Project South Texas

Ask a Question

Ask a Question

Ask a Question

Print Friendly PagePrint Friendly Page

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

 

Ask a Question

Print Friendly PagePrint Friendly PageSend PageSend Page

Updated July 30th, 2014

The Brownsville Herald has reported that all of UT-Brownsville's athletics programs will be dissolved and that the UTRGV new athletic program will be based exclusively in Edinburg.  First question: is this accurate?  Second question: If true, why isn't the athletic program being spread across both campuses? i.e. Basketball in Edinburg; Volleyball in Brownsville; Soccer in Edinburg; Cross Country in Brownsville; etc.

UT System leadership determined that UTRGV will have a NCAA Division I athletics program.  Because of UTPA’s existing participation in NCAA Division I athletics, the UTPA athletics program will be converted into the athletics program at UTRGV.  UTB competes in NAIA which is why none of its programs will be converted to UTRGV.  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 of the UT System, Executive Vice Chancellor of Academic Affairs of the UT System and President of UTRGV. 

 

With the many many uncertainties across the campus community and for those of us who because of certain hardships may not acquire a college degree yet our years of experience and expertise may not be accounted for, is it true that we will be surpassed due to that our competition will hold a degree for the same job position? Is that not discrimination of our abilities and qualifications?  Below is a previously asked question which the reply is half answered because if the current position is occupied but then if the same job position qualification changes to must have a bachelor's or master's degree, then the current employee is no longer considered eligible to apply because their experience is not valid for a clerical or administrative job. We suddenly are unemployed without any assistance from UT System. Our lives are drastically changed because even though we were told multiple times you and your job is safe, now they tells us a year from now you may not have a job at UTRGV. How are we suppose to provide for our family?

While it is true that in creating our new university we have the ability to review and revise position descriptions and functions to better serve our students, it is also true that we have untapped potential in staff capabilities at both campuses.  We would be doing a disservice to you and our students if we did not recognize that there are circumstances where experience and expertise are equivalent to a degree.  As we develop the position descriptions any option for equivalent experience will be noted in the posting.  In answer to your concern about your specific position, we cannot guarantee that all existing positions will become positions at UTRGV.  For example, as departments become unified across both campuses, one manager will lead them (as opposed to one at each campus), yet the work of those departments will continue to increase as UTRGV integrates with the medical school and increases its student headcount.  Our new university will provide many opportunities and you will be encouraged to apply for roles similar to the one you hold now as well as roles that may not have existed before.  More information will be shared this fall regarding the new structure and in the meantime, we will be offering some services to help you be as successful as possible when applying for a new role at UTRGV.

 


Please explain the reasoning behind making clinical faculty, lecturers, and staff apply for their positions in a process open to everyone,  and not limited to in-house.   I understand UTRGV will be a new university,  but by that same reasoning, shouldn't all students and faculty under Phase I also reapply in an open process?  Please include information on the specific law or statute you have used to make this decision.

UTRGV will not know which positions will be available in Phase II until the first phase is complete.  It thus follows that it is not known which positions in Phase II will be open to internal candidates only and which positions will be open to external candidates.  This decision will be made on a case by case basis.

 

I am currently a staff member with UTPA, but still need approximately a year or so to complete my 80 points needed for retirement,could I be offered the voluntary separation incentive? And if so, is it considered early retirement or regular retirement?

The voluntary separation incentive program will be available to staff who meet certain eligibility criteria.  One criterion will require the employee to be at least 65 years of age or meet the Rule of 80 (age plus creditable years of service equal to 80).  Therefore, if you are at least 65 years of age, you will meet this criterion even if you have not yet met the Rule of 80.

 

If it is decided a UTRGV program will not have enough positions to accommodate all the UTPA and UTB faculty members in existing programs, will all faculty be put into Phase Two, or will the positions be filled during Phase One with some faculty members then falling into Phase Two because there will not be a position available for them?  Or will all UTPA/UTB program faculty be classified as Phase Two with determinations to be made regarding their employment?  Who will make this decision, which individuals or bodies (eg UT-system, outside consultants, special commissions)?

Before Phase I begins, UTRGV will determine if an academic unit has enough tenured faculty positions to hire all tenured UTB and UTPA faculty who fulfill the criteria listed in the Phase I policy.  If the answer is yes, then all of those faculty will be extended hiring offers in Phase I, as long as they meet the other criteria.   If the answer is no, then none of those faculty will be hired in Phase I, and all available tenured faculty positions will be filled in Phase II.  (The same is true for tenure-track faculty).

 

I was recently promoted to Lecturer II. If I am hired by UTRGV, will I be able to keep that rank, or do I have to start over again?

Congratulations on your recent promotion.  UTRGV expects to hire lecturers, and if it hires you, you will hold the rank offered to you when you are hired.  This rank may or may not be identical to the rank into which you were recently promoted.

 

Please explain fully how the number of T & TT faculty positions each academic unit will need is being determined.

UTRGV is carefully taking into account its needs for tenured and tenured-track faculty.  As UTRGV considers its needs, it is being informed by various sources, including the mission of the university, the valuable work of the joint UTB/UTPA working groups presented earlier this year, its enrollment projections, the experiences of its administration, guidance from UT System, and guidance from experienced external consultants.

 

Are there any plans regarding a PhD in Psychology?if so, when could this happen?

No proposal for a doctoral program in any specialization area of psychology has been submitted to the UT System. Over the next 6-9 months, UTRGV will develop its internal process for proposing new degree programs based upon market demand and other factors consistent with UT System and Coordinating Board requirements.

 

Thank you for the update on the 23 groups.  That response includes the following sentence:  "There is no plan at this time to publish the membership but there isn't any objection to it."  I may not speak for all but I do know that some of us would appreciate knowing which of our collegues are working on these important tasks.

