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In the Press
Valley Morning Star
City to weigh in on mascot

September 16, 2014

The Brownsville Herald
Community reacts to UTRGV mascot proposals

August 23, 2014

Valley Morning Star
UT-RGV dean welcomes future med students

August 8, 2014

 

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Updated August 18, 2014

Staff members have received their notification of the incentive program to retire.  I find it interesting that the effective date is May 31, 2015, why is that?  Staff are on 12-month appointments not 9 as faculty.  It seems an odd effective date for staff as there would still be 3 months left in the academic year.  Thank you for the opportunity to ask questions to unsettling news.

Staff are presently employed by UTB and UTPA. While the exact date  of the closure of UTB and UTPA next summer is not yet known, it is anticipated that UTRGV will become officially operational in June and both universities will cease to exist around that date so it will not be possible for anyone to be employed by UTB or UTPA thereafter.

 

When will the last working day be for staff who either reapply and are not hired or for staff who decide not to reapply? Is this information available now at this point?

The exact date is not yet known and may vary by department or function.  We do know, though, that UTPA and UTB will cease to exist next summer and that the last possible day of employment there will likely be sometime in June, july or August.

 

I was just reading over the VSIP for Staff.  Will eligible staff be aware of the UTRGV career opportunities by the required signing date of September 19th?  This information would be very helpful in making an informed career decision.

We understand the wish to know which UTRGV staff positions will be available, and when they will be available.  UTRGV staff hiring will continue on a rolling basis, but most UTRGV staff openings will not have been posted by September 19.

 

If tenured faculty positions are going to be filled in Phase II for a program (due to projected elimination of positions for UTRGV), how will that play out?  If faculty are all tenured, which ones will be cut?  Will Pan Am and UTB faculty be put in the same pool and compared by the same standard--despite the fact that UTB faculty have been working for years in a 4/4 teaching load environment?  A specific response would be appreciated.

UTRGV has concluded that each of its academic units will have enough tenured and tenure-track faculty lines (positions) to hire every existing UTB/UTPA tenured and tenure-track faculty member in Phase I, as long as he/she fulfills the other specific criteria listed in the Phase I policy.  Therefore, we do not anticipate making a direct comparison between UTB and UTPA faculty members in Phase I.

 

If staff hiring is implemented in phases and a staff member accepts a position say in the 1st phase, does acceptance of this job disqualify the employee from applying for other jobs in other phases?

UTRGV staff hiring will continue on a rolling basis, and not in separate phases.  If a staff member accepts a position with UTRGV, we trust and expect that he/she will work in that position.  That said, accepting a UTRGV position will not disqualify the employee from applying for other jobs with UTRGV, just as occupying a position within UTB/UTPA has never disqualified an individual from applying for other openings within his/her university.

 

Is there a deadline during FY15 in which an employee must meet the rule of 80 to qualify for the voluntary separation incentive program ? For Example:  Meet the rule of 80 by April 1, 2015 

As explained in the documents for the staff VSIP, a staff member must meet several criteria to be eligible for the VSIP.  One of those criteria requires him/her to have been employed at a Texas state agency for the last 10 years earning retirement creditable service, and to be at least 65 years of age or meet the Rule of 80.  This criterion, like the other criteria listed in the VSIP documents, must have been met as of July 31, 2014.

 

If a staff member who was offered the Voluntary Separation Agreement due to qualifying as a result of meeting the Rule of 80 (age plus creditable years of service equal to 80)but is under the age of 65, accepted the Voluntary Separation Agreement, would that staff member give up the right of retaining retiree benefits in respect to their health benefits through the U.T. System Employee Group Health Insurance Plan which they would qualify for through regular retirement (i.e. retiring without participating in the Voluntary Separation Agreement)? I understand that staff members who meet the rule of 80 qualify for medical insurance through the U.T. System for life upon regular retirement. Would this benefit of receiving medical insurance for life through the U.T. System be lost as a result of participating in the Voluntary Separation Agreement? 

