Project South Texas

Q and A, page 2

Q and A, page 2


Q and A, page 2

Print Friendly PagePrint Friendly PageSend PageSend Page
Curious to know how many medical students will be part of the first Medical School class at UTRGV in 2016?

We expect 50 medical student in the first class in 2016.


Dan Balaguero, who has been the Men's soccer coach at UTB for the past eight years. He started the team at UTB from scratch. It appears UTPA just last week hired a Men's soccer coach. Previously UTPA did not have a team. My understanding is that the coach at UTPA has been promised the job after the two schools merge. This seems to run contrary to some of the information online that has referred to a presumably objective "UTRGV Athletic Committee" to make decision about athletics, which among other items, would consist of staffing. Is there a committee to decide who the Men's coach will be? Dan has served the UT system for eight years and I find it highly probably that an objective thinking group would feel that his loyalty and success within the UT system would make him the frontrunner for the Men's soccer job at UTRGV. The coach hired last week has at best a comparable resume with no ties to the Valley or UT system. In addition, Dan would appear uniquely qualified since he built a team from scratch at one of the merging schools. I understand that there will be many conflicts with the merger due to redundant positions etc, but there was no redundancy for Men's soccer until last week. I'm hoping that the situation has simply slipped through the cracks and still needs to be discussed. I implore you to imagine investing eight years of your life into an institution/career, and having it taken away without cause or reason. Dan is just one person, but it's a life altering decision that I truly believe is being taken lightly. I would like the opportunity to reach out to the UTRGV athletics to bring attention to this.

The Office of Academic Affairs has charged an independent committee to develop and recommend a plan that brings together The University of Texas at Brownsville (UTB) and The University of Texas at Pan American (UTPA) to create a single NCAA Division I-AAA program at The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley. This committee has no authority over personnel decisions at UTPA. With regard to the selection of the men’s head soccer coach at UTPA, it is the policy of the University to not comment on personnel matters or hiring decisions.


Will the new university offer a doctoral program in psychology? Also, will the school of medicine be hiring psychologist as part of their faculty?

A working group has recommended a PhD in clinical Psychology, the programmatic decisions for psychology have not yet been made.  The new dean of the medical school comes onboard in April and will have more detailed information about his plans a little later. We expect to have more detail for you by the end of the summer.


I know that UTB currently has a two-year architecture program. Will UTRGV continue providing this program?

There is no bachelor degree program in Architecture at UTB at this time and no programmatic decisions for a two year program in architecture have been made. We expect to have more detail for you by the end of the summer. However, any student who starts the program at either UTB or UTPA will be able to finish it at UTRGV.


UTRGV is going to have a better ranking in the world than UTPA?

That is both the plan and the expectation. UTRGV will be a larger university with world class programs and this will become evident as it evolves.


If I apply for the University Scholars program in UTB but decide to attend UTPA in Fall of 2014 will UTPA honor the scholarship should I receive it?

No. For this last year of UTB and UTPA, their scholarship programs will remain as they are. However, any scholarship awarded that spans the transition into fall 2015 will be honored by UTRGV.


What Music majors will be offered?

The programmatic decisions for music have not yet been made. We expect to have more detail for you by the end of the summer.


What is the general “plan” for the new university? How will it be organized?

UTRGV will be initially organized much like any single university, with a centralized administration and with many geographically disbursed campuses and instructional sites. The exact structure of the administration, academics, and services will not be known until summer of 2014. With the arrival of the new president, UTRGV can commence a strategic planning process, incorporating the guiding principles, which will have the objective of achieving the vision laid out by the Board of Regents and Chancellor. Being a "21st Century" university, it will employ the latest technology and innovative methods to provide breakthrough programs and services to students from the Rio Grande Valley and the world.


I am wondering if the 2015 Inaugural Class Task Force is a part of the medical school curriculum committee? Who makes up these committees and how are they being formed?

This is in evolution at present and is being done within the Regional Academic Health Center (RAHC) structure with preliminary committees in several areas. The new Dean will further develop these committees as the Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME) process evolves.


When would we know what Medical Degrees would be offered at UTRGV?

The Medical School will offer only the MD degree. Students may well obtain dual degrees e.g. MD/MPH with other schools.