Your point noted and relayed to the president.

 

As a resident of this area I am quite surprised you are not involving the very talented Art students and teachers of both UTB & UTPA in the development of the new UTRGV logo, colors, mascots and "image". I sincerely hope you take advantage of the great local talent, rather than sourcing it out to highly paid "consultants".

Thank you for your advice. It is relayed.

 

Do family members of UT employees get tuition reduction?

No, there is no general statutory authority for tuition waiver or reduction for UT employee “family members.”  The following is a link that provides information about financial aid, including exemption and waiver programs:  http://www.collegeforalltexans.com/index.cfm?objectid=F0EFCF71-D6FB-4079-BC54E83CEB3A9C2C.   You can contact a UT component institution directly to learn about its specific programs for tuition assistance and reduction as there may be variations.

 

UTB had an Associates Architecture program which allowed students to pursue a Bachelors or Masters degree in Architecture from other UT Arch.  schools, but I haven't seen anything similar in the proposed UTRGV curriculum, and with the rapid growth of the Rio Grande region we are in deer need of architects and construction managers. As a leader in the construction industry I would like to ask that the curriculum-development commitee seriously consider adding this critical educational option (perhaps as part of the Civil Engineering Program, like it is offered at UT Austin?). Thanks for seeking our input, ang Godspeed UTRGV!

Thank you for your advice. It is relayed. The market for graduates is a key consideration for new programs.  We need to point out, though, that associates degrees are usually awarded by community colleges.

 

Here at UTB, the faculty are being asked to give up resources that are essential to conduct our work.  For example, you can either have a laptop or a desktop computer but not both.  All our individual printers are being removed even though some of us have desktop computers that are so old that there is difficulty in connecting them to the network-type printer.  Our lecturers do not have an office or a computer to work with in order to prepare their courses and conduct business with their students.  They are, in fact, having to borrow someone else's computer to conduct their essential work. In what way will the resource allocation change, if at all, once we are lead by UTRGV? When will the change occur?  Given that we have a whole academic year of teaching remaining before UTRGV is launched, this diminishing of resources is critical for faculty to conduct effective work with students.

UTB and UTPA are still operating universities and need to continue to provide the services they offer students until UTRGV opens next year.  Next summer, UTB and UTPA will close.  UTRGV is a new university and providing faculty with the tools and resources to provide the highest quality experience for students is an imperative.  Once the academic leadership is in place, a full assessment of faculty needs will begin  and plans laid to meet them.

 

If we are applying for faculty transition in phase 1, we are to supply information of specifics as listed in the policy announced earlier.  All requested info is in control of faculty to submit except  one--the criminal background check. Do we initiate the CBC? If we do, what is the procedure? If the university initiates the CBC, how is that initiated to ensure the outcome is back for submission by the phase 1 deadline?

No.  Faculty are not required to initiate the CBC.  Faculty will be provided the required forms for CBC processing during the Phase I hiring process.  

 

In a previous question you mention that pursuant to Regents’ Rules and Regulations, employees hired by UTRGV will be at-will employees. If my understanding is correct, at-will employment is a term used in U.S. labor law for contractual relationships in which an employee can be dismissed by an employer for any reason (that is, without having to establish "just cause" for termination), and without warning. Is this a standard hiring practice of all U. T. System institutions or is this singular to UTRGV?

The at-will doctrine is UT System-wide.  Administrative and Professional (A&P) and Classified Staff serve at-will.  See Regents’ Rules and Regulations, Rule 30601, Part 2, Section 2.2.

 

AY 2014-15 faculty annual evaluations and post-tenure reviews will take place in the fall and spring at UTPA. Evaluations for both will not conclude until late spring 2015. Will those of us that accepted the voluntary separation agreement(VSIP)effective March 31, 2015 be required to submit evaluation folders for annual review and post-tenure review (if applicable) for AY 2014-15?

The Regents’ Rules and Regulations require annual faculty evaluations and post-tenure review (see RR 31102, Sec. 5.1(b)).  The purpose of the policy is to provide guidance regarding faculty development and ensure that faculty are meeting their responsibilities.  As a result, those individuals who have signed the Separation Agreement and Release and accordingly have submitted their resignation effective May 31, 2015, will not  be required to submit evaluation folders for annual review and post-tenure review (if applicable) for AY 2014-15.

 

In response to one of the questions, you indicated that "there will be no layoffs"? So, as UTPA employees, does that mean we are secure in our jobs and can go ahead and buy that new house or new car?

"No layoffs" was used to dispel the notion of a wide-scale layoff and was not intended to make any guarantees regarding continued or future employment from which individual employees might make personal financial decisions.

 

Its still not really clear about the future of the "duplicate programs", for example the ones in computer science. Students enrolling starting fall 2015 will have quite a clear cut plan for their courses etc , but what about the students who graduate starting Fall 2016 ? How will this departmental split be done. Do we have a plan in place for this ? Will students already studying in brownsville be able to access the facilities/attend courses in edinburgh ?

The differences in the same program offered in Brownsville and Edinburg will continue until the last students who began those programs, and chose to continue them, have a reasonable period of time to complete the requirements for completion under those original programs.  New UTRGV students will enroll in the new UTRGV program and no new students will be enrolled under the previous programs.  Eventually, only the UTRGV program will continue under one department offering classes across the Valley.  As in all of UTRGV programs, students will be able to physically and virtually attend classes either or both on campuses or online.

 

Was there a recommendation for a CRNA program at UTRGV when submitted to the UT System Board of Regents?

Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA) program was not on the list submitted to UT System Board of Regents for consideration.  

