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.
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?
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.
Where can I view the graduate school programs that the UTRGV College of Education will offer?
In the next few months UTRGV will launch its website that will include an inventory and description of its programs. In the meantime, the Project South Texas website will have news releases that include that kind of information as it is approved by the Board of Regents.
Under the Texas Coordinating Board there is the Border County Doctoral Faculty Education Loan Repayment Program (BCDFELRP). Currently certain UTPA and UTB faculty are eligible for this program, however the number of awards made through the program are (very)limited to three per institution. With UTRGV, will this number decrease from six to three? If so, how will that affect faculty currently participating in the program?
Actually, there is no "3 limit" per institution rule on this program. Each year the total $187,000 state-wide funding of the $5,000 awards is simply divided by the number of institutions who have faculty applying. So, the fewer institutions applying, the larger the number of the $5,000 awards are made to the those applying. Faculty seeking qualified renewals of their assistance do get priority, irrespective of which institution they are applying from. We have requested, and the BCDFELRP have agreed to consider, a request that UTRGV candidates be given priority for the first year of its operation. So there does not appear to be much of a negative effect upon UTRGV faculty compared to previous awards at UTB and UTPA.
Are their significant changes to College of Education degree plans for Graduate students?
Degree plans being followed by students at UTB and UTPA will continue for a reasonable time to allow students to finish their degrees. Degree plans for graduate programs may be adopted by UTRGV later or may be re-designed to meet the needs of students, education, or to adopt to changes in technology, methods and other evolving features of the discipline.
During the recent visit by Chancellor Cigarroa and President Bailey, the attendees were told that the organizational structure would not be finalized until August of this year. Will information about the initial organization be shared on July 14th? Will this affect the transition process for tenured and tenure-track faculty?
The organizational structure will not be finalized by July 15th but this will not affect the transition process for tenured and tenure-track faculty.
Will UTB and UTPA alumni be able to get a new diploma with the UTRGV name and seal depicting their previously earned degree?
No. UTRGV is a different university from UTB and UTPA. Only students graduating after August, 2015 can earn degrees from UTRGV. Former graduates of UTB and UTPA will always be graduates of those institutions and their degrees will always be valid.
When will the calendar for UTRGV be released? We need to know when classes will begin. Also, when can current UTB and UTPA students begin registering for fall 2015 classes at UTRGV. We normally start fall advising and registration in April.
While the calendar for UTRGV has not yet been developed, it will be published at about the same time as previous ones for UTB and UTPA, and well before April 2015.
Who will I contact to get my UTB (or UTPA) transcript after they close and UTRGV opens?
UTRGV will serve as custodian for student records for UTB and UTPA, once they are abolished. Transcripts for credits and degrees earned at UTB and UTPA will be available through UTRGV's Office of the Registrar, though they will be identified as credits and degrees earned at UTB or UTPA, not UTRGV. Transcripts for courses and grades will be titled under the entity that issued the credits. Only students graduating after August, 2015 can earn degrees from UTRGV. Former graduates of UTB and UTPA will always be graduates of those institutions and their degrees will always be valid.
What are the eligibility requirements for the Voluntary Separation Incentive Program?
The requirements are set out below. These are the same requirements that were used for the May, 2014 VSIP for UTB faculty. To be eligible for the VSIP, a faculty member must, as of May 15, 2014:
- be employed at UTPA or UTB with a 100% appointment;
- be a UTPA or UTB tenured faculty member;
- have been employed at UTPA or UTB for the preceding ten (10) years earning retirement creditable service; and be at least 65 years of age or meet the Rule of 80 (age plus creditable years of service with a Texas state agency equal to 80);
[NOTE: Meeting these age and service requirements is not a guarantee of eligibility for retirement benefits under the Texas Retirement System (TRS), the Optional Retirement Program (ORP) or health and other insurance benefits under the UT System Group Employee Insurance Program as a retiree.]
AND, as of May 23, 2014, have not:
- already entered into a phased retirement program or been on a modified part-time faculty appointment;
- previously retired from any State of Texas retirement system or program; or
- submitted a notice of resignation or retirement.