Will there be a new School of Public Health, affiliated with UTRGV? I think we could certainly use one.

The regional School of Public health will be closely involved with the medical school. No new Public health School will be created.


What kind of stats will you be expecting from pre-medical students looking to apply to your medical school? Will you be part of TMDSAS?

It will be part of TMDAS but it is much too early to even consider “stats".


Will students that go to either University's have to change campuses or continue going where there going unless there in the medical field?

For academic year starting fall 2015, most UTRGV students will attend classes on the same campuses they have in the past. In the years to come some programs will be concentrated on a particular campus, especially in cases were a specific lab is available. Many classes, however, will be available from any place with an internet connection. Curriculum design and class scheduling will be arranged to serve students in ways most convenient to them as possible.


Will there be doctoral or MD degrees in Kinesiology?

The only MD degree will be in the Medical School. There are no plans for a doctorate in Kinesiology at this time. 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.


Are there going to be any MD or PHD degrees for Dietetics or nutritional sciences especially because of the problem we have with obesity we need more people in these fields.

The Medical School will offer only the MD degree. There are no present plans for a PhD in Dietetics or nutritional sciences. 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.


Who is planning the new University?

Literally hundreds of people. Under the leadership of the UT System and Special Advisor, faculty, staff, students, administrators, national consultants and thought leaders have for months been collaborating in the designing and planning of the new university. There are three stages: Conceptualization, which is the thinking about and discussion of alternative models, structures, methods; Project Planning, which is the design of the parts of the university based upon what was learned in the first stage; and Implementation, which is bringing up the new university according to the plan. We are presently concluding the Conceptualization stage and entering the Project Planning stage.


How many presidential candidates have applied for the position?

The national search is underway and progressing as expected. A significant number of individuals applied for the position but while it is in progress we cannot disclose any precise details about it.


I am curious as to whether the UTRGV will have to maintain the current agreement we have with STC, which has turned out to be a pretty poor agreement. Notwithstanding the loss in freshman and sophomore enrollments, the cost of having to reeducate the students, as well as having to equate a University of Texas component with a community college has been significant.

The University of Texas greatly values the contribution Community Colleges make to higher education in Texas. In fact, more than half of all graduates from universities in Texas have earned credits in community colleges. UTRGV will work closely with both of the Valley's community colleges, TSTC in Harlingen and the K-12 schools to develop a 21st Century curriculum and student success path that will ensure that students who arrive at UTRGV will be ready to thrive and graduate with an excellent education.


The UTPA has had, over the years, self-esteem issues, more content to recruit south of the border more aggressively than the rest of the State. For example, our efforts in recruiting high school students don't even go as far north as Falfurrias. I am wondering if the new university and the new administration, will understand our geographical significance, strive to be more competitive for American students up north, and forget about Mexico and Central America.

UTRGV, like all of the other UT System institutions will be a world class university open to students from around the world and they will be actively recruited. It has been and still is a reality that cash-strapped families in the Rio Grande Valley have needed local access to higher education, which explains why the student population here is disproportionately Valley residents. As the new university evolves and its reputation grows, more and more students from other regions will enroll at UTRGV.


How will UTRGV compare to UT Austin? I am a student debating to transfer to UT.

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, students 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 you.


Some History majors that attend UTB have been feeling a bit neglected by their current University, would this be the case of attending UTRGV, too?

UTRGV will be offering a program for History majors that will compare favorably with any others in the state but a new feature of student life will be an innovative initiative called "Student Lifecycle Management", a new way to connect the student and the university closely together from recruitment, to enrollment and orientation, to the quality of the student experience, to graduation, and all the life challenges and opportunities in between. We believe this will greatly enhance the university experience for all students.


Hands-on and Minds-on programs, such as the Engineering Technology, currently offered at UTB is incredibly valuable to the valley students in pursuing a successful career in engineering and industry. This is crucial in the light of President Obama, “announced during his [2013] State of the Union address...that he would spend $200 million to create the manufacturing innovation hubs that bring together companies and universities for research and development of products.” Is there any plan to extend the programs that support the goal of creating high paying industry jobs, such the Engineering technology, to other regions of the valley through the emerging UTRGV?