 

When will they post the programs of study for UTRGV? When can we apply to these programs?

The UT System Board of Regents approved the inventory of UTRGV initial programs  May 15th.  You can see the list at: www.utsystem.edu/sites/utsfiles/sites/project-south-texas/utrgv-program-inventory-5-16-2014.pdf.  By the middle of this coming fall semester, the platform for applying to UTRGV and access information on the programs will be on the web site.

 

Are they considering any opportunities for physical, occupational and speech therapy programs to be offered in the new university?

The work and activities of launching UTRGV for the fall of 2015 must be the primary focus at this time.  Once we are operational, we will begin to explore new programs and the further development of existing ones.  

 

I am a student at The University of Texas at Brownsville. I'm going to apply in the Nursing program (Generic-BSN)on Spring of 2016. I wanted to ask if there would be changes on prerequisites since it's going to be UTRGV next year. Since it's a new school, where do we apply? and how many students are they going to accept in the Nursing Program? I think it would be better if the Nursing Department accepts applications on both regular semesters, so we don't need to wait, especially if we finishes our prerequisites early.

It is too early to provide those details but they should be posted on the website in the early fall of this year.

 

Will new general education course requirements be created for UTRGV? Currently there are courses that UTB requires that UTPA does not, such as P.E. and Speech. How will that effect current students?

In general, students who have begun programs at UTPA or UTB and continue making adequate progress at UTRGV, will be able to complete their original programs and be awarded their degree through UTRGV. They also will have the option of transitioning to the new UTRGV version of their program if they feel it is a benefit to them.

 

I have heard that there is really no plan to have a Doctor of Physical Therapy at the new medical school. Is there a reason behind that?  Because it seems that it a career that has a lot of demand right now.

The start up of UTRGV will for a while require us to focus on other operational matters.  That said, once the medical school and academic departments get organized, made operational, and launch the first semester, attention will turn to exploring new programs. 

 

Can the UT system bring a veterinarian program to the region just like the program at Texas A&M?

Once UTRGV is up and running next year we can begin to explore new program opportunities. That said, there has been no discussion regarding a veterinarian program for UTRGV.

 

How do you all intend to help the Army ROTC Program, ie the Bronc Battalion (is compromised of UTPA and UTB. UTPA is the host school and UTB a satalite school), once both univeristy merge?  Would we be given more opporunities such as: other univeristies let them utilize their buidlings to rappel off from them, some give them their own building where offices and classrooms are together, some give them land to let them build necessary training facilities like obsticel courses or land navigation, some give the ROTC programs a dorm to house all the cadets that need housing and to help develop comradery, some let the cadets enroll in classes the same time atheletes do to give them priority, etc.

It is too early to provide an answer to you at that level of detail.  The work and activities of launching UTRGV for the fall of 2015 must be the primary focus.  Once we are operational, we will begin to explore further development of programs like ROTC.  

 

There has been many questions about a Doctoral program in Physical Therapy, can you please inform us by when we could expect answers. We know that it has been proposed; however, what is next? There are many students interested and it is unbelievable nothing else could be done.

We understand your frustration but this question has been answered.  While the DPT program has been discussed and is under consideration, it is not being recommended to the Board of Regents at this time.  The work and activities of launching UTRGV for the fall of 2015 must be the primary focus.  Once we are operational, we will begin to explore new programs, the DPT one of them.  As a practical reality, however, there cannot be a DPT program opened at UTRGV in the next two years at least.

 

What is the link to the list of academic programs that the University of Texas System submitted for UTRGV and the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board approved? It is supposed to be posted on this website according to a memo we received. I have looked and I cannot find it.

It is on the Future Students page. The direct link to the file is here.

 

I am concerned about the test scores that will be required by utrgv. UTPA requires a minimum of an 18 on the ACT and an 860 on the SAT and UTB has similar requirements. UT Austin's average incoming freshmen scored a 28 on the ACT and an 1859 on the SAT. I feel that UTRGV should have tougher requirements to begin competing with the top schools. This would hopefully keep our top students from leaving to the "better" schools by proving that we're becoming competitive as well.

The UT System Board of Regents has established the admissions standards for UTRGV that require a higher level of college readiness than did those for UTB and UTPA. You can view them at the Future Students Page, direct link here.

 

Will this university be more challenging? A student here I don't feel like I'm being challenged the way I should be. The coursework is too easy.

UTRGV will be highly focused on offering high-quality educational experiences that will challenge and engage students.

 

How will this university compare to UT Austin?

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, student success 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 a particular student.

 

When will UTRGV marketing efforts begin to recruit top-notch prospective students?  We still have no mascot, colors, logo, website, etc. to effectively market the new university.

The fall of 2014 will see a roll out of strategies and programs that will address all these issues.

 

How and when will UTRGV become the "21 century" and research univeristy that it is marketed to be? What evidence is there to prove that this will work and not fail? Will this university finally be at the same level at sister UT institutions? How will UTRGV be compared to UT Austin?

Establishing a new university is going to take some time but the vision for UTRGV will begin to evolve immediately and develop over the next decade. It is difficult to compare two institutions at some future date given that each has a different mission and separate trajectories, but the objective for UTRGV is to achieve national prominence for excellence in its programs, just as UT Austin is considered today.

 

Are revised GED entrance requirements being considered for UTRGV?   The GED was just revamped in January 2014 and is now aligned with the national Common Core Standards.  It now has an identifier as "Honors" that should be indicative of being college ready. I don't beleive UTPA has addressed this change and hope it will be considered along with other admissions criteria for UTRGV.

The UT System Board of Regents has established the admissions requirements for UTRGV. You can view them here.