We recently heard that the UT System will require potential graduate students at UTRGV will be required to take the GRE, a $150 exam, that has no predictive value except for predicting first semester grades. Given the poverty level here, faculty in many departments eliminated this requirement years ago. Is this just a rumor or is this truly a mandate of the UT System?
Admissions requirements for all graduate programs will be considered at the next meeting of the UT System Board of Regents.
With so many campus shootings happening at universities throughout our country and this being the first ever UTRGV which will spread out over multiple cities is a concern to me. Will all faculty, staff, students and any visitors have protection 24 hours a day on all the campus sites? I have seen police officers, their supervisors and chief(s) of police all leave in a short amount of time for what seems to be for better pay. Will efforts be made to pay officers a competitive salary so that they may stay? Will they have all tools and resources in the event of the worst? Or will the UTRGV look to contract with larger city, county or federal departments who pay more and have more resources?
Yes, UT System Police of the new UTRGV will continue to provide police services 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at the campuses. Regarding pay levels, there is a market analysis of all positions that is being performed by the UT System. This will assist the new UTRGV Police Department help determine competitive pay with a larger area of responsibility. The current operations at UT Brownsville and UT Pan American are fully capable to respond to most critical incidents on campus and is augmented by UT a regional response force that can assist any campus in the RGV in an emergency situation. On a critical incident or a major event, outside agencies can be added to assist. UT System Police are also equipped with the latest crime suppression tools and resources for enforcement and investigation. From providing additional detectives for a major case response to sharing specialized equipment at an event, the UT System Police is fully capable and equipped to conduct almost any policing function system wide.
When will the schools officially become UTRGV? When will the first graduating class be?
When the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) meets in June 2015, it is expected to grant UTRGV accreditation and immediately thereafter the UT System Board of Regents will officially open UTRGV.
Is there plans for an Emergency Medicine Residency program to be created and offered for the first class of the UTRGV School of Medicine?
The medical school is interested in adding an Emergency Medicine Residency program and expects to begin planning soon.
While UT-RGV and all its advantages discussed and announced sounds great, but the reality is that there needs to be much more investment in providing faculty travel money for presenting scientific papers (this has been reduced every year), merit raises (only a single merit raise has been available from 2009-2014, and we receive no confirmations whether they are offered), a standardized promotional raise (assistant professors are left in the dark regarding the amount to be offered), lack of moving expenses for new faculty, reduction of money available for office supplies, and many more problems. Are we to believe that these problems and others will really be solved just with a "new" name?
You are right that a great university must compete to offer the support and incentives needed to attract and retain the highest quality faculty. UTRGV intends to become a great, new university.
When will the admission standards for UTRGV be determined and what will they be?
President Bailey will be presenting proposed admissions standards for first-time freshmen and transfer students at the July Board of Regents meeting. We plan to have the UTRGV admissions application available for prospective applicants in September through Apply Texas, the Texas common application. We will host meetings about these criteria at each of the campuses later this month and will publish the criteria upon BOR approval.
How is UT-RGV expecting to overcome housing and transportation between both campus? Even Though it has been said that it might going to be possible to take classes at both campuses for some majors, is there any planning to facilitate to take classes with both faculties at both campuses?
UTRGV, having multiple campuses across the region, will use this valuable resource to best serve its students. Planning is underway to use physical transportation, virtual capacity, responsive class scheduling and any other innovations available to make accessing excellent UTRGV programs convenient for students across the Valley.
When will the new colors be decided? Will it be before choosing a mascot? What if a mascot is decided, and it doesn't match the color scheme that is initially chosen?
A process will be developed to solicit input from students and other key stakeholders on the to the new university colors and mascot. This will likely occur in late 2014.
The Brownsville Herald reported that TSC was having trouble with their separate accreditation. What happens to the UT RGV Fall 2015 timeline under the worst case scenario if TSC doesn’t get separate accreditation from UTB in time? Is there a Plan B? Can we merge without TSC getting their own accreditation?
