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The University of Texas System Board of Regents discussed and took action on several agenda items on November 14 and 15. Highlights of the meeting include:
- The Board authorized the establishment of a scholarship endowment to honor Chancellor Francisco G. Cigarroa. “Each year that Dr. Cigarroa has served as chancellor, the Board of Regents has voted to award him a salary increase. And each year, the chancellor has declined that increase,” said Chairman Gene Powell. “We are honored to have the opportunity to reward Chancellor Cigarroa for his exceptional work in a way that is truly valuable to him.” The scholarship endowment will support students attending the new medical school in South Texas.
- The Regents approved a plan to consolidate the UT System Administration offices, currently located in five antiquated buildings, into one modern, highly efficient office building on property already owned by the UT System in downtown Austin. Cost savings are projected to average between $2 million and $8 million per year over the next three decades. Aggressively seeking savings in operation costs and reinvesting those savings in Texas students is a primary focus of the Framework for Advancing Excellence.
- An amendment of the Regents' Rules and Regulations adding a Milestone Agreement Form between Ph.D. students and their department. Starting Fall 2013, students seeking a Ph.D. at System institutions will sign tailored agreements with their departments that specify when they are expected to graduate and when they are expected to reach required academic milestones. It’s an important step in ensuring doctoral students receive their degrees in an efficient and timely manner. The new agreement promises to enhance academic advising for Ph.D. students and emphasizes a considerable responsibility on advisors to guide students through the program.
- The Regents took an important step to battle alcohol and drug abuse by approving the establishment of Collegiate Recovery Centers at eight of the System’s nine academic institutions. UT Austin is already home to the Center for Students in Recovery (CSR) and is a national leader in the burgeoning collegiate recovery movement and will lead the implementation of the new campus centers. “The Board of Regents has a sincere interest in ensuring the success of its students both in and out of the classroom,” said Steve Hicks, Vice Chairman of the Board of Regents. “We are profoundly grateful to UT Austin and its Center for Students in Recovery for leading an effort to implement more recovery programs across all campuses. And we are incredibly proud of our students who seek support and help when they need it.”
- The Regents created two task forces to study and make recommendations to the board on issues important to system institutions: the Task Force on Best Practices Regarding Affiliated Foundation Relationships and the Joint Engineering Education Task Force. Chairman Powell also asked the chairs of the board’s Facilities Planning and Construction Committee and Academic Affairs Committee to work together to review the design process for facilities. The Regents
want to be sure that new buildings are being designed for classes of the 21st Century and technology needs and changing space requirements are taken into consideration. “It is critical to be sure new academic facilities are built for the future, not the traditional past” Powell said.