 

Currently students at UT Brownsville pay a student recreation fee that goes directly to Texas Southmost College (TSC). It was a decision made as the two institutions worked to separate. The students at UT Brownsville have no say in how the building is run, hours of operations, or how their money is being utilized. The building is covered with TSC and images of the scorpion, nothing reflective of UT Brownsville. When UTRGV is established will student fee money still be sent to TSC to operate the REK? Will students at the Brownsville campus have a recreation center they can call their own?

An agreement with TSC will continue to provide access to the TSC REK for UTRGV students once it launches next year.  A masterplan is in early stages to identify facility needs for the university across the Valley and recreational facilities on the Brownsville campus will be part of that plan.

 

How can students participate in the creation of UT-RGV? Are there still working groups or committees students can join?

During this coming fall semester, programs and activities will be starting that will invite students to help launch UTRGV.

 

Its pretty apparent with the new student application acceptance policy that their will be a significant change in how the institution perceives their role in the Rio Grande Valley. UTPA has always went far beyond their responsibility to the RGV community, especially as it pertains to having to reeducate students who cant read, write, add or subtract. I am wondering if the politicians were aware of that when they voted for the new UTRGV?  I don't believe so. Are you ready for the fallout?

UTRGV joins a well-established higher education infrastructure across the Valley which includes two community college districts and a Texas State Technical College. Each has a role.  UTRGV will concentrate on building a high-quality research university.  Students seeking vocational and occupational training, or seeking an academic degree but not ready for university-level work, will be well served at the other Valley colleges.  UTRGV will establish special linking programs to ease the transition from the community college to the university.  Students will have multiple avenues for access.  This is how higher education is designed to work.

 

Why do faculty and staff at UTPA find out news about UT-RGV from the newspaper and are never notified of plans directly from the administration? We learn more from the Monitor and Edinburg Reviedw than our own institution.

The press has the advantage of publishing and broadcasting to its market, thus getting immediate attention to a news story.  However, it most often derives its information from UT System press releases, from quotes taken from statements made by UT System officials at university-based events and from our website information.  These same sources are available to faculty and staff, who may not attend the events or visit the website for the latest postings, and so are not aware of the information until it is published through the public media.

 

In a recent update from Dr. Bailey it was noted that  To begin the process of faculty and staff hiring, we need to fill a few executive positions in academic affairs, compliance, finance and administration, and human resources.  We will post those positions this week.  Where will these positions be posted?

Visit www.utsystem.edu and click on UTRGV CAREERS on the top of the web page.

 

If UTRGV is a separate university with its own faculty/staff and budget, why are UTB and UTPA employees being asked to work on UTRGV projects?  It seems more than a little unfair to ask UTB and UTPA employees to build a new university that they may not work at in the future. Plus isn't this counter to the dream of creating a new culture at UTRGV that I've heard UTS staff speak about during meetings?

When the state legislature passed the law to establish UTRGV, it provided no special funding for starting it up.  The UT System Board of Regents did provide assistance but far more resources were needed. The budget for this, plus the pool of talented employees needed to do the start up launch, resided in the two existing universities.  This was the only practical way to do it.

 

In a July 15 memorandum from Dr. Guy Bailey to the faculty and staff of UTPA and UTB, item 7 states that a few executive positions will be posted this week. Where will these positions be posted so I may examine the postings and consider applying?

Visit www.utsystem.edu and click on UTRGV CAREERS on the top of the web page.

A short note of appreciation for your efforts in trying to answer the questions posed by the staff and faculty. My question is in reference to the University of the 21st century and if that entails bringing the salary level to a level comparable to that of the other components. Many of the UTPA staff members are significantly underpaid, especially in Business Affairs and Athletics. It compromises the ability of some of the departments to secure qualified employees, but even more importantly it conflicts with the whole reason the institution is here, to educate students so they can be obtain a degree and be rewarded with a decent salary.

UTRGV must and will offer salaries that will attract and hold the highest quality talent and capabilities available, so market will be a key factor in salary rates. UTRGV will implement a plan to get a larger share of the state funding formula and  we would use that to address salary disparities with other universities in the state. 

 

What will happen to current UTPA and UTB employees' vacation and sick leave balance?  Will balances transfer if we are rehired?

The same policies that govern state employees moving from one state university to another apply.  Vacation and sick leave balances will transfer with employment.

 

When will the hiring for UTB and UTPA stop? At this point several jobs are posted for both universities and a lot of them would require an individual to receive training or at least acquire a lot of internal knowledge to be able to perform their jobs 100%. Also, some of them state that they will be involved in the development of policies and procedures and mid to long term planning, duties that should not be happening in Brownsville or Edinburg anymore. By posting these positions are we truly getting quality applicants considering that these jobs will only last about one year at this point?

UTB and UTPA are still operating universities and need to continue to provide the services they offer students until UTRGV opens next year.  As such, vacancies need to be filled in critical positions immediately.  It is the nature of a transition such as this one that certain traditional processes, that assume the usual ongoing nature of the enterprise, seem anomalies in the light of the known changes to come.  These will resolve when the transition is completed.

 

The email that went out this week stated there would be a listing of all of the executive positions, however where will these be posted and it is now Friday and nothing is up on the UTPA or UTB site...any idea of when this will actually happen?

You can visit www.utsystem.edu and click on UTRGV CAREERS on the top of the web page.

 

When will UTRGV start hiring staff positions?  And what website will they be posted to?

You can visit www.utsystem.edu and click on UTRGV CAREERS on the top of the web page.  Staff will be hired on a rolling basis, as each function is prepared to be brought live.

 

Given that A LOT of people visit the "Ask a Question" section of the Project South Texas website, will you *please* make changes that would make the Q&A section easier navigate and get the information provided easier to process (Search, sort...etc)?  For example: Make the Q&A's searchable.  Provide the date of when question was asked and the date it was answered. List the questions in chronological order.  Finally, list any unanswered questions (pending answers or otherwise) so that the same questions aren't submitted.

