA but a new, different university that will meaningfully address the UTRGV Guiding Principles approved by the Board of Regents.

 

Will the new UTRGV have a real recycling program in place? Currently at UTPA there is no recycling of paper, and there is limited recycling effort for plastic water and soda bottles. This is not acceptable at a major university, especially one promoting a strong Environmental Sciences program.

Thank you for your inquiry. Your question and point will be conveyed to the UTRGV administration when it is formed this summer.

 

Will there be a football team added anytime soon?

The UTRGV Athletics Committee will be making a recommendation to the EVC OAA and Chancellor regarding whether football is a viable option at the new institution.

 

Word out of UTPA is that the music and art programs at UTB will be under them. True or false?

It is not possible for UTB music and art programs to be under UTPA since both UTB and UTPA will cease to exist in 2015. UTRGV will have a single music and arts program.

 

A question still remains unanswered. At UTB, there are many faculty with a master's degree who are associate professors, yet faculty with doctorates are assistant professors. Will that same classification policy be endorsed at UTRGV?

Faculty qualifications and rank, as well as tenure and promotion criteria, are generally within the domain of the faculty and administration, guided by the mission of the institution. Once the Board of Regents adopts a mission statement for UTRGV, any questions relating to faculty classification should be clarified.

 

“The committee will be making recommendations to the UT System regarding items such as the location of the men’s and women’s programs, athletics facilities and the athletics budget and will strive to provide ample opportunity for participation in athletics by students valley-wide”…if I read this right than, locations will be spread out across the valley which is good. I read in the Brownsville herald that UTB athletes can try out for the different sports; isn’t this wrong? Why only UTB athletes and not UTPA? In the case of volleyball, it is obvious who has the better athletes.

No decisions have been made regarding the locations of the athletics programs. The UTRGV Athletics Committee will make recommendations regarding this issue and others to the Chancellor and EVC OAA. The UTPA athletics program, which is an NCAA Division I program, is being converted into the UTRGV program. The athletes on these teams will continue as members of the Division I program.

 

What about transportation between campuses? Despite the emphasis on online education, there will still be a need for people and things to travel from one campus to the next.

UT System has been at work designing an inter-campus transportation system since last November and has laid the groundwork for a convenient, reliable, inexpensive (or free) and robust system that collaborates with present transportation providers and new ones. Work is underway to provide a smartphone app that will make finding and arranging state-of-the-industry transportation options available to any student on any campus (of any other Valley higher ed. institution). More on this will be announced later in the year.

 

UT System has estimated that UTRGV will bring 10,000 jobs to the Valley. How many of these will be publicly funded positions at UTRGV with UT System employee benefits?

John Hockenyos, founder and president of the economic analysis and public policy consulting firm TXP estimated the new university and medical school would likely account for 7,000 new jobs in the RGV, and 10,000 if economic development impact is factored in. This is his data and you can see his December 7, 2012 presentation at www.youtube.com/watch?v=1kD-ol0uu0E&feature=player_embedded

 

When will the tuition for UTRGV be announced?

This is not likely to be known until next Spring. Once the UTRGV administration has a proposal for the tuition and fees, the Board of Regents must approve it. So there is no way to know for certain until it does.

 

Will UTRGV be a Coordinated Admission Program (CAP) campus for entering freshmen not initially admitted to UT Austin -- as UTB and UTPA have been -- beginning in the fall semester 2015?

It is too early to know much detail about which and how programs will be offered at UTRGV. The determination whether the Coordinated Admission Program with UT Austin program will be offered should be made by September 2014.

 

Will the new UT Rio Grande Valley have an Early Childhood program, a CDC, and/or a lab school?

It is too early to know much detail about which and how programs will be offered at UTRGV. The determination whether an Early Childhood program will be offered should be made by September 2014.

 

Will the new UT Rio Grande Valley have an Early Childhood program, a CDC, and/or a lab school?

It is too early to know much detail about which and how programs will be offered at UTRGV. The determination whether an Early Childhood program will be offered should be made by September 2014.

 

Will there be a reduction in force? If so, can you provide a projected timeline for how and when the process will play out?

There is no Reduction In Force planned. UTPA and UTB are being abolished next year. Senate Bill 24, which is the basis for the creation of UTRGV, states: "the Board of Regents shall facilitate the employment at (UTRGV) of as many faculty and staff of the abolished universities as is prudent and practical."

 

Why is all of the news about UTRGV centered around the medical school? There will be a lot more students at the academic campuses than in the med school. I would like to see the focus be on everyone not just a few med school students.

The news mostly follows events and, as would be expected and due, the appointment of the Dean of the new Medical School has drawn a great deal of attention. But the majority of press stories and the content of this web site have been focused on Academic-related matters. In the year to come, that proportionality of news stories will likely trend more to the general matters of the new administrative and academic structure and programming and matters of greatest interest to students.

 

Critical questions have been asked but no answers are forthcoming in relation to some critical UTB practices. Are we to expect those answers soon?