UT System and TSC officials have worked out back-up plans with SACS to ensure that both TSC and UTRGV are accredited by SACS, even in the unlikely event there is any delay in the planned schedule now in place.
What is phase one and how does it affect full tenured faculty? If a faculty member does not accept the voluntary separation could they be separated involuntarily?
Phase I is the faculty hiring that will occur pursuant to the policy Hiring of Tenured and Tenure-Track Faculty Members to The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley . If a tenured faculty member is eligible for the voluntary separation incentive package, but does not timely enter into the agreement, he/she may proceed to the Phase I faculty hiring process for UTRGV. Please refer to the Frequently Asked Questions that were issued May 19th along with the policy. As stated in FAQ Question 18, if you do not fulfill the criteria in Phase I or secure a position in Phase II you may not be offered a tenured or tenure-track position at UTRGV.
How much longer will Special Advisor (Julio Leon) remain in his position?
Dr. Leon, the Special Advisor, will conclude his assignment on July 31, 2014. We have been very fortunate to have his excellent leadership and advice during this last year.
Previous responses to questions note "a great majority" of UTPA and UTB faculty and staff will be offered a position with UTRGV. We can interpret this as saying that UT System acknowledges a portion will not be retained. Will there be an advanced notice to employees who are not retained that they will be terminated? When will that notice be given (specifically the length of time between the delivery of the notice and the termination date)? Will those employees be offered a severance package?
The organizational structure and staffing needs of UTRGV are currently being developed. Since this plan has not been finalized, the best answer that can be provided at this time is that it is anticipated that a great majority of UTPA and UTB staff will be offered a position at UTRGV. UTRGV will strive to create a hiring process that will provide as much advance written notice as possible to any employee who is not selected for a UTRGV job for which the employee applies. Currently, there is no plan to offer a separation program for such employees.
Would staff be offered early retirement incentives? if yes, when will be offered?
This issue is currently under review.
I am tenured, full time faculty ranked as Associate Master Technical. If I apply in the Phase 2 and I am hired (because I have an outstanding teaching record), will I keep my tenure? Will my eligibility for entering the UT Employees Health Insurance be preserved when I retire at age 67? If not, please explain.
As to your question regarding tenure, please refer to the answers in FAQ Questions 33 and 34 that were issued May 19th along with the policy Hiring of Tenured and Tenure-Track Faculty Members to The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley . Please bear in mind that UTRGV will not know which positions will be available in Phase II until the first phase is complete. With regard to eligibility for retirement health insurance, an employee who transfers from a benefits eligible position at one UT System institution to a benefits eligible position at another UT System institution is permitted to transfer all of his or her prior creditable service with him or her to the new position. Generally speaking, this means that if you leave your current UT institution and are hired at UTRGV, it should have no impact on your eligibility to qualify for benefits under the UT System Employees Group Health Insurance Plan as a retiree. However, 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, you should check with your employing institution to determine the specific requirements you would need to meet in order to qualify for UT System Employees Group Health Insurance Plan as a retiree once you reach the age of 67.
I am a tenured faculty member who has received the voluntary separation offer. I am inclined to accept the offer but I have several questions about my status during my 2014-2015 teaching year. I found point #8 somewhat confusing. Can I file a charge with EEOC but not recover damages? Does this clause preclude me from Workers Comp coverage?
As stated in paragraph 13, an employee considering executing the Voluntary Separation Agreement and Release of All Claims is advised to consult with an attorney before executing the Agreement.