Thank you for your feedback. We are aware of this issue, having recognized that the volume of questions and answers need a better method for convenient access and searching. Thanks for your patience while we work out a solution.

 

How much will Deloitte be paid, and how much have they been paid so far for their consulting on the institutional design and operational efficiencies studies of UT RGV? Why can't this be done in-house with staff already working at UTPA or UTB?

The contract cost for this project is $685,000 and was approved by the UT Board of Regents in fall 2013 as part of UTRGV transition funds. The UT System has already invested approximately $350 million into the Valley and UTRGV over the past three years (2012-2014).  UT System seeks a variety of subject matter expert input whenever it can enhance our capacity to implement leading-edge solutions.

 

Judging from the answers (or lack of) to the majority of the questions, its fairly apparent that little or no thought was put into this transition. A bit sad, especially since it has the potential to impact the lives of many staff, faculty, and students. Is this really true, or when the announcement was made a year or so ago, the system was aware of it, knew the impact but simply did not want to reveal it, choosing instead to hide it with a massive PR campaign?

There is, of course, a public relations and branding component to the UTRGV launch strategy, as with any new entity.  But in addition, hundreds of subject matter experts have been at work thinking about, designing and planning implementation of UTRGV for over a year.  The law establishing UTRGV and closing UTPA and UTB has been known and published across the state publicly for as long. UT System leadership has been straightforward in its expression of intent to build a 21st Century University that is to be a departure from previous designs and has answered over 500 web questions on this web site.  The Chancellor has made regular visits and presented at each Valley campus and  has hosted multiple forums open to all questioners.  

 

It is fairly apparent that the system and regents look at UTPA and UTB as failures, as input into this transition from the staff and faculty of the  respective institutions has been minimal. As this obviously applies to  UTB,   I am wondering why the system can simply identify in bulleted points  what they are trying to change, what they perceive as having failed, instead of this general "University of the 21st century?

UTPA and UTB are being closed and UTRGV is opening for reasons not associated with "failure." Because of Texas law, neither of the older universities could have access to the Permanent University Fund and were at a disadvantage as they confronted onging funding challenges. A single university for the region would have far greater resources to serve the growing population.  Starting a university from "the ground, up" allows for greater flexibility in designing a new kind of higher education institution, taking full advantage of new technology and methods that will provide more and varied programs to prepare students for the 21st Century.

 

UTRGV is supposed to be an university of the 21st century. One would think that it would then have to leverage information technology to compete and meet its mandate. Why wasn't a technology leader appointed to the transition team? Since nearly every department or process uses IT in some capacity it seems like a gross oversight. There is even an officially sanctioned IT committee in place. When will this group be hired? It is only 13 months until UTRGV opens. There isn't enough time to assess vendors, create projects and deploy a unified architecture for UTRGV if plans don't start getting made immediately.

An IT team, made up of leaders from UT System, UTPA, UTB and UTHSCSA and other experts  have already been at work on just those issues for months and are on schedule to develop their plan for implementing IT at UTRGV across the Valley.

 

Why is Bucky the Bronco being allowed to be considered as the new mascot for UTRGV? I thought UTRGV is supposed to be a new institution that will bring together students from the UTPA campus and the UTB campus. By choosing a mascot that currently belongs to one of the universities it would not send a positive message to the students on the campus whose mascot wasn't picked.

Your point is in the discussions about the right choice for the university mascot but no decision has been made. A process has begun that includes input from the public, students and the rest of the university community. Please provide your input by clicking on the survey button on the following website: http://www.utsystem.edu/news/topics/project-south-texas

 

Getting a little concerned that "ask a question" does not seemed to have been refreshed in a couple of weeks.  Should we be?

Not to worry. It was an artifact of summer vacations and resource people out of touch for some of July.

 

A recent response to ask a question included this statement: "All  of the 23 function group leaders are and will be engaged in the transition.   We are also planning an internal communications model that will help ensure the work of these groups is shared at regular intervals."  When can we expect an update on this?  A great start would be to post the 23 groups/leaders & members onto Project South Texas.

UTRGV is in its early stages of standing up as a new university. The UTRGV organizational structure is presently being finalized and will be set into operation later in August.  A regularization of publication of news and other communications will also begin to work in September.  A more detailed schedule for the launch process will be ready for publication later this fall. The Project South Texas website is temporarily serving as the primary platform for information about UTRGV.  The initial launch of the official UTRGV.edu website is slated for September 2014.

 

Where will UTRGV be located? Will it be two campuses or will it be just one ?

UTRGV will have several campuses and instructional facilities across the entire Rio Grande Valley.

 

In Julio's last newsletter he writes of 23 specialized groups that are designing general plans by August 1 of this year.  Is there a plan to share the names of those committee members?

The leadership for the 23 groups has been identified but all the members of the groups needed to complete their assignments have not.  The eventual roster of members will unfold as the groups form and assign work.  There is no plan at this time to publish the membership but there isn't any objection to it.  The August 1 scheduled events have been rescheduled to September 1

 

Has phase I hiring begun?

Job postings will be available beginning in mid-August.  By October 6 UTRGV will announce its initial faculty hires. 

 

Is it true that no sports will be held on the Brownsville campus; if so how does this define what is stated as UT RGV? How can it really be called that they will be centralized in one location?

It has not yet been determined. Considerations are underway to decide what athletic programs may be headquarted on which campus and which that are headquartered elsewhere may play "home games" on the Brownsville campus.

 

Where are jobs going to be posted. I want to apply to CIO position.