The VSIP is not a retirement plan, so please consult with your retirement program to determine your eligibility for retiree benefits, if any, and the process for applying for those benefits, including health insurance

 

If I decide to accept the VSIP monies being offered to me by May of 2015, what happens if I have not completed the total 80 points required to  get my full service retirement per month and fall short one to two points?   Is it possible for me to get my full service retirement if I do not touch or pull out my retirement monies and just wait for time to pass by without having to search for a new job or do I qualify for only early age retirement?

The VSIP is not a retirement plan, so please consult with your retirement program to determine your eligibility for retiree benefits, if any.”

 

Have you set a specific August date on which you will issue the first stage invitations or will they be issued in a rolling procedure extending over a period of days?

We are not sure how to interpret this question.  If you are asking about Phase I faculty postings, those will be available online on August 12.  If you are referring to staff positions, those will be available on a rolling basis.

 

Assuming there will be part time positions available after all UTRGV full time hiring is completed; will staff from UTPA & UTB who accepted the VSIP offer be eligible for these positions after May 31, 2015 but prior to June 2016?

No.  By accepting the staff VSIP,  a UTB/UTPA staff member will be ineligible to apply for, seek or accept any position at any UT System institution (except UTB/UTPA) until June 1, 2016.

 

Is it known at this time whether the medical school will have its own set of student services staff for admissions, financial aid, and records?    If so, when would these positions possibly be advertised?

Medical school students will be served by the university-wide student services, financial aid, records and admissions staff. There will be officers from university services that will be dedicated to the medical school. The postings for those will not be available until the winter.

 

What additional funds will UTRGV be getting to help pay for the new staff and faculty salaries?  We keep hearing about PUF funding, but that cannot be used for salaries. 

The University of Texas System Board of Regents has already invested over $300 million in the launch of UTRGV.  The first year's operational funding will come from the Texas legislature, based upon the combined student enrollment of UTPA and UTB since all those students will be automatically admitted to UTRGV.  The university will also be advancing a development strategy that will seek additional funding. 

 

"As in all of UTRGV programs, students will be able to physically and virtually attend classes either or both on campuses or online."  Does this mean classes will be held online as well as taught in person? Does this mean faculty will theoretically have double the number of students in classes, considering this dual-purpose method of teaching? Does that mean there will be fewer teaching positions because of this approach?

In the early years of UTRGV, online courses will follow the present curriculum and delivery method. Eventually, this will evolve as the technology and method for virtual teaching develops both locally and in the world higher education market.  We cannot foresee how these would reduce the demand for high quality, inventive and experienced faculty since with the growth of the technological platform we expect an equal or greater growth in the student population, who may well span the globe and who will have very high expectations for excellence.

 

When will we know if UTRGV will have a Physical therapy program?

There are no plans for a Physical Therapy program at UTRGV at this time.

 

A current UTB student is pursuing Law and Justice Studies (included on the approved list of initial UTRGV programs) with an anticipated graduation date of December 2015.  The current UTB graduation application deadline for Fall is the preceeding March 1.  Please provide guidance on how and when this student should apply for graduation from UTRGV in December 2015.

While the UTRGV calendar has not yet been published, you should follow your UTB calendar for the March 1st date graduation application deadline.  If there is a change in the procedure or schedule, students will be notified.

 

Updated August 8th, 2014

I current am part of the "Willed Body" program that UT has in San Antonio and Galveston areas. I wish to complete the paperwork to change my donation to UT Rio Grande Valley since I live in the RGV area. Please guide me as to who to talk to or what I need to do to accomplish my donation goal.

UTRGV has not yet set up a Willed Body Program. An announcement will be made when the program has been activated. For now you can see a similar program for UTHSCSA at http://uthscsa.edu/csb/bodydonation/index.asp  

 

I am from the valley and i am planning to look for a higher education in Architecture after i finish my associates degree. Why is it that there wont be an architectural program? It is a good program that will help bring more students in besides the fact that the rgv is growing fast.

Thank you for your suggestion. It will be relayed.  Architecture was not among the initial academic degree programs recommended to the Board of Regents because it was not offered at UTB or UTPA.

 

 

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