Your question is a broad one since there are many critical questions in many key areas that are presently under consideration. During the last six months, literally hundreds of local campuses faculty, staff, students and administrators, UT System personnel and consultants have been busy laying out elements to consider for the design of UTRGV. That phase is ending and now begins the phase of developing a plan to implement the finally approved design, which will then be followed by the actual implementation of it. All these phases take time and some steps await the approval of the new president. So answers will be created as we go but all the answers will not be known until Spring 2015.

 

Will UT-RGV's engineering programs retain UTPA/UTB's ABET-accreditation? As a current engineering student who will be graduating in 2017, I'm wondering if UTRGV will still award the ABET accredited degree I started with UTPA, or if it will have to re-apply for accreditation and students graduating during this time will not have ABET accredited degrees. Accreditation is very beneficial for job seeking students.

It is too early to know much detail about which and how programs will be offered at UTRGV, though UTRGV intends to ensure that students that have started a program at UTPA or UTB will be able to complete it. The detail about the ABET accreditation should be determined by September 2014.

 

How will the engineering programs improve at both the undergraduate and graduate levels? Will any changes come quick enough for current engineering students to benefit from the merger?

It is too early to know much detail about when and how programs will be offered at UTRGV but all programs it does offer will be of high quality. More details should be available by September 2014.

 

You state that it is "more helpful if previous academic structures be deemphasized" as "the Board of Regents have from the beginning envisioned a 21st Century University." Yet this appeal to authority ("Because the Regents say so") is the opposite of what we teach our students. What is the evidence that radically changed programs or online/teleconferenced technology aids learning and is preferred by students? Actual research suggests that students are less satisfied with online classes and on the whole prefer traditional classes (e.g. shi et al 2011; Robinson and Doverspike 2006; Maki et al 2000). Has Project South Texas been informed in its decision-making by peer-reviewed research verifying student preference for online courses and the quality of online education?

The Board of Regents' envisioned university is a forward-looking initiative to accommodate inexorable trends already underway and to initiate technological advances in higher education, as well as a changing world. Virtually all of the sea-changing events of the last decade were those completely unforeseen. The ipad as a common platform for learning was not included in most research from 2000 to 2011, for example, yet it is now a fundamental instrument in some school districts in the Rio Grande Valley already. As put best by Steve Mintz recently in Inside Higher Education, we mean "to serve as an innovation incubator, assisting campuses in building the data-driven strategic enrollment and student lifecycle management infrastructure needed to support education in the 21st century; in advancing next-generation online learning, which will play a critical role in enhancing access, affordability, student success, and institutional sustainability; and leading the way as institutions gradually develop outcomes-driven, competency-based, career-oriented educational pathways." Our challenge is to blaze that new path and we believe that begins by starting with a completely open mind, including looking for new academic structures.

 

I was wondering where and when does one apply to the new medical school? What a prerequisite coursework?

Current plans call for the first Medical School class in 2016 with applications in 2015. The curriculum is currently in the active planning stages. Final determinations about admissions will await the arrival of the new Dean. More details about applications and prerequisite coursework will be available later in 2014.

 

Why are students from both UTB and UTPA being left out in the cold? Why aren't we getting opportunities to make suggestions about the new university? I haven't seen anything on UTB or UTPA's websites or anything around campus asking for our input.

Actually, students have been serving on many of the workgroups for the last six months, student surveys have been conducted, and there have been several student forums and meetings with the local campus presidents, administrators and even the Chancellor of the UT System. Both UTPA and UTB websites have links to www.utrgv.org where extensive reports on the progress of the working groups, a weekly newsletter and an Ask A Question facility allows anyone to find out what's going on directly and pose individual questions anonymously.

 

Will the Engineering Technology UTB program continue in UTRGV?

It is too early to know much detail about when and how programs will be offered at UTRGV. More details should be available by September 2014.

 

Perhaps this has been asked before but will ask again- Will tenured faculty at UTB & UTPA have tenure at UTRGV? (Please note that we have received many questions about tenure over the last three weeks all of which can be answered with this response)

The establishment of UTRGV as a new university and the abolishment of UTB and UTPA creates an anomaly with regard to the question of current tenured and tenure-track faculty that is not covered by the present Regents Rules. UT System is working on a proposed policy for consideration by the Board of Regents that addresses this unique situation and we will share the information as soon as it is available.

 

Will UTRGV be an EEO employer and will that legislation be enforced? Heretofore, the standard operating procedure is that "things are done differently in academia". If there is a notice that UTB is an EEO employer, the expectations of all is that the law be followed every time. Does the Chancelor agree to that and will that be a primary goal in the selection process for all positions?

It is Board of Regents' policy that alll UT institutions are unequivocally Equal Opportunity Employers.

 

Why are all questions submitted not answered?

We are mindful of the importance of providing accurate and responsive answers as soon as we can, but there are some questions for which we have no answers now. For that same reason, some questions have taken longer to answer than others. Some questions submitted have been previously answered and a few are not related to UTRGV.