Please visit www.utsystem.edu and find UTRGV CAREERS on the top of the page.

 

Who can I get in contact with so a proposal can be brought foward for a Doctoral of Physical Therapy?

For now, requests to offer a new degree program can be made to the president of UTRGV until a provost is named.

 

Are there any plans to propose a B.S. in Biochemistry? If so when do you believe it would be made available?

The UT System has not received a proposal for a B.S. in Biochemistry.  For now, requests to offer a new degree program can be made to the president of UTRGV until a provost is named.

 

During my dual enrollment chemistry course this past fall my class was given a survey asking if we would want a biochemistry program at utpa and how the program would benefit us. Many students were interested including myself so I am a bit disappointed that a biochem program won't be available fall of 2015 at utrgv. I believe it would greatly benefit many future med school students.

Thanks for your advice. It will be passed along.

 

When will UTRGV be getting a football team?

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.

 

Will students currently enrolled in UTPA's concurrent enrollment program have to do another applytexas for UTRGV?

No.

 

I'm enrolling to TSC during this fall semester (2014) in nursing program... I'm planning to get my associates (2 years) in TSC and then transfer to UTRGV on fall 2016 is it going to be possible? Or is it better if I just study one semester at TSC and then transfer to UTB in January 2015?

With your Associates degree, your admission to UTRGV will be greatly simplified. But both plans can get  you to UTRGV.

 

Will there be housing options for UTRGV students?

UTRGV will be taking over all the student housing facilities on the Edinburg and Brownsville campuses and continue to operate them to house UTRGV students.

I am an assistant professor at UTPA who just received recommendation from President Nelson for tenure and promotion to associate professor, effective on September 1 (contingent, of course, upon approval from the Board of Regents). When I fill out my Phase I hiring information this summer, I will still technically be an assistant professor, though(hopefully) for only a couple of months. Do I apply as an assistant professor, or can I apply as an associate professor? If I apply as an assistant professor, will that cause complications when my tenure and promotion become effective in September (that is- if I'm under consideration for UTRGV as an assistant professor, while in the meantime have been promoted at UTPA to associate professor)? Or can I just apply as an associate professor, since the effective date is so close? Thank you. 

The application process has not been finalized; however, it is anticipated that the process will request information about tenure status at the time of application and allow faculty to provide the additional information about their institution’s positive recommendation for tenure.  Further, it is anticipated that UTRGV offers of employment to tenure and tenure track faculty will occur after the start of the 2014-15 academic year.  

 

Do current faculty who have been working at UTPA or UTB for multiple years need to request that HR do a criminal background check in advance of submitting materials in July for a position at UTRGV? Or does that criminal background check get done for all applicants automatically after they submit the materials?

According to UT System policy, all employees must have undergone an appropriate criminal background check before they begin to work at UTRGV.  Some UTB/UTPA faculty hired in Phase I of faculty hiring will may have satisfied this requirement by undergoing recent criminal background checks at their existing institution, but all other persons hired by UTRGV will undergo these checks, which will happen at UTRGV’s expense.  UTRGV will perform these checks as part of the selection process.  

 

Being that UTPA is currently not affiliated with the Worker’s Rights Consortium, the world’s only independent labor monitoring organization, can the ethical standards of the new UTRGV be expected to discontinue contracting with companies whose products and services, are acquired by the unethical treatment of workers and unjust labor practices? Also, since UTRGV will be a public university, what measures will be taken in order to ensure that privatization of services will not be made to undermine the university community by the encroachment of commercial and private sector interests?

We work to make decisions that are in the best interests of our students, faculty and staff.

 

I noticed that UTB has posted a "Development Research Associate".  Part of the job description states "The Development Research Associate will provide comprehensive grant and program evaluation support for the Student Affairs Division. Responsible for researching and identifying potential funding sources, writing, submitting and tracking grant applications to potential local, state and federal agencies; as well as private foundations."  Thus indicating it will have a focus on seeking out grants for that Division.  With UTB no longer existing after August 31, 2015 this position seems unnecessary unless they will be seeking out grants for UTRGV. With timing of grants and the approval process, it seems very unlikely UTB would even be able to receive funding prior to being abolished. Why was the position allowed to post?  Will this position be seeking grants for UTRGV? It seems like a poor use of resources if they will only be seeking funding for a university that will soon not exsist.

This position has been placed on hold and will not be filled at this time.

 

Will current UTB and UTPA retirees who hold emeritus status retain that title with UTRGV?

This issue has not yet been addressed, but President Bailey has said that he is in favor of UTB and UTPA retirees retaining their emeritus status at UTRGV.

 

What will happen to grant funded programs? Would UTRGV need to apply for the grants since the grants are under UTB/UTPA?

No. They should carry over but we will notify the agencies.

 

This question is in reference to the hiring phase known as Phase II for faculty.  Why is this recruiting phase open to external applicants?  On one hand, tenured and tenured-track faculty who meet certain criteria will automatically receive a tenure and tenure-track appointments – sounds fair; but on the other hand, Clinical Faculty and Lecturers have to apply for a position that is also open to external applicants.  Can you please explain the logic behind this process?  Shouldn't the process be similar?  If the Clinical Faculty or Lecturer meets certain criteria, automatically grant such appointment?

It is Board of Regents' policy but we expect most of the faculty hired in Phase 2 will be current faculty.

 

Once the number of program positions have been decided for UTRGV, and if there are more UTPA/UTB faculty than those allocated positions, what process/criteria will be used to determine who is placed in Category I and Category II?  If a faculty member is placed in Category II because there are not enough program positions, what appeal process will be in place to ask for reassessment of the decision?

The hiring processes and guidelines for UTRGV faculty Phase II have not yet been finalized.   Information will be disseminated as soon as it is available.  