The UTRGV academic program inventory will be approved and published later this summer but is not complete at this time. All students coming from UTPA or UTB and continuing at UTRGV will be able to proceed through and complete their original programs as previously offered at UTB and UTPA. Eventually, all the like programs of the two closing entities will be consolidated into a single program at UTRGV. Over time, new programs that will either replace or build upon present programs will be available to new students at UTRGV.


With a strong emphasis on research at the new UTRGV, it will be necessary to develop Ph.D. programs in multiple departments. This is especially true for the sciences. If this does not occur in tandem with all the other changes, it will be difficult to attract strong research faculty and Ph.D. students. Is this being discussed as an important component of the UTRGV and are various departments being charged with discussing the change?

The academic working groups have made recommendations to develop a number of doctoral programs, both professional and academic. As with all new degree programs, a proposal for any new program would need to be submitted to both the UT System Board of Regents and, if approved, the Coordinating Board for final approval. Among other considerations, a proposal for a new doctoral program would need to provide documented evidence of the unmet need for doctorates in the discipline in terms of job opportunities now and in the foreseeable future.


Will UTRGV medical school offered any animal science in the future(like veterinary tech...)?

There are no plans for animal sciences programs in the medical school.


How can I view the original reports from all the working groups ?

The complete reports of the academic working groups will be posted on the university websites by the end of this week (March 7th). There will be a link or a button to click that will take you to the Project South Texas Academic Programs Working Group Reports. There will also be a separate file with all the executive summaries.


In his latest message to campus, Dr Leon stated: "UTB and UTPA will communicate that existing degree programs will continue to exist, as teach out, for those students who are currently enrolled, particularly looking to Fall 2014 enrollment." What does "teach out" mean in this context? Are specific degree plans going to be eliminated with UTRGV?

“Teach out” means that a student who started a degree program at UTB or UTPA will be able to finish it out at UTRGV. See the answer to the following question addressing the fall 2015 programs at UTRGV for more information on this.


What degrees will be offered at UTRGV? And will there be any programs for any students who are currently attending a university? If so, for what degrees?

When UTRGV begins classes in fall 2015, previous UTB and UTPA students who were enrolled in degree programs at those institutions will be able to complete the requirements of those degrees at UTRGV. There will be three sets of degree programs running simultaneously in 2015 at UTRGV: Those that UTB had offered, those that UTPA had offered, and those that will be consolidated from both UTB and UTPA.


In the last report by Dr Leon he stated, "...the working documents may be modified, and they will be posted on the websites of both UTB and UTPA to allow faculty, staff and students, and the external community to provide additional feedback. This will be followed by a series of Town Hall meetings in March and April at both UTB and UTPA." He was referring to the recommendations made by working groups. My question is How can we view these recommendations and provide feedback? The website is not yet showing them. As a faculty member, I am particularly interested in recommendations made by academic work groups. Will I have to attend a Town Hall meeting, or will I have the opportunity to do so via the website? when?

The complete reports of the academic working groups will be posted on the university websites by the end of this week (March 7th). There will be a link or a box to click that will take you to the Project South Texas Academic Programs Working Group Reports. There will also be a separate file with all the executive summaries. Faculty will be encouraged to submit their feedback through the portal but they can also do so at the Town Hall meetings if they prefer.


With the recent resignation of the Chancellor, coupled with what seems to be a failure on the part of the Edinburg RAHC to even acknowledge they will be officially be a part of the UTRGV, is their any truth to the rumor that the Medical School will ultimately be affiliated with UTHSCSA, and not UTRGV?

The rumor is false. The medical school will be an integral unit of UTRGV.


Is there known Prerequisites for admissions and a MCAT score yet?

Not yet. More information about admissions should be available in the next few months.


For the New UTRGV "Medical School" what new programs will be offered? Doctorate of Physical Therapy, if this is indeed one of the newly added programs where/when will the admission and requirements be posted, please advise.

The medical school will only offer the MD degree. 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.


Will there be a Pharmacy school? or a collaboration of some sort?

No changes in the present Pharmacy program are planned at this time. However, as the academic planning process moves forward, this could be modified in the future. 