The recent Q&A posed regarding the process of establishing an objective hiring process managed by UT-System HR department. It also referenced the Transition teams involved in visioning. My question is regarding the lack of Information Technology involvement in any of the process or transition team. How can the new "UTRGV" state there will be a rich technological learning environment when IT is not represented on the transition team? Why was IT not represented? IT from both institutions have not been allowed to work towards a unified Architecture for IT infrastructure. There are many network, hardware(250), data center(3), servers (600+) and applications (100+) that need to integrated, that is a very complicated and deep technical challenge that will tech many months to work through. It appears IT input is nonexistent, and we will be losing our jobs? Are these high paying jobs going to just Faculty, Executives, and Doctors? Will the medical school completely pull away from there aprons string tied back to UTSA? If so, then why has IT not been involved in working with new Buildings medical systems going up or transition teams for the Medical school? I truly believe that the new university is a good thing for RGV. If IT is largely outsourced from the RGV area, it will be a serious disservices to RGV residents. There already a lot of IT staff considering employment out of the valley as a result of lack of information. Talented IT residents of the RGV are just as important to the local infrastructure as the new Doctors and Medical school. Thank you for allowing us to voice our concerns and questions.
The members of the Transition Team you are referring to are the initial members. IT is one of the 23 key function groups under the Project Management plan and has already begun its work planning for the transition of IT at UTRGV. Representatives from UTS, UTPA, UTB and UTHSCSA are all cooperating in the development of the implementation plan. 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 will we officially start using the name UTRGV? Such as websites, publications, email address, etc.
UTRGV is presently developing a communications plan and timeline for launching its new name and brand that will set dates for the transitional steps, such as the use of the UTRGV name, launch of the website, publications and new email addresses. The website will launch in September.
I have a child currently participating in concurrent enrollment program with UTPA. He is currently considering UTPA, soon to be UTRGV when he begins his freshman year. If he is applying for the presidential scholarship that requires classes from UTPA, will the scholarship still be available under UTRGV for academic year 2015? He will be applying as a senior this fall for UTRGV this fall 2014.
UTRGV will continue to offer scholarships to aggressively recruit top students and we intend to maintain the successful scholarship programs that are offered by UTPA and UTB now until we roll out our new array of student support programs and services. (Our new Student Lifecycle Management program will provide much more support than scholarships) More details about these and new scholarship opportunities will be announced soon.
Since UTRGV purports to be a bilingual and bicultural institution, will UTB and UTPA tenured faculty with terminal degrees in the disciplines they teach, who are also bilingual an bicultural, have priority consideration for appointment to the faculty of UTRGV?
Please refer to the policy Hiring of Tenured and Tenure-Track Faculty Members to The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley  and the Frequently Asked Questions that were issued along with that policy regarding the faculty hiring processes.
According to the Voluntary Separation Incentive Program (VSIP) Information EXHIBIT A: To be eligible for the VSIP, a faculty member must, as of May 15,2014: “have been employed at UTPA for the preceding ten (10) years earning retirement creditable service; and be at least 65 years of age or meet the Rule of 80 (age plus creditable years of service with a Texas state agency equal to 80).” I am a tenured faculty member (over 65) who will be completing 10 academic years of service May 31, 2014. Standard faculty contracts at UTPA end on May 31st even though the semester usually ends around May 9th. Therefore, my contractual duties have been completed as of May 15th, however my full year of service will not be applied till May 31st. Can an exception me made in this scenario so I can qualify for the VSIP
Although exceptions to the VSIP criteria may not be made, the phrase earning retirement creditable service has a distinct meaning. Thus, if you did not receive a voluntary separation package and believe that you may be eligible, please discuss this with your institution’s Office of Human Resources.
I think, based on the questions, you can tell that their a lot of persons concerned about their respective jobs. One of the things Dr, Nelson was adamant about was being transparent , however the only thing that is transparent is how this is all materializing as it goes along. Or is it? The rumor going around is the reason we need interim presidents is so that the new presidents don’t end up ending up on a bad note by laying everyone off, and that the new presidents start off on a bad note by laying people off. Any truth to that ?Why do we need interim presidents?
Thanks for bringing this rumor to our attention. It is not true. There are no layoffs planned. As Dr. Garcia and Dr. Nelsen will be fully engaged in their new roles by this fall, UTB and UTPA will still need presidential leadership until UTRGV achieves its accreditation and/or UTB and UTPA are abolished. In fact, this level of leadership is required by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACSCOC), the main accrediting entity for universities in the south. While President Bailey and his transition team are focused on launching UTRGV, they will work closely with these interim presidents to ensure our students remain our top priority at the current campuses. We expect to share more details about these interim presidents this week.
