Dear U. T. Brownsville Colleagues,
It was wonderful to be in Brownsville earlier this month to spend the day on your incredible campus. An added treat was to see groups of young school children touring the grounds – future UTB students!
Everyone is working incredibly hard, and I cannot express enough gratitude for all that you do to support the mission and students of this fine institution.
President Garcia and her leadership team are actively working on doing what is necessary to successfully establish UTB as a freestanding four-year university. She is a remarkable individual and The University of Texas System is very fortunate to have her leading UTB.
My April 3 visit marked my fourth trip to Brownsville following the announcement of the separation of the U. T. Brownsville and Texas Southmost College partnership.
I spent the day visiting with campus leadership, elected officials, as well as The Brownsville Herald and The Valley Morning Star editorial boards, updating them on the transition process and reaffirming UT System’s commitment to have a first-class, four-year university and first-class community college. The Brownsville Herald article may be viewed online here. I believe the visit went extremely well and look forward to returning to campus in the near future.
This transition is among my top priorities as Chancellor, and I am firmly committed to the UTB community. Along with the members of the transition team, I will work hard to ensure that the transition process moves forward successfully to the benefit of both UTB and TSC. The dissolution of the partnership is a challenging endeavor but no one ever said it would be easy.
Every day matters. It is extremely important to understand why certain dates are essential, as deadlines drive the transition process. The deadlines are determined by a need to ensure that UTB and TSC stay on course to achieve operational separation by August 31, 2013, in order to ensure independent accreditation for TSC by August 31, 2015. My staff prepared a separation timeline and it is available online. The timeline identifies upcoming key dates and activities, culminating in the formal completion of the separation in August 2015. UTB must move forward with its four-year mission with the faculty and programs it needs to give our students the very best education possible.
As you know, faculty committees are currently making tough decisions with regard to reductions in force. We must give our faculty and staff the respect and consideration they deserve so they have ample time to make life decisions. Uncertainty is not good for anyone, and my priority is to the students, faculty and staff of these institutions.
In my February visit with faculty and staff, they requested that we clearly articulate what will be on the horizon, and that we do it in a transparent and respectful manner. It is for these reasons we made the decision to give faculty members who would be affected by the reduction in force one year’s notice, thus allowing those individuals sufficient time to find other employment.
Two dedicated websites – one hosted on the UT System website and the other on the UTB website – were created to chart the progress of U. T. Brownsville’s transition and to offer information about its reconstitution as a comprehensive four-year university within the UT System. I encourage everyone to check the websites in order to stay informed. You will also continue to receive these periodic transition updates, via email, as I pledged to keep everyone informed on our progress.
I am confident the final result of the transition process will be a stronger and even more vibrant U. T. Brownsville with a renewed purpose to serve the higher education needs of a very important region of our great state. We must focus on every day, because each one counts in this transition process, as we strive to make the best long-term decisions for our students.
With great respect,
Francisco G. Cigarroa, M.D.