Project South Texas

Q and A, page 4

Q and A, page 4

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Q and A, page 4

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Which documents should be submitted during online application for tenure/tenure track faculty position at UTRGV by UTPA/UTB faculty eligible for hire in Phase I?

This has not yet been finalized, but the online application will likely require interested faculty to grant UTRGV access to the faculty member’s current personnel file; list his/her academic rank, tenure status, college/school and academic department; indicate whether he/she have been issued written discipline in the past seven years by UTB or UTPA; indicate whether he/she is currently under investigation by UTB or UTPA for any allegations; list the date of his/her most recent criminal background check by UTB or UTPA; and submit a current CV.

 

How about dual career policy?

If the question means “What about dual employment policy?”, the actual UTRGV policy has not yet been created. However, UTRGV is likely to permit its employees to engage in outside employment according to policy similar at other UT System universities, with appropriate approvals.

 

"One of the goals for UTRGV is to produce graduates who are bi-cultural, bi-lingual, and bi-literate". Does this mean that bilingual faculty and staff will get preferential hiring?

Faculty and staff positions will have different job requirements that vary by position. Because UTRGV’s precise hiring needs are being developed, it is not yet known if bilingual faculty or staff will receive a preference in hiring.

 

Will there be a break in state service for faculty and staff who go from UTPA or UTB to UTRGV in the first round?

Faculty hired during Phase I at UTRGV will likely receive dual appointments to their existing institution and UTRGV, and will eventually transition to be employees of only UTRGV, so they will not experience a break in service. UTRGV’s precise hiring needs for staff are being developed, so the first day of employment for staff positions is not yet known.

 

Will the 3-year and 1-year lecturers with terminal degrees be eligible for tenure-track Assistant Professor positions with Phase II and receive also hiring preference over external applicants?

UTRGV’s precise Phase II faculty hiring needs will not be known until Phase I ends. Any persons who are qualified for available Phase II positions, including external applicants, will be eligible to apply for them, but it is unlikely that existing lecturers will receive a hiring preference for tenure-track faculty positions over external applicants.

 

I have been accepted into the Master's of Occupational Therapy program at UTPA- set to begin this Fall 2014. Will the program remain the same? Also the program at UTPA is accredited by AOTA, will that still hold true for UT-RGV?

Nothing about the program is expected to change in fall 2014. It is anticipated that the M.S. in Occupational Therapy, which the UT System Board of Regents approved for UT Rio Grande Valley, will continue its AOTA accreditation.

 

Are faculty who voluntary resign (under the VSIP agreement) eligible for phased retirement?

No.

 

What type of degrees will UTRGV offer to become a Nurse Practitioner? Can you please consider offering a Neonatal Nurse Practitioner Degree? Many of us would really appreciate it!

Currently, UT Pan American offers a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)-Nurse Practitioner program. UTRGV will offer this program starting fall 2015. There is currently no proposal to offer a specialization in neo-natal care. The current specializations in the existing program are the Family Nurse Practitioner track and the Adult Health Nursing: Educator Track.

 

The deadline for online application is August 18, 2014. Classes start on August 25. Is it possible to shift the deadline to that date? Many faculty have summer plans and may be out of country at that time. Even the application is online, it still created some anxiety, since there is no information about application process and documents should be submitted along with application.

Your comments will certainly be taken into consideration, but currently, the deadline for Phase I faculty applications is expected to be August 18, 2014. As soon as further details about the application process are available, they will be sent to UTB and UTPA faculty through their respective Provosts’ offices.

 

What if we are working for the University outside of the area during these dates of May 29 to Jun 18. Will there be other sessions after these dates?

If you are referring to information sessions about the Voluntary Separation Incentive Plan for eligible UTPA faculty, we encourage you to contact the Office of Human Resources or to submit your questions to this website.

 

Will UTRGV have a veterinarian program?

There are no plans for a Veterinarian program at this time.

 

If I accept the voluntary separation incentive program will I be elgible to work for UTRGV as an adjunct instructor in 2015-16? I realize that fulltime employment will not be possible until 2016.

If you are eligible for and accept a voluntary separation agreement, you may not seek, apply for or accept employment at any UT System institution (including UTRGV) until June 1, 2016. This means you will not be eligible to work in any position at UTRGV until June 1, 2016.