The question has been asked, "we will need to reapply for the position we currently hold" and has been answered with, "staff who want to work at UTRGV will have to go through a hiring process, though we anticipate that the great majority of UTB and UTPA employees will be offered positions at UTRGV." I was wondering if hiring process meant interviews will be done or will some be able to apply and be offered the position or will all staff positions need to go through an interview committee process?
A staff hiring policy and procedures have not yet been finalized.
When do you think the first medical school class will start/ What year?
The current plan is to matriculate our first medical school class in the summer of 2016. The accreditation process has begun and we expect approval for recruitment to occur in the spring of 2015.
Will the academic articulation agreements with other colleges and universities stay in place?
UTRGV will honor the articulation agreements with other colleges and universities while it works to adopt its own. Meetings with our primary two year partners (STC, TSC, and TSTC) are already underway to ensure that students can transfer seamlessly from these campuses to UTRGV.
Hi, my question is in reference to staff positions, specifically Assistant Directors and Directors or even higher positions. As an Institution of Higher Education, shouldn't we stress the importance of attaining a Bachelors and even a Masters or Doctoral degree? My point is that there are employees without a college degree or a Master's degree holding these positions - what message are we sending to our students? Are these positions going to be evaluated to ensure that the minimum educational requirements are met?
A staff hiring policy and procedures have not yet been finalized. However, it is anticipated that positions will be reviewed and considering the position job functions, the appropriate degree(s) and experience will be required.
It is pretty evident , judging by the questions, that the UTPA community have absolutely no idea on what is going to happen in the transition to the new University. My question is ..where is the Chancellor or the President? Both promised transparency, and were their at the beginning praising the new University, however, we have been left completely in the dark, primarily in respect to their employment. It appears that now as this merger unfolds, and it not being such an attractive scenario, that they are choosing to hide in the shadows.
The Chancellor has made many public appearances and participated in open forums fielding questions all across the Valley. This website has published over 400 answers to anonymously posed questions and posted many reports and press releases that have described what the new university will be, as each key decision has been made. The development of the university is complex and requires much research. The implementation plan is not complete and so there will be many more questions, which will be answered as decisions are made and UTRGV begins to take form. We certainly understand how this great change is unsettling to employees and students and we will continue to keep everyone informed as decisions are made and the plan is finalized. You can attend the next event on Wednesday, June 25th. Chancellor Francisco G. Cigarroa, M.D. invites the faculty, staff and students to join him and UTRGV President Guy Bailey for an update on the transition process as we prepare to launch UT Rio Grande Valley in August 2015. Chancellor Cigarroa and President Bailey will host a forum at 10 a.m. in UTPA’s Student Union Auditorium on Wednesday, June 25, and in the Gran Salon of the UTB Student Union Building from 1:30-2:30 p.m. The events will be streamed live on the web and can be viewed at www.utpa.edu  and www.utb.edu .
Currently all salaries for all three campuses are different. Once a pay plan is completed would the positions minimum pay be lowered? brought up to the current highest from UTB, UTPA or UTHSCSA? Will the UTRGV pay plans be available to view once completed?
Salaries at UTRGV will be market competitive and negotiated between UTRGV and individual job candidates.
AS previously stated, there is much promise for more majors to be offered as a result of the new school. Is there a really good chance that a B.S. in Biochemistry will be offered immediately once the school opens?
A B.S. in Biochemistry was not proposed and is not among the initial UTRGV programs submitted for consideration for approval by the Board of Regents and so will not be offered by UTRGV in the fall 2015 semester.
When should faculty/departments begin referring to themselves as UTRGV? For example, if a peer-reviewed publication is expected to appear in print in 2015, what should we list as our institution?