 

I read in press coverage of the new UTRGV that department chairs will be decided by the UTRGV administration.  Is this correct?  If so, will these be permanent appointments, or will program faculty be allowed to choose chairs in the future (and when?)?

There are no permanent administrative positions.  Academic structure is currently under consideration now, as are policies and procedures. Department Chairpersons will be appointed with faculty input.

 

Will UTPA faculty, who were tenured without a terminal degree, be eleiglbe for Phase I hiring?  If not, will tenure be granted if hired in phase II hiring.

Please refer to question 45 in the document Hiring of Tenured and Tenure-Track Faculty Members to The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley Frequently Asked Questions dated May 19, 2014.  A recommendation to the Board of Regents to hire a faculty member with tenure who does not hold a terminal degree would only occur unique circumstances.   

 

Will the staff application process for UT RGV first be exclusively for current UTPA and UTB staff, or will it be open to the public? Will all UT RGV positions available be posted before the application process begins?

The hiring processes and guidelines for UTRGV staff members have not yet been finalized.   Information will be disseminated as soon as it is available.  

 

Will UTB and UTPA offer classes in the summer of 2015? If not, please tell students asap so that they can plan accordingly.

Yes UTB and UTPA will offer classes in the summer of 2015.

 

My daughter will be graduating from High School in a couple of years and is very excited about the new learning opportunities that will be available at UTRGV.  She has decided that she either wants to be an international journalist or an ambassador at the United Nations.  She is also thinking about starting her own import-export business.  Like many of her relatives here, she is already ahead of the game in that she speaks, reads, and writes both English and Spanish fluently.  My question concerns UTRGV’s foreign language offerings.  What foreign language programs will be available  at UTRGV that might prepare my daughter for a career at the United Nations?  Will she be able to major in French and/or Chinese like her cousins in the Philippines?  I’ve been informed by political science faculty that UTRGV will have a regional focus (preparing students for local jobs) and will not be preparing students for the global economy.   Is that true?   I’m wondering if my daughter would be better off taking out more student loans to go to Austin instead.   Also, my son is considering a career in medicine but would also like to work for Medecins Sans Frontieres or the International Red Cross.  Will UTRGV be offering a medical French program, so that he may do volunteer work in Africa (Question posed 6/21)? 

UTRGV will be in a continual state of exploring and adding new programs to meet the needs of the Rio Grande Valley, the State of Texas and the nation, as those needs evolve. Foreign language programs will become available over time as the UTRGV administration determines that there is sufficient need, student interest, and available resources.

 

Is there are reason why you haven't answered a number of the questions that have been posted on this site? How would you like it if after working 5, 10 , 15, 20 years for an institution of higher learning and then wake up one day to find that you may be laid off in a year and the only explanation the system has is that they have plans on UTRGV being the "university of the 21st century", which essentially places little or no value on your respective career with the institution,

We apologize for any delays you may experience in receiving answers to posted questions.  From 20 to 50 questions are received each week and these get routed to individuals who can best answer them so this takes some time.  It can be scary to not have all the information about what the new UTRGV will look like, and we promise you that we are doing everything we can to provide faculty, staff, and students with a picture of that by the end of this summer.  Dr. Bailey has frequently stated that there are no plans for a layoff because the unique expertise and skills that exist at both campuses will be critical to the success of UTRGV.  We need your help to dispel the rumor of layoffs as our new University of the 21st Century will need to cultivate and develop the talent that exists today at both campuses in the Valley.  

 

If I am currently employed at UTPA and a similar position opens for UTRGV but I am not chosen for it, will I continue to be employed by UTPA until the university officially closes?

The university will work out an appropriate severance.  Most jobs will continue until the closing university is phased out.

 

I have a difficult time understanding how the new university is going to live up to the hype that has been ongoing for some time now.  I have two points to make regarding this:  1) My department at UTPA is horribly under-staffed.  The staff to faculty ratio is lower than what I have encountered anywhere (two other major universities across 17 years), and this is going to continue to go down if we hire new faculty at the rate that we are approved.  Even simple matters like travel vouchers take several months to get completed.  And ordering supplies and equipment?  It's a painful and lengthy process involving too many approvals, a clunky and impossible-to- efficiently-use ishop, and nobody to help you out in a timely manner. I could go on, but I won’t.   2) All of the chaos that will ensue (or that is already ensuing) with this transition is only going to make the existing chaos worse.   In many ways the cart has been put before the horse and I really hope that incoming President Bailey becomes fully aware of this.

One of the benefits of beginning UTRGV as new is the opportunity to re-think business processes with the objective of implementing improvements to efficiency and effectiveness.  We have engaged the DeLoitte consulting firm to help us design those new processes.  We will begin implementing the new design as soon as the new university is ready to launch.

 

If there is so much uncertainty as to how UTRGV will unfold in terms of organization and staffing, how is it that some departments continue to make large purchases for software, devices etc. not knowing whether they'll be needed? Sounds like wasteful spending or a gamble at best - simply because the money has "already been alocated". Why not instead hold back on major purchases until decsions have been made and also ensure that there will be ebough funds to ensure that everyone will have a paycheck through 8/31/2015 regardless of whether they'll be working at UTRGV 9/1/2015. Morale has been at a free fall - giving staff assurance through 8/31/2015 would stop the freefall and lessen the effects. 

UTB and UTPA are still independent operating universities and must continue to carry out their individual business and academic services functions.  UTRGV is a separate and new institution that is preparing to launch in 2015. The administrations and budgets for these three insititutions are separate from one another.

 

I am a tenured faculty member who has received the voluntary separation offer which I intend to decline.  Does it require a formal letter of notification to the Provost?  In the event of not being re-hired through the reapplication process will it affect retirement benefits?