 

When do you anticipate that UTPA and UTB equivalent offices will begin to work with each other to consolidate services? Or, will each campus continue to function separately?

UTHSCSA, UTPA and UTB equivalent offices are already working together with our consultants and UT System administration to transition their functions' implementation to UTRGV. At present, 22 Project Management Groups comprised of leadership from each of these entities are designing the implementation plan, with each step and task specified and scheduled, to be ready for launch as soon as the official start-up date for UTRGV has been designated. All administrative, academic administrative and service functions will operate out of the central UTRGV administration and applied identically across all offices, instructional sites and campuses. Campuses will not continue to work separately.

 

The high school students who are seniors in 2015 can apply to the university's new Md program? Is it a six year course?

Students entering college in the fall of 2015 will be eligible to apply to the APRIME pre-health professions program in the Valley. Under current plans, they would be able to apply for early medical school admission in the spring of 2017 to start medical school in the fall of 2018. Medical school options for these students may include UT-Houston, UTMB in Galveston, or the new medical school at UTRGV.

 

Right now there are three different police departments making sure our campuses are safe (UT PAN AM POLICE, UT BROWNSVILLE POLICE and UT HEALTH SCIENCE CENTER at SAN ANTONIO POLICE). How will all locations be secure for the entire Rio Grande Valley?

Planning is underway to create a single police department, with a single regional organizational structure reporting to a Chief of Police. The new campus police department will embrace the guiding principles and values of UTRGV and UT System Police in an organization that effectively and efficiently provides law enforcement and public safety services to the uniquely different medical and academic environments that simultaneously comprise the new university. The new police department will be supported by proven technology including interoperable, regional police communications, facility security/access control and electronic parking systems. The new structure, components and mission is being developed using best evidence-based practices reflected in university law enforcement which will best serve and protect the three or more geographic campus locations now being anticipated.

 

When will jobs get posted for utrgv

More details about how UTRGV will be organized emerge later this summer but the decision about when to post new positions has not yet been made.

 

"The UT System envisions a Tier One Research University for the Rio Grande Valley." What is a Tier One Research University? How does a university achieve this status?

The Regents envision an "Emerging Research University” for the Rio Grande Valley, which the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Boarded defines as follows: Emerging Research Universities are educational, scientific, engineering, business and cultural resource centers committed to the three-fold mission of teaching, research and service. As universities with extensive educational programs, academic efforts are directed to applied and basic research in selected fields, teaching and scholarship, and creative activities. The universities encourage faculty members to be active researchers/creators in their respective disciplines and to involve both undergraduate and graduate students in research and creative pursuits. Emerging Research universities are expected to: Offer a comprehensive range of excellent undergraduate and graduate programs; Award at least 30 PhD degrees annually, based on a rolling average of two consecutive years of degree production; Generate at least 20% of the research universities’ criteria for restricted research expenditures (20% of $150 million, adjusted for inflation), as determined by a rolling two-year average.

 

The consolidation of the existing Harlingen and Edinburg Regional Academic Health Centers (RAHC) of the UT Health Sciences Center in San Antonio with the soon to be constructed new medical school building, next to the RAHC in Edinburg, will also take up much of Dr. Fernandez’ time, once he starts on April 28....why is Brownsville being left out as always in this?

The purpose of campus consolidation is to increase the system’s overall effectiveness in creating better educational opportunities. For example, consider the developments in the psychiatry program. While it is being developed at the Harlingen campus of the RAHC, the Valley Baptist Behavioral Health Facility in Brownsville will be the main training site. This institution will serve the entire region and Brownsville is certainly a major player.

 

Where could I contact Dr. Francisco Fernandez to make a suggestion? I'd like to speak with him personally over the phone. Is there a time when he will be visiting UT-Pan American in the month of March or April?

Dr. Fernandez plans to be on site after April 28, 2014. Until then he can be reached through ffernand@health.usf.edu .

 

Why is all of the news about UTRGV centered around the medical school? There will be a lot more students at the academic campuses than in the med school. I would like to see the focus be on everyone not just a few med school students.

Most likely, the recent news media focus on the medical school is an artifact of the recent events, particularly the appointment of the new Dean of the Medical School and the commencement of construction of one of its key buildings. Meanwhile, the study, design and organization of the overall university proceeds without as much attention. This will change as all these activities begin to evolve into events of greater interest to the press: the selection of the president; announcement about the organization structure; siting of the headquarters; and other events of interest to the general public.

 

I realize only MD degrees will be offered from the new medical school; however, as an aspiring Orthopedic Surgeon, I was wondering if the new medical school will offer a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine degree sometime in the near future.

Osteopathic physicians are trained in programs accredited by different agencies. As such, the School of Medicine will only offer MD degrees. Residency training following medical school is changing. Currently, osteopaths get their training after DO school in programs approved by the American Osteopathic Association (AOA). By 2015, all AOA residencies will also have American College of Graduate Medical Education accreditation. Of course, all new programs must be approved by the Board of Regents.