UTRGV is presently developing a communications plan and timeline for launching its new name and brand that will set dates for the transitional steps, such as the use of the UTRGV name. For now, only UTB and UTPA are the operating universities so these should be listed as your institution for now, regardless of potential publication date.
I heard there were plans to "promote" the new name, but I don't know the role of faculty in doing this. When do you want the UTRGV name to be used in research or public speaking appearances? For faculty, if a publication is expected to be printed after Summer 2015, which institution should we list as our affiliation?
UTRGV is presently developing a communications plan and timeline that will include the conventions to use for UTRGV. Until UTRGV is made officially a university, expected in the summer of 2015, the operating entities that can have the affiliation are UTB and UTPA.
Will there be a dental program for people pursuing dentistry? DDS or DMD? Doctor of Dental Surgery or Doctor of Medical Dentistry?
There are no plans for a program in dentistry at this time.
Will the new medical school have a Doctoral of Physical Therapy?
The medical school will offer only the MD. However, 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.
Have interim presidents been selected for UTPA and UTB?
Chancellor Cigarroa and President Bailey plan to visit UTB and UTPA on June 25th and address questions regarding administrative leadership during the transition year at that time.
When did Deloitte begin consulting on the mission, structure, and programs of UT RGV? Why is a private, multi-national corporation consulting on what seems to be every aspect of the blueprinting and execution planning of what is supposed to be a public university? When did Deloitte begin the institutional design and operational efficiencies study?
Deloitte began work on the institutional design project in the last few weeks, under the direction of UT System leadership, UTRGV President Bailey, and members of the UTRGV Transition Team, comprised of leadership from UTB and UTPA. The project will be finished by early August. Public universities, much like other types of organizations, regularly employ consultants from private industry who maintain expertise in a needed specialty or field of work. Deloitte has an extensive background in higher education, particularly related to helping organizations think through new structures, processes, and technology. A key aspect and charge of the Deloitte’s work is incorporating information and recommendations from the 40+ working group reports that were developed through thousands of hours of discussion by UTB/UTPA faculty, staff, and students during the Fall 2013/Spring 2014. The strategic planning and blueprinting phase of the planning process will be collaborative and involve all key stakeholders over the next 12 months.
Can you make a Social Media page ie. Facebook, to answer these questions? It would allow for people to give additional feedback on specific questions asked.
We are presently exploring other ways to organize the information from the web questions and answers that is a better fit for our need to have time to research questions for the best accurate answers, posted as quickly as possible. This usually takes a few days. Real time conversational exchanges are a little more challenging but we are exploring the use of social media for this purpose so stay tuned.
"it is anticipated that the majority of UTPA and UTB faculty and staff will be offered employment at UTRGV" - a majority as in 'more than half' or 'nearly all'?
The organization design has not been completed so we do not have a precise enough number to fine tune this answer. However, we do know that the new institution will have one academic and one administrative structure that will cover the entire Valley and that a key guiding principle for UTRGV is to become one of the largest and most successful Hispanic-serving Institutions in the country. These two forces will reduce the need for some positions but at the same time produce new positions focused on increasing student success, research productivity, community impact, and medical education. Thus, the overall impact is hard to determine without a clearer understanding of the new organizational structure. However, what is clear is that as an “anchor” or “community engaged” institution in the region, UTRGV will be a leader in fostering economic development, community and global partnerships, and job growth that will drive improvements in the quality of life and standard of living for all citizens of the Valley.
Will Phase 1 be over before July 7th? Without the specifics of Phase 2, tenured faculty without terminal degrees must decide to take the Voluntary Separation Package without complete information. Can't that situation be remedied?
Phase I hiring will not be completed by July 7th. Faculty considering the VSIP will have to make their decision based on the information available during the VSIP review period.
Once I apply for the position I hold now, will there be a guarantee that I will be offered the position?
No. While it is anticipated that the majority of UTPA and UTB faculty and staff will be offered employment at UTRGV, UTRGV cannot guarantee employment.