As a pre-medical biology student currently at UTPA in the UTPA/Baylor program and graduating spring 2016, how are already established pre-med programs such as JAMP, EMSAP, FASTS, and UTPA/BAYLOR program going to be effected by this merger?

The existing programs will not be affected at all but the new medical school will offer one more option for JAMP students.


Currently, that Regents' Rule 31006, cited in a previous answer, is not being used at UTB for faculty workloads, are we going to use it at UTRGV?

Every UT System academic institution has its unique mission which determines teaching workload. Each institution reports teaching load credits annually to the UT System. UTRGV will do the same once it is established. Those reports will be guided by appropriate Regents' Rule.


Would it be possible to have a Registered Nurse Anesthetist certified program along with the new changes to the new medical school? That is something I really want to pursue after I earn my Bachelor’s degree from UTPA, but the closest certified nurse anesthetist universities are in Fort Worth and Houston. That would be awesome.

The programmatic decisions for nursing have not yet been made.  We expect to have more detail for you by the end of the summer.


UTPA has no record of ever winning any kind of championships in sports or anything else. Whereas UTB has had top national sports programs and has won national titles.  Even the chess teams have been on top at the national level.  Will this consideration be given when decisions are made concerning both sports and chess?

All relevant information will be considered when determining how to implement an NCAA Division I-AAA program at UTRGV.


During the consolidation of the 3 Universities into the new UTRGV, are there plans to privatize functions now performed by University Employees of UTPA, UTB  and/or the RAHC?  How many of the 10,000 jobs, estimated that UTRGV will bring in, will be "created" as a direct result of privatizing existing University functions--and the staff positions associated with these functions? 

The guiding principles specify that UTRGV will: "Streamline academic and administrative programs and re-design processes to increase productivity and promote a student- and service-centered mode of operation." While the design of the operational structure and methods for delivery of key services is underway but not yet concluded, we expect to use whatever approaches and methods available to control costs and enhance quality.


When will we take the name The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley and rid of the names UTPA and UTB?

A strategy for gradually ramping up the UTRGV brand, while retiring those for UTPA and UTB is currently in development and has already begun.  We expect that UTRGV will be the predominant brand by the end of this year.  (UTPA and UTB will still be the official names for the two retiring entities until UTRGV is awarded accreditation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools in June of 2015)

Why weren’t the “guiding principles” ever open to deliberation among faculty?  A few of them dealing with technology may threaten  student learning and college experience (i.e., the likelihood in the Valley that many courses will be large, impersonal and mediated online; while in wealthy colleges, students get small classes with dynamic interaction with faculty).  Most faculty agree that small classes, emphasizing the fundamentals (reading, writing, critical reflection) with hands-on faculty feedback and inspiration are key to student learning.  Most faculty know, of course,  the fiscal realities in Texas Higher Education, yet believe that decisions about technology have pedagogical implications that require mature deliberation—and not, we fear, imposition from above.  Why weren’t the “guiding principles” open to deliberation rather than presumed?  And should those faculty who care deeply about student learning and faculty governance look elsewhere for work than UTRGV?

The Board of Regents seek to establish a new 21st Century University in the Rio Grande Valley and in its envisioning of it identified certain key guiding principles to assist in the process of design. None of us can know how this century will unfold, the challenges it will bring, nor the opportunities that will arise but we do know that independent factors must be addressed. Among these are student demands, market forces, technological change, innovations, societal change, global influences, and other factors not yet revealed or fathomed.  At the start, the platform of UTRGV is the product of present faculty, staff, students, administration, national thought leaders, consultants and talents throughout the UT System.  The new design should preserve the values of traditional higher education while seeking ways to make them continually relevant by adopting the benefits and opportunities of innovation.  What the university will be over this and following centuries will continue to be a response to the work of future students and faculty.


Where is the new Medical School planned to be located?

The first two years will be located on the Edinburg campus; the second two years of medical education will be on the Harlingen campus.


Does UT Austin Athletics have a board?

UT Austin does not have a separate governing board for athletics but does have many councils and committees that help promote and support programs.


Will a campus be built in the mid-valley, i.e. Mercedes, as it is between both Edinburg and Brownsville?

Not at this time. © 2014 The University of Texas System.
601 Colorado Street, Austin, Texas 78701-2982. (512)499-4200