 

Since the new medical school will be part of TMDSAS for the application process, will the education requirements for application be the same? I am planning to apply after finishing my Bachelor of Science at UTPA and want to know what to expect during the application process.

It is too early to say at present.

 

What is the reasoning behind Provost Rodriguez's insistence that the faculty working groups refrain from suggesting academic structures similar to those that have been proven effective at UTPA and/or UTB? This has seemed odd, to say the least, since he began repeating phrases such as, "if it looks like what we currently have, then we have failed." Can you explain the rationale behind this strong push?

The Board of Regents have from the beginning envisioned a 21st Century University for the Rio Grande Valley that would be based upon the guiding principles which describe a major departure from the traditional university as we know it. The faculty working groups and others have been asked to "think out of the box" in their considerations for a design of this new and innovative university. For that reason it is believed to be more helpful if the previous structures be de-emphasized in that new design thinking.

 

Regarding the UTRGV SIS system implementation, why is UTRGV being added as a second business with UT Permian Basin? Would this limit the ability of the new university to customize their SIS system to meet their own specific needs if they differ from UT Permian Basin? Are there plans to eventually place the Peoplesoft SIS System implementation for UTRGV in its own business unit separated for UT Permian Basin? What are the disadvantages and advantages of having the SIS system for UTRGV be tied so closely with UT Permian Basin as a secondary business unit?

PeopleSoft will accommodate separate multiple institutions on one software "instance" (single database) and allow us to leverage commonality and standards where applicable and necessary. UTRGV will be added to the shared instance, as a unique business unit, with the HR and Finance systems along with the other 6 institutions implementing. This is a shared services Student Information System implementation following the same methodology and governance as our other UTShare ERP implementations. We expect to add more business units as more institutions have a need to upgrade their SIS. The advantages to this approach have been recognized since 2006 and include leveraging common best practices across multiple institutions, realizing economies of scale, and standardizing reporting and common definitions across the system

 

Is the new University planning to offer a PHD for Psychology? There is a huge necessity of PHds professionals in Psychiatry in the Valley. I graduated last year with a Bachelors in Psychology and throughout my years at UTPA I have heard so many people from the Psychology Faculty and students saying how UTPA has been talking about bringing in a Psychology PHD for the last 13 years.

A working group has recommended a PhD in clinical Psychology; the programmatic decisions for psychology have not yet been made. We expect to have more detail for you by the end of the summer. A proposal would need to be submitted to both the UT System Board of Regents and the Coordinating Board for approval of any new degree program. There is no further information about when or if such a proposal will be going forward at this time.

 

From my understanding the dean for the new Medical School will be Dr. Francisco Fernandez , a well known psychiatrist and neuroscience professor. Is there any possibilities A medical program for Psychiatry might at least be considered for UTRGV?

Yes it is considered. Psychiatry is a core discipline required for accreditation of all medical schools. There are plans underway for a training program specifically for psychiatric physicians at the Valley Baptist Behavioral Health Facility.

 

Will there be a Pharmacy program or only programs for doctors?

The UT Austin College of Pharmacy, in cooperation with UTPA offers a six-year curriculum leading to the "Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD)" degree. The PharmD degree is the sole entry-level degree offered in the Unites States for those interested in becoming a licensed pharmacist. Students enrolled in the program when UTRGV is launched will be able to finish their original program. The Board of Regents has not yet approved the programs for UTRGV but is expected to do so later this summer.

 

What minors will be offered at UTRGV? Will UTRGV offer a minor in mathematics? I am currently a UTB student, and UTB does really offer a variety of minors like UTPA does.

Yes, we anticipate that UTRGV students will have access to a variety of minors to complement their chosen area of study. We do not yet know which minors UTRGV will offer but the full UTRGV program array has been in design for some time and is nearing completion.  The plan is to recommend a list of UTRGV degree programs to The UT System Board of Regents in May 2014, followed by a request for approval by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board in July 2014.

 

Can you please provide the link to the working group reports and executive summaries mentioned in the Q&A.

http://tinyurl.com/mrxd5eb


Will there be a presidential scholarship that pays for all your tuition and housing in UTRGV as like there was in UTPA? If there is, will a 28 on the ACT make me a competitive student? I was also wondering about the A-Prime Time program at UTPA, will it still be offered in UTRGV?

Students who currently receive scholarships from UTPA and UTB will continue to receive these scholarships at UTRGV, for the timeframe and requirements specified for their scholarship.  There will be new scholarships with a variety of qualifications developed by UTRGV for its new students in 2015.    A 28 on the ACT does indeed make you a competitive student.

 

What are the names of degrees being offered?

The names of the degree programs that UTRGV will offer has not yet been determined. The plan is to recommend a list of UTRGV degree programs to The UT System Board of Regents in May 2014, followed by a request for approval by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board in July 2014.

 

Will we have a law school?  We need a law school!

There are no plans for a law school at UTRGV at this time.

 

Who will be working on the rebranding and marketing  efforts/strategy for the new university? Is this being done in-house or  outsourced to a communication/marketing group?