 

If I am not offered a position during Phase II, will I be eligible to receive my retirement benefits?

This will depend on whether you are otherwise eligible to retire under your retirement plan. If you are eligible to retire and do so, you will receive the retirement benefits due to you; if you are not eligible to retire, you will not receive retirement benefits.

 

Is there a specific deadline to declare retirement from UTB or UTPA before both Institution are abolished?

No.

 

Many of the very numerous forms that faculty at UTPA complete are not electronic and require signatures from superiors. Gathering signatures can be very frustrating and time-consuming. Now that the university will be scattered across South Texas, it will be important to have electronic forms. I very strongly suggest that as much of the paperwork as possible be converted to electronic forms, especially those related to research (e.g., IRB submissions).

A very good idea. Just as you point out, it will be the only way to efficiently function in the new university. Thanks.

 

I am currently applying for a UTB staff position that was posted recently. Will those who apply (and get hired) for these new positions still have to reapply when UTRGV becomes active? What is the likelihood that recently employed staff will be "laid-off"? Honesty, please.

UTRGV anticipates that the great majority of its staff positions will be filled by current UTB and UTPA employees. However, UTRGV will be a different employer from UTB and UTPA. Therefore, persons who wish to work at UTRGV will need to apply for positions there. At a date selected by the UT System Board of Regents, UTB and UTPA will close and all remaining jobs at those institutions will cease to exist, even if occupied by recently-hired staff.

 

Will UTRGV be classified as a Tier I university?

The Regents envision an "Emerging Research University” for the Rio Grande Valley, which the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board defines as follows. Emerging Research Universities are educational, scientific, engineering, business and cultural resource centers committed to the three-fold mission of teaching, research and service. As universities with extensive educational programs, academic efforts are directed to applied and basic research in selected fields, teaching and scholarship, and creative activities. The universities encourage faculty members to be active researchers/creators in their respective disciplines and to involve both undergraduate and graduate students in research and creative pursuits. Emerging Research universities are expected to: Offer a comprehensive range of excellent undergraduate and graduate programs; Award at least 30 PhD degrees annually, based on a rolling average of two consecutive years of degree production; Generate at least 20% of the research universities’ criteria for restricted research expenditures (20% of $150 million, adjusted for inflation), as determined by a rolling two-year average.

 

Why has the UT System decided to keep the using the UTB campus buildings for UTRGV, that location is in the worst part of town, many students, including myself, do not feel safe there because of the extreme proximity to Mexico. Illegal immigrants have walked onto campus on numerous occasions, there have been stray bullets, a result of shootouts between Border Patrol and drug cartels and other criminals from Mexico, making their way onto our campus. While this doesn't occur on a daily basis, the campus in Brownsville isn't safe. Why not relocate to a different part of town? We, the students, should be made to feel safe and not walk in fear that we might be assaulted by an illegal immigrant, whose hiding in the brush on campus(including the parking lots) or that a stray bullet might hit our vehicles or us.

UT System is completely committed to providing a safe and healthy environment for students, staff, faculty and all those who visit our campuses. By federal law, called the "Clery Act", campuses must report yearly their crime statistics. While some of the incidents you cite have occurred, UTB has a crime incident rate per student just slightly less than UT Austin's. Our UT Police Department works diligently and cooperatively with federal and local law enforcement to continually identify crime trends that would jeopardize the safety of our campus community, always preparing to deter or respond to any threats.

 

The relative size of the institution has always been a mechanism for determining the pay of staff members at UT components. UTPA employees have always been compromised by the tuition charged to students, the lowest in the State, if not the country. This is unfair, an individual doing the equivalent amount of work in one component, being paid less because tuition is lower. Are there plans to provide a budget increase to UTRGV so they can be adequately paid?

Funding to cover operational costs for public universities in Texas comes from tuition and fees charged to students, state funding based upon enrollment and hours taken by students, research grants, and gifts to the university. One of the major advantages of UTRGV, as compared to UTB and UTPA, is that some of its capital construction funding needs can now be met with Public University Fund (PUF) money, rather than the sources listed above. Any "budget increases" must come from those sources, hence the "size of the institution", in terms of enrollment, is a primary factor. UTRGV is expected to start with around 28,000 students and will grow as its national reputation enhances. The tuition and fee rates, which are set by the Board of Regents, are an important factor as well. Balancing the need for revenues with the equally important interest in keeping higher education affordable is a challenge confronting universities across the nation.