If an eligible faculty member accepts the Voluntary Separation Agreement, but becomes unable to perform his/her duties for the 2014-2015 appointment due to a medical disability, does the faculty member forfeit the payment? Paragraph 114 suggests "yes."
Pursuant to the VSIP program and Agreement, if the individual is not on the payroll through May 31, 2015 he/she is not eligible for the Voluntary Incentive Payment; however, a faculty member may be eligible to remain on the payroll by utilizing available leave entitlements.
I am getting close to retirement from UTPA, but do not know what will be happening before the university changes it's name to UTRGV in Sept. 2015. I am suppose to retire by June 2016, if I do not buy one year of service per TRS in Austin, TX and by Dec. 2015, if I do. Also, I am getting close to 400 hours of vacation time to buy another year of service by retirement to reach my 80 points; what do you recommend that I do? I would appreciate someone's information or help.
The University cannot advise individual employees regarding their retirement decisions. An individual may consult with their retirement provider and with their institution’s Office of Human Resources about available retirement options; however, UT Offices of Human Resources may only provide information about options and do not provide advice about an individual’s decision regarding whether to purchase retirement time
I am a tenured faculty member who has received the voluntary separation offer. I am inclined to accept the offer but I have several questions about my status during my 2014-2015 teaching year. Will I still have all my academic freedom safeguards? Will I have access to the faculty grievance process?
Faculty employed during the 2014-2015 academic year pursuant to the VSIP will be subject to the UT System Regents’ Rules and Regulations and their institution’s Handbook of Operating Procedures. Those policies and procedures, including those relating to the rights and responsibilities of faculty and the faculty grievance policy, will be applicable to faculty during that academic year.
Does accepting the voluntary separation agreement mean that the last year's salary must be paid over 9 months instead of 12?
Yes. Faculty who enter into the Voluntary Separation Agreement will be paid their 2014-2015 salary over the nine month academic year.
As time goes on this list of questions expands (as of June 13 it is 6 websites and 71 pages copied to Word.) I strongly encourage you to include the date answered with each question. I also suggest you post a calendar when things will be / were determined. Finally, I suggest you also develop and continually update a FAQ for the most commonly asked questions about such topics as student transition, transcripts, degrees, administration and organization, and faculty and staff transitions.
We have recognized that the rise in the number of answers sought has strained our approach and a few weeks ago began to explore ways to make finding a particular answer easier. (We had more than 70 questions last week alone) Thank you for your ideas; they will be taken into mix of solutions. Expect to see a revamped approach to addressing questions and answers very soon.
I would like to know how the merge will affect students currently attending utb and utpa. Will it change their degree plans and make It harder to finish, such as the split between utb tsc?
Students currently enrolled at UTPA and UTB, following a degree plan from those institutions, will be able to finish those same degree plans at UTRGV.
I would like to know if Dr. Bailey supports the TRIO Programs?
Yes, Dr. Bailey supports the TRIO programs.
Hello, I am a Veteran that is a current student at Pan Am. When the new University gets started will military credit count for more than just 4 Kinesiology credits? Those 4 credits really do not do most veterans any good in the long run. Many of us have credits that could easily be applied to our degrees from our technical schools and training allowing us to finish faster and never using our GI Bills for master's level work instead of using it up completely for undergraduate work. Will there be a plan in place that addresses this deficiency in new university and encourage more Veterans to attend? Thank you.
Thank you for your advice and observations. UTRGV is committed to serving our veterans and will be working with our students to develop the most useful and convenient ways to meet their particular needs. A veterans liaison to focus on veterans needs will be part of the UTRGV administrative structure.
Will Guy Bailey be meeting with the faculty at the beginning of the semester in 2014?
President Bailey will arrive and begin work onsite in the Valley after June 15th. The schedule for his meetings has not yet been created. Faculty meetings will certainly be held and the dates and times will be published through the usual campus communications media.
I want to know what is going to happen with the staff currently working under Federal grants, specially those with ED. Do we have to reapply? Additionally, how will staff be able to meet grant objectives if there will be an interruption on services? Interruption of services could mean not meeting grant objectives and therefore putting future funding in jeopardy.