Task Force made up of System External Relations representatives and marketing/admissions representatives from both campuses is currently working on the promotion (and transitional promotion) of UTRGV. 

 

Many professors who teach in Spanish are not proficient in Spanish.  Many professors who teach in English are not proficient in English either.  What will the new school do to address this terrible problem?

One of the goals for UTRGV is to produce graduates who are bi-cultural, bi-lingual, and bi-literate.  Proficiency in communication in more than one language will be an aspirational goal for both faculty and students. UTRGV’s main focus is heightened levels of student success. Thus, UTRGV will employ professors and personnel who can communicate well.

 

I have noticed many people mispronounce "Rio Grande" as "Rio Grand" or Rio Grandee"; since UTRGV is a "Higher Education" institution, I believe it should strive to educate us all, starting as to how to properly pronounce its name…  Are there any plans to address this issue as part of the marketing efforts for the new university?

The challenge is that there are several common pronunciations of Rio Grande.  They may differ depending on one’s first language; that is, some use a Spanish pronunciation, others use English, and still others may use a local pronunciation. Ideally the speaker is adept enough to use the convention of the listener, but that will be the case only after we attain the goal of a bi-cultural, bi-lingual, and bi-literate Valley.

 

As cited previously, Regents' Rule 31006 is not being used at UTB for faculty workloads.  Instead, faculty are being subjected to a draft document that supposedly has been sent to UT System for approval.  In the implementation of that document by the leadership grouup, graduate faculty are given undergraduate credit for graduate courses based on an established arbitrary headcount.  Is that the new trend and will UTRGV follow that same methodology?

UTRGV will follow Regents established rules.

 

A practice implemented by UTB during the UTB/TSC dissolution was to impose criteria relevant to "terminal degree in discipline" as a way to dismiss faculty, even tenured faculty.  The rationale was based on literal translation of SACS' rules.  However, we also know that SACS will allow for content justification.  Will the UTB impression of that SACS rule be applied for faculty reduction in the new UTRGV?

All UTB and UTPA academic and administrative policies are under study currently. It is not possible at this time to provide an answer to this question other that UTRGV will comply with UT Regents and SACS policies 

 

Curious to know how many medical students will be part of the first Medical School class at UTRGV in 2016?

We expect 50 medical student in the first class in 2016.

 

Dan Balaguero, who has been the Men's soccer coach at UTB for the past eight years. He started the team at UTB from scratch. It appears UTPA just last week hired a Men's soccer coach. Previously UTPA did not have a team. My understanding is that the coach at UTPA has been promised the job after the two schools merge. This seems to run contrary to some of the information online that has referred to a presumably objective "UTRGV Athletic Committee" to make decision about athletics, which among other items, would consist of staffing. Is there a committee to decide who the Men's coach will be? Dan has served the UT system for eight years and I find it highly probably that an objective thinking group would feel that his loyalty and success within the UT system would make him the frontrunner for the Men's soccer job at UTRGV. The coach hired last week has at best a comparable resume with no ties to the Valley or UT system. In addition, Dan would appear uniquely qualified since he built a team from scratch at one of the merging schools. I understand that there will be many conflicts with the merger due to redundant positions etc, but there was no redundancy for Men's soccer until last week. I'm hoping that the situation has simply slipped through the cracks and still needs to be discussed. I implore you to imagine investing eight years of your life into an institution/career, and having it taken away without cause or reason. Dan is just one person, but it's a life altering decision that I truly believe is being taken lightly. I would like the opportunity to reach out to the UTRGV athletics to bring attention to this.

The Office of Academic Affairs has charged an independent committee to develop and recommend a plan that brings together The University of Texas at Brownsville (UTB) and The University of Texas at Pan American (UTPA) to create a single NCAA Division I-AAA program at The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley. This committee has no authority over personnel decisions at UTPA. With regard to the selection of the men’s head soccer coach at UTPA, it is the policy of the University to not comment on personnel matters or hiring decisions.

 

Will the new university offer a doctoral program in psychology? Also, will the school of medicine be hiring psychologist as part of their faculty?

A working group has recommended a PhD in clinical Psychology, the programmatic decisions for psychology have not yet been made.  The new dean of the medical school comes onboard in April and will have more detailed information about his plans a little later. We expect to have more detail for you by the end of the summer.

 

I know that UTB currently has a two-year architecture program. Will UTRGV continue providing this program?

There is no bachelor degree program in Architecture at UTB at this time and no programmatic decisions for a two year program in architecture have been made. We expect to have more detail for you by the end of the summer. However, any student who starts the program at either UTB or UTPA will be able to finish it at UTRGV.

 

UTRGV is going to have a better ranking in the world than UTPA?

That is both the plan and the expectation. UTRGV will be a larger university with world class programs and this will become evident as it evolves.

 

If I apply for the University Scholars program in UTB but decide to attend UTPA in Fall of 2014 will UTPA honor the scholarship should I receive it?