If a faculty member chooses not to accept the Voluntary Separation Incentive Program (VSIP) no action is required.  A faculty member who does not timely submit the Voluntary Separation Agreement and Release of All Claims is not eligible for the program and no further action is required.  Generally speaking, termination of employment from UTPA or UTB alone should have no impact on the ability of a retirement eligible employee to qualify for retiree benefits under his or her retirement program or the UT System Employees Group Health Insurance Plan.  However, an employee should confer with his/her retirement program, and their Office of Human Resources with respect to the U.T. System Employee Group Health Insurance Plan, since specific age and years of service requirements vary for each individual based on their initial date of employment with UT System, and other factors may also affect eligibility for retiree benefits.  

 

Is a bilingual/bicultural university necessarily focused on teaching English and Spanish language and culture?  What about students who prefer to learn American Sign Language, French, or Chinese, for example?

The biligual/bicultural feature of UTRGV is intended to specifically address and embrace  those special qualities of the Rio Grande Valley and much of Latin America. However, this does not preclude the study of other subject matter or disciplines which students care to pursue.

 

When will the staff hiring policy be finalized? Staff are really concerned about having to reapply for a position and not being guaranteed employment with UTRGV.

The hiring processes and guidelines for UTRGV staff members have not yet been finalized.   Information will be disseminated as soon as it is available.  Staff job postings will begin in early fall and proceed through December, when most positions will have been posted. The order of postings will follow the academic calendar. For example, staff for recruitment and admissions will be posted first because those functions must begin earlier.

 

If staff hiring policies and procedures have not yet been finalized, why are there some department heads conducting themselves as if they're assured employment with UTRGV and commencing their planning?

We don't know why. No department managers have been named and hiring is not expected to begin until autumn 2014.

 

How will the current hiring process handle nepotism/favoritism?  At my campus it seems that nepotism/favoritism has run rampant and nothing is being done to contain it.  In my experience these group(s) of people are more preoccupied with promoting their agenda than working towards fulfilling the University's mission.  This is especially true when they use their Office, Department(s) & Division power to push their agenda.

We are committed to hiring the best people for the positions.

 

Will outside people have the opportunity to apply to occupied or new positions?  Are they going to be advertised?

The hiring processes and guidelines for UTRGV staff members have not yet been finalized.   Information will be disseminated as soon as it is available.  At this time we anticipate that the positions will be posted so anyone can apply.

 

At today's meeting (6/25/14), there seemed to be confusion about phased retirement.  Will faculty accepting voluntary separation be eligible for phased retirement?

A faculty member accepting voluntary separation is not eligible for phased retirement and a faculty member who has already entered into a Phased Retirement Agreement as of May 23, 2014, is not eligible to participate in the Voluntary Separation Incentive Program (VSIP). 

 

Senate Bill 24 states that the UT Board of Regents must facilitate the employment at UT-RGV of as many faculty and staff of UTPA and UTB as is "prudent and practical." Will faculty and staff positions first be posted internally to prioritize the hiring of UTPA and UTB faculty and staff who already live in our community?

The positions will be posted so anyone can apply.  However, we anticipate that the vast majority of staff will be current employees.

 

Will the bar be risen for this new university? More challenging and higher standards than the current universities.

The admissions requirements for graduate programs at UTRGV are intended to provide program admissions committees with sufficient information to make informed decisions regarding (1) the academic readiness of an applicant to do rigorous graduate-level coursework and (2) the best “fit” between an applicant’s professional goals and the objectives of a graduate program.

 

The question was asked numerous time regarding the "University of the 21st Century" and what exactly that mean, but never answered correctly. On June 25 President Bailey and Chancellor Cigarroa answered that question. The answer is simple "PROFIT". My question is, who is receiving those profits? Where is that money going? Is UTRGV going to be competing with University of Phoenix and the rest of the online Universities.

UTRGV will implement a plan to get a larger share of the state funding formula and  we would use that to address salary disparities with other universities in the state. Neither Dr. Bailey nor the Chancellor recall using the word "profit" on June 25th in the context you suggest but we did use the word "competition"; our competition is other non-profit universities.  UTRGV, like the legacy institutions, will be a non-profit institution. 

 

Is there a timeline for when Dr. Bailey will announce his leadership team?

The executive team is expected to be in place in early September.

 

There is a lot of enthusiasm about this concept of a 21st century institution. My question is, what are the general plans/directives for international student recruitment? In particular for Latin America. Are there any plans to specifically target this issue or the general directive is to focus on students from the Rio Grande Valley?

We will serve the Rio Grande Valley first, the state of Texas after that, and the Americas (with a particular focus on Mexico and Latin America) after that.  While plans have yet to be developed, there will be plans to recruit in Latin America.

 

There is already a fair amount of division  between working groups. Some of it stemming from job, turf, and ideology on how to best plan UTRGV related business process and infrastructure.  It is imperative that the executive and management staff be hired soon to assist with managing these groups.  My question is: When these layers of management are hired, who will the respective staff answer too, there current utb/utpa management or UTRGV? 

Administrative structure design is expected to be completed in early August and the executive team in place in early September.

 

During phase I hiring: let's assume dept X need 20 faculty (define by administrator) but total quality/eligible faculty is 30. How the faculty will be cut in this scenario?

In Phase II, UTRGV will evaluate a faculty member’s qualifications for available positions. Refer to Hiring of Tenured and Tenure-Track Faculty Members to The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley Frequently Asked Questions dated May 19, 2014.

http://www.UTSystem.edu © 2014 The University of Texas System.
601 Colorado Street, Austin, Texas 78701-2982. (512)499-4200