 

"As to the RAHC facility in Brownsville, it is under the direction of UT Health Science Center-Houston, and there are no plans to migrate it to UTRGV." WHY NOT? WHAT DIFFERENCE DOES THAT MAKE... Isn't UTHSC Houston part of UT System. If you are making a UTRGV then make it! Last I heard Brownsville was part of RGV....

While the model in Texas and elsewhere is to blend the health sciences, any reorganization or combination of campuses requires multiple levels of approval inclusive of the Board of Regents. Many of the ideas received thus far are being compiled for review with the new President of UTRGV when the sole finalist is confirmed.

 

Will there be any dental early acceptance or dual degree programs over at UTRGV, and if so they'll probably be from the same partnered institutions that both UTPA and UTB already carry correct?

All UTB and UTPA students already enrolled in programs will be able to finish them at UTRGV. Students starting new at UTRGV will be enrolling in its new programs, which will have different curricula and specifications. There will be more known about those later this year.

 

Will a pharmacy school be created in UTRGV by 2015?

There will be no pharmacy school created by 2015 and there are no plans for one at this time.

 

You indicate that UTPA and UTB employees will have to re-apply for their jobs...little by little the facts are coming out. One question, will the employees be applying for their jobs at the same salary, or will it be an entry level salary?

UTRGV will offer salaries that will attract and hold the highest quality talent and capabilities available, so market will be a key factor in salary rates.

 

Will there be a doctoral program for psychology offered at UTRGV?

There is a recommendation from an academic program working group relating to this but no proposal has been made. 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.

 

Staff and faculty currently working at UTB and UTPA will they be rehired? or their jobs will be terminated?

All jobs at UTB and UTPA are being eliminated because both entities will cease to exist next year. We will follow the law creating UTRGV and dissolving UTB and UTPA, which states that "the board of regents shall facilitate the employment ... of as many faculty and staff of the abolished universities as is prudent and practical."

 

"In the coming weeks we will share specific processes for how UTB and UTPA tenured and tenure-track faculty may choose to transition to faculty positions at UTRGV. We seek your patience as we work through the final details of this plan" This was on April 8. Any progress on this MAJOR issue?

On May 15th the Board of Regents approved the process for qualified UTB and UTPA tenured and tenure-track faculty to indicate their interest in being hired into faculty positions at UTRGV. You can read it in detail athttp://www.utsystem.edu/sites/utsfiles/news/assets/utrgv-tenured-tenure-track-hiring.pdf

 

I am pursuing a degree from UT Brownsville, when I graduate (after 2015) will the diploma read "UT Rio Grande Valley"? Do I have a choice? The UTRGV school name does not have the name recognition that UT Brownsville or UT PanAm independently have.

No diplomas or semester credit hours can be awarded by UTB and UTPA after they cease to exist in 2015. If you continue your education at UTRGV and complete all the requirements for graduation there, your diploma will be awarded by UTRGV.

 

What programs will be available at UTRGV?

The UT System Board of Regents approved the inventory of UTRGV initial programs on May 15th. You can see the list at:http://www.utsystem.edu/sites/utsfiles/news/assets/utrgv-degree-programs-2014-05.pdf

 

Since the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) is being revised and the new MCAT will be administered in 2015, which version of the MCAT will the admissions committee for the new UTRGV medical school be accepting? Will it be the new 2015 MCAT or the MCAT that is currently being administered (in 2014 and prior years)?

It will be the most current MCAT.

 

As UTRGV will be a new university, will faculty and staff, who were previously employed with UT-Brownsville or UT-Pan American, have the option of selecting between ORP and TRS? Will they have the option of enrolling for benefits and programs as new employees (i.e., disability insurance)? Finally, will UTRGV be offering its new faculty (who were previously employed with UT-Brownsville or UT-Pan American) nationally competitive salaries (salaries that are in line with CUPA), as has been the practice with new faculty hires at UTPA in recent years?