No. For this last year of UTB and UTPA, their scholarship programs will remain as they are. However, any scholarship awarded that spans the transition into fall 2015 will be honored by UTRGV.

 

What Music majors will be offered?

The programmatic decisions for music have not yet been made. We expect to have more detail for you by the end of the summer.

 

What is the general “plan” for the new university? How will it be organized?

UTRGV will be initially organized much like any single university, with a centralized administration and with many geographically disbursed campuses and instructional sites. The exact structure of the administration, academics, and services will not be known until summer of 2014. With the arrival of the new president, UTRGV can commence a strategic planning process, incorporating the guiding principles, which will have the objective of achieving the vision laid out by the Board of Regents and Chancellor. Being a "21st Century" university, it will employ the latest technology and innovative methods to provide breakthrough programs and services to students from the Rio Grande Valley and the world.

 

I am wondering if the 2015 Inaugural Class Task Force is a part of the medical school curriculum committee? Who makes up these committees and how are they being formed?

This is in evolution at present and is being done within the Regional Academic Health Center (RAHC) structure with preliminary committees in several areas. The new Dean will further develop these committees as the Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME) process evolves.

 

When would we know what Medical Degrees would be offered at UTRGV?

The Medical School will offer only the MD degree. Students may well obtain dual degrees e.g. MD/MPH with other schools.

 

Will there be a new School of Public Health, affiliated with UTRGV? I think we could certainly use one.

The regional School of Public health will be closely involved with the medical school. No new Public health School will be created.

 

What kind of stats will you be expecting from pre-medical students looking to apply to your medical school? Will you be part of TMDSAS?

It will be part of TMDAS but it is much too early to even consider “stats".

 

Will students that go to either University's have to change campuses or continue going where there going unless there in the medical field?

For academic year starting fall 2015, most UTRGV students will attend classes on the same campuses they have in the past. In the years to come some programs will be concentrated on a particular campus, especially in cases were a specific lab is available. Many classes, however, will be available from any place with an internet connection. Curriculum design and class scheduling will be arranged to serve students in ways most convenient to them as possible.

 

Will there be doctoral or MD degrees in Kinesiology?

The only MD degree will be in the Medical School. There are no plans for a doctorate in Kinesiology at this time. A proposal would need to be submitted to both the UT System Board of Regents and the Coordinating Board for approval of any new degree program. There is no further information about when or if such a proposal will be going forward at this time.

 

Are there going to be any MD or PHD degrees for Dietetics or nutritional sciences especially because of the problem we have with obesity we need more people in these fields.

The Medical School will offer only the MD degree. There are no present plans for a PhD in Dietetics or nutritional sciences. A proposal would need to be submitted to both the UT System Board of Regents and the Coordinating Board for approval of any new degree program. There is no further information about when or if such a proposal will be going forward at this time.

 

Who is planning the new University?

Literally hundreds of people. Under the leadership of the UT System and Special Advisor, faculty, staff, students, administrators, national consultants and thought leaders have for months been collaborating in the designing and planning of the new university. There are three stages: Conceptualization, which is the thinking about and discussion of alternative models, structures, methods; Project Planning, which is the design of the parts of the university based upon what was learned in the first stage; and Implementation, which is bringing up the new university according to the plan. We are presently concluding the Conceptualization stage and entering the Project Planning stage.

 

How many presidential candidates have applied for the position?

The national search is underway and progressing as expected. A significant number of individuals applied for the position but while it is in progress we cannot disclose any precise details about it.

 

I am curious as to whether the UTRGV will have to maintain the current agreement we have with STC, which has turned out to be a pretty poor agreement. Notwithstanding the loss in freshman and sophomore enrollments, the cost of having to reeducate the students, as well as having to equate a University of Texas component with a community college has been significant.

The University of Texas greatly values the contribution Community Colleges make to higher education in Texas. In fact, more than half of all graduates from universities in Texas have earned credits in community colleges. UTRGV will work closely with both of the Valley's community colleges, TSTC in Harlingen and the K-12 schools to develop a 21st Century curriculum and student success path that will ensure that students who arrive at UTRGV will be ready to thrive and graduate with an excellent education.

 

The UTPA has had, over the years, self-esteem issues, more content to recruit south of the border more aggressively than the rest of the State. For example, our efforts in recruiting high school students don't even go as far north as Falfurrias. I am wondering if the new university and the new administration, will understand our geographical significance, strive to be more competitive for American students up north, and forget about Mexico and Central America.

UTRGV, like all of the other UT System institutions will be a world class university open to students from around the world and they will be actively recruited. It has been and still is a reality that cash-strapped families in the Rio Grande Valley have needed local access to higher education, which explains why the student population here is disproportionately Valley residents. As the new university evolves and its reputation grows, more and more students from other regions will enroll at UTRGV.

 

How will UTRGV compare to UT Austin? I am a student debating to transfer to UT.