A staff hiring policy has not yet been finalized. It is anticipated that all staff, including staff on grant funding, will be required to reapply. The transition implementation process will have a plan for as seamless a continuation of services as possible.
What does the future for the music programs in UTPA and UTB like??? Both schools are becoming nationally recognized groups of bands in both schools have already performed at Texas Music Education Association; which is the largest music convention in the United States and my concerns of music being one of the programs, "phases out" and where the valley is known for its music programs it only makes sense to keep it. It's a gold mine. So my question will the music program be cut off? If not where will it be located? Brownsville or Edinburg? I need an answer not a statement that goes around the question please.
The UTRGV music programs have already been approved by the Board of Regents and will be offered when it commences its first classes in the fall 2015 semester. Where the particular classes will be located will be known by the end of January 2015, if not sooner, as a function of class scheduling.
When will people find out how the schools will work, such as which majors go where once the schools are merged.
The project schedule indicates that this information will be known by fall 2014.
Will there finally be College Football team in the RGV?
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.
Can you provide more information regarding the 22 Function Groups preparing for the operational launch of UT RGV? What are the names of these groups and what are they working on? Is this information publicly available?
Because of the volume of information, details about the now 23 Function Groups will be found in the upcoming Special Advisor’s Newsletter, available on this website.
As recently as today I have read that UTRGVs headquarters (where ever it is located) will house about 100 employees. Can you elaborate what departments/functions will be staffed at the headquarters?
This has not yet been determined. Consultants and Project Management Groups are presently in the early stages of the organizational design of UTRGV. Once the organizational structure is known, how it will be deployed will be worked out and this will inform the programming of the headquarters.
Is it true we will need to reapply for the position we currently on hold and submit a resume? Please advice.
It is true that UTB and UTPA staff who want to work at UTRGV will have to go through a hiring process, though we anticipate that the great majority of UTB and UTPA employees will be offered positions at UTRGV.
How does the staff and faculty of RAHC fit into UTRGV? We have seen much written about the process for hiring tenured and tenure-track faculty for UTB and UTPA and precise hiring needs for staff are being developed for these two entities, but no mention of RAHC staff and faculty.
The hiring processes and guidelines for clinical faculty and staff of The University of Texas Health Sciences Center San Antonio (UTHSCSA) have not yet been finalized. It does take time to develop processes that facilitate the employment of as many faculty members and staff from the current institutions as is prudent and practical. However, we assure all staff and faculty members at the RAHC that information will be disseminated as soon as it is available.
The process for transitioning tenure and tenure track faculty has been made public but no information has been released for the process for clinical track faculty. Many of the programs in the Health Sciences depend heavily on these individuals. When will nontenured faculty find out about the possibility of transitioning to the UT-RGV and what is the timeline. This information is critical to maintaining the accreditation of these programs.
The hiring processes and guidelines for clinical faculty have not yet been finalized. It does take time to develop processes that facilitate the employment of as many clinical faculty members from the current institutions as is prudent and practical. However, we assure all clinical faculty members that information will be disseminated as soon as it is available.
The presidents of UTPA and UTB will vacate their positions on August 31, 2014. Does this indicate that Dr. Bailey (UTRGV) will be assuming the duties of president for both institutions at that time? What about Provosts, VPs, Assistant VPs, Deans and Directors? By when will UT System/UTRGV make decisions about their higher administrative organizational structure?
The new UTRGV administration is expected to be formed within the next few months. Until UTRGV is ready to assume all operations, interim presidents will be responsible for UTB and UTPA and will likely be announced in the next month or so.
Will there be more degree majors at UTRGV than what's currently at UTB?
More degree programs will be available at UTRGV than at either UT Brownsville or UT Pan American alone.
What is going to happen to the TRIO programs at UTB and UTPA? Since both entities have grants the staff will be also rehired or the grants will be eliminated.
UTRGV will participate in the Federal TRIO programs. Decisions about how to use the resources for such programs now at UTB and UTPA have not been made.