When faculty and staff who are eligible first come to state government, they get a one time “irrevocable” chance to select ORP or TRS (and form to sign acknowledging this). If they did not elect when they first became faculty, they cannot elect now, with us or any other higher education institution they may move to. Former state employees, including those from UTB or UTPA, hired by UTRGV will have their state service benefits and balances transferred and, per our OEB policies, they will carry their benefit elections with them. If they have a break in service they could elect new benefits. Whatever they select during annual enrollment in July 2015 will carry forward to UT RGV.

 

What will be the mascot for the athletic teams when UTRGV opens?

A process will be developed to solicit input from students and other key stakeholders on the new university colors and mascot. This will likely occur in mid-to-late 2014.

 

I'm in the social work program in UTPA but I would like to transfer to UTB when the two universities merge. Is there any chance that the new UTRGV in Brownsville will have a social work degree?

First, it is important to know that all UTRGV programs will be offered university-wide. However, not all individual courses will be taught at every campus. The class offerings by classroom and location, and by online, will not be fully worked out before next spring. In general, though, if you have begun a program at one campus, you are likely to be able to continue it there.

 

It's true that all medical and health degrees would be offered only in Edinburg and all art degrees only in UTB? or both are gonna have some degrees in every area?

It is important to know that all UTRGV programs will be offered university-wide. However, not all individual courses will be taught at every campus. The class offerings by classroom and location, and by online, will not be fully worked out before next spring. In general, though, if you have begun a program at one campus, you are likely to be able to continue it there.

 

When will the new President essentially take office?

The presidency officially commences when UTRGV opens, which will be before Fall 2015. In the meantime, that individual will serve as President-Elect, once the Regents confirm the appointment, in May.

 

There doesn't seem to be any information regarding future development of the engineering programs that are currently offered at UTPA/UTB. Does this imply there aren't any current plans for growth and improvements towards the engineering departments? A detailed response would be greatly appreciated as I cannot know what is meant by "the UT System Board of Regents will consider and take possible action on a large number of degree programs that UTRGV will offer." Elaboration on what is being considered and what these actions are would be much more informative.

Regarding the UTRGV degree programs, a recommendation for all UTRGV programs has been submitted to the Board of Regents for consideration. The agenda book for the Board meeting is published online about three days before the Board of Regents meeting, which is May 14 & 15. When it does, all of the programs the BOR will be considering will be there for the viewing. Once the programs are approved by the Board, we will publish them.

 

UTPA has a thriving Student Union, Wellness Center and Daycare, each with their own fees to operate. UTB currently does not have a Student Union, or a Wellness Center, or a Day Care with their own fees to operate. There is a facility at UTB called the Student Union, but it houses a majority of academic programs, and does not offer the amenities and services usually found in a Student Union. Will UTRGV offer like the Student Union, Wellness Center, and Daycare at the Edinburg campus and Brownsville Campus?

Due to the space needs, changes brought on by the separation of UTB and TSC, what was the Student Union building on the Brownsville campus was purchased from Texas Southmost College this year and converted to other uses. A new classroom and student services building will begin construction in Brownsville later this year to meet some of the most pressing needs. UTRGV master planning is underway to address facility needs across the Rio Grande Valley.

 

Can you all take into consideration making the programs available half time or offer a variety like evening and weekends classes. Almost all programs are full time and classes are only during the day. Most of us have to work making it hard to finish a masters much less a PhD.

Your point is well taken and has been raised in considerations for the design of UTRGV program distribution, offerings, curricula and scheduling. The 21st Century university will recognize and respond to the changing needs of society and students, particularly the ones you raise.

 

I think the individual who asked the question "If I ask a question will it get answered?, just checking" simply meant will it be answered correctly. I can identify 2-3 questions on this page alone that leads me to believe the system is trying to hide something, or simply doesn't know. For example, the questions "Will the RAHC - Houston School of Public Health be included in UTRGV?" The answer is simply "no". Two, contrary to what your saying. Its a merger.

The answer means to convey that we don't know yet. The longer answer tries to convey a sense of the process and schedule when we will.

 

How can you say that UTB and UTPA are not being merged to form UTRGV? The whole merger is simply a mechanism for eliminating administrative costs associated with the operation of two institutions of higher learning. This was not necessary to form the medical