UT Austin is an excellent, highly competitive research and teaching university that is over 100 years old. Students from around the world come to Austin for its broad array of mature and highly ranked programs. UT Rio Grande Valley is virtually brand new, but is more accessible because of its location, tuition & fee structure and less competitive admission. UTRGV will have many mature and outstanding programs taken over from UTPA and UTB, but it also has a mission specifically focused on 21st Century technology, students and the employment market. But there is much more that distinguishes any two universities than can be captured here. We recommend that you visit both campuses (and many others) to explore factors that make one the right fit for you.

 

Some History majors that attend UTB have been feeling a bit neglected by their current University, would this be the case of attending UTRGV, too?

UTRGV will be offering a program for History majors that will compare favorably with any others in the state but a new feature of student life will be an innovative initiative called "Student Lifecycle Management", a new way to connect the student and the university closely together from recruitment, to enrollment and orientation, to the quality of the student experience, to graduation, and all the life challenges and opportunities in between. We believe this will greatly enhance the university experience for all students.

 

Hands-on and Minds-on programs, such as the Engineering Technology, currently offered at UTB is incredibly valuable to the valley students in pursuing a successful career in engineering and industry. This is crucial in the light of President Obama, “announced during his [2013] State of the Union address...that he would spend $200 million to create the manufacturing innovation hubs that bring together companies and universities for research and development of products.” Is there any plan to extend the programs that support the goal of creating high paying industry jobs, such the Engineering technology, to other regions of the valley through the emerging UTRGV?

The UTRGV academic program inventory will be approved and published later this summer but is not complete at this time. All students coming from UTPA or UTB and continuing at UTRGV will be able to proceed through and complete their original programs as previously offered at UTB and UTPA. Eventually, all the like programs of the two closing entities will be consolidated into a single program at UTRGV. Over time, new programs that will either replace or build upon present programs will be available to new students at UTRGV.

 

With a strong emphasis on research at the new UTRGV, it will be necessary to develop Ph.D. programs in multiple departments. This is especially true for the sciences. If this does not occur in tandem with all the other changes, it will be difficult to attract strong research faculty and Ph.D. students. Is this being discussed as an important component of the UTRGV and are various departments being charged with discussing the change?

The academic working groups have made recommendations to develop a number of doctoral programs, both professional and academic. As with all new degree programs, a proposal for any new program would need to be submitted to both the UT System Board of Regents and, if approved, the Coordinating Board for final approval. Among other considerations, a proposal for a new doctoral program would need to provide documented evidence of the unmet need for doctorates in the discipline in terms of job opportunities now and in the foreseeable future.

 

Will UTRGV medical school offered any animal science in the future(like veterinary tech...)?

There are no plans for animal sciences programs in the medical school.

 

How can I view the original reports from all the working groups ?

The complete reports of the academic working groups will be posted on the university websites by the end of this week (March 7th). There will be a link or a button to click that will take you to the Project South Texas Academic Programs Working Group Reports. There will also be a separate file with all the executive summaries.

 

In his latest message to campus, Dr Leon stated: "UTB and UTPA will communicate that existing degree programs will continue to exist, as teach out, for those students who are currently enrolled, particularly looking to Fall 2014 enrollment." What does "teach out" mean in this context? Are specific degree plans going to be eliminated with UTRGV?

“Teach out” means that a student who started a degree program at UTB or UTPA will be able to finish it out at UTRGV. See the answer to the following question addressing the fall 2015 programs at UTRGV for more information on this.

 

What degrees will be offered at UTRGV? And will there be any programs for any students who are currently attending a university? If so, for what degrees?

When UTRGV begins classes in fall 2015, previous UTB and UTPA students who were enrolled in degree programs at those institutions will be able to complete the requirements of those degrees at UTRGV. There will be three sets of degree programs running simultaneously in 2015 at UTRGV: Those that UTB had offered, those that UTPA had offered, and those that will be consolidated from both UTB and UTPA.

 

In the last report by Dr Leon he stated, "...the working documents may be modified, and they will be posted on the websites of both UTB and UTPA to allow faculty, staff and students, and the external community to provide additional feedback. This will be followed by a series of Town Hall meetings in March and April at both UTB and UTPA." He was referring to the recommendations made by working groups. My question is How can we view these recommendations and provide feedback? The website is not yet showing them. As a faculty member, I am particularly interested in recommendations made by academic work groups. Will I have to attend a Town Hall meeting, or will I have the opportunity to do so via the website? when?

The complete reports of the academic working groups will be posted on the university websites by the end of this week (March 7th). There will be a link or a box to click that will take you to the Project South Texas Academic Programs Working Group Reports. There will also be a separate file with all the executive summaries. Faculty will be encouraged to submit their feedback through the portal but they can also do so at the Town Hall meetings if they prefer.

 

With the recent resignation of the Chancellor, coupled with what seems to be a failure on the part of the Edinburg RAHC to even acknowledge they will be officially be a part of the UTRGV, is their any truth to the rumor that the Medical School will ultimately be affiliated with UTHSCSA, and not UTRGV?

The rumor is false. The medical school will be an integral unit of UTRGV.

 

Is there known Prerequisites for admissions and a MCAT score yet?

Not yet. More information about admissions should be available in the next few months.

 

For the New UTRGV "Medical School" what new programs will be offered? Doctorate of Physical Therapy, if this is indeed one of the newly added programs where/when will the admission and requirements be posted, please advise.

The medical school will only offer the MD degree. There is a recommendation from an academic program working group to offer the Doctor of Physical Therapy. A proposal would need to be submitted to both the UT System Board of Regents and the Coordinating Board for approval of any new degree program.  There is no further information about when or if such a proposal will be going forward at this time.


Will there be a Pharmacy school? or a collaboration of some sort?

No changes in the present Pharmacy program are planned at this time. However, as the academic planning process moves forward, this could be modified in the future. 

 

As a pre-medical biology student currently at UTPA in the UTPA/Baylor program and graduating spring 2016, how are already established pre-med programs such as JAMP, EMSAP, FASTS, and UTPA/BAYLOR program going to be effected by this merger?

The existing programs will not be affected at all but the new medical school will offer one more option for JAMP students.

 

Currently, that Regents' Rule 31006, cited in a previous answer, is not being used at UTB for faculty workloads, are we going to use it at UTRGV?

Every UT System academic institution has its unique mission which determines teaching workload. Each institution reports teaching load credits annually to the UT System. UTRGV will do the same once it is established. Those reports will be guided by appropriate Regents' Rule.

 

Would it be possible to have a Registered Nurse Anesthetist certified program along with the new changes to the new medical school? That is something I really want to pursue after I earn my Bachelor’s degree from UTPA, but the closest certified nurse anesthetist universities are in Fort Worth and Houston. That would be awesome.

The programmatic decisions for nursing have not yet been made.  We expect to have more detail for you by the end of the summer.

 

UTPA has no record of ever winning any kind of championships in sports or anything else. Whereas UTB has had top national sports programs and has won national titles.  Even the chess teams have been on top at the national level.  Will this consideration be given when decisions are made concerning both sports and chess?

All relevant information will be considered when determining how to implement an NCAA Division I-AAA program at UTRGV.

 

During the consolidation of the 3 Universities into the new UTRGV, are there plans to privatize functions now performed by University Employees of UTPA, UTB  and/or the RAHC?  How many of the 10,000 jobs, estimated that UTRGV will bring in, will be "created" as a direct result of privatizing existing University functions--and the staff positions associated with these functions? 

The guiding principles specify that UTRGV will: "Streamline academic and administrative programs and re-design processes to increase productivity and promote a student- and service-centered mode of operation." While the design of the operational structure and methods for delivery of key services is underway but not yet concluded, we expect to use whatever approaches and methods available to control costs and enhance quality.

 

When will we take the name The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley and rid of the names UTPA and UTB?

A strategy for gradually ramping up the UTRGV brand, while retiring those for UTPA and UTB is currently in development and has already begun.  We expect that UTRGV will be the predominant brand by the end of this year.  (UTPA and UTB will still be the official names for the two retiring entities until UTRGV is awarded accreditation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools in June of 2015)

Why weren’t the “guiding principles” ever open to deliberation among faculty?  A few of them dealing with technology may threaten  student learning and college experience (i.e., the likelihood in the Valley that many courses will be large, impersonal and mediated online; while in wealthy colleges, students get small classes with dynamic interaction with faculty).  Most faculty agree that small classes, emphasizing the fundamentals (reading, writing, critical reflection) with hands-on faculty feedback and inspiration are key to student learning.  Most faculty know, of course,  the fiscal realities in Texas Higher Education, yet believe that decisions about technology have pedagogical implications that require mature deliberation—and not, we fear, imposition from above.  Why weren’t the “guiding principles” open to deliberation rather than presumed?  And should those faculty who care deeply about student learning and faculty governance look elsewhere for work than UTRGV?

The Board of Regents seek to establish a new 21st Century University in the Rio Grande Valley and in its envisioning of it identified certain key guiding principles to assist in the process of design. None of us can know how this century will unfold, the challenges it will bring, nor the opportunities that will arise but we do know that independent factors must be addressed. Among these are student demands, market forces, technological change, innovations, societal change, global influences, and other factors not yet revealed or fathomed.  At the start, the platform of UTRGV is the product of present faculty, staff, students, administration, national thought leaders, consultants and talents throughout the UT System.  The new design should preserve the values of traditional higher education while seeking ways to make them continually relevant by adopting the benefits and opportunities of innovation.  What the university will be over this and following centuries will continue to be a response to the work of future students and faculty.

 

Where is the new Medical School planned to be located?

The first two years will be located on the Edinburg campus; the second two years of medical education will be on the Harlingen campus.

 

Does UT Austin Athletics have a board?

UT Austin does not have a separate governing board for athletics but does have many councils and committees that help promote and support programs.

 

Will a campus be built in the mid-valley, i.e. Mercedes, as it is between both Edinburg and Brownsville?

Not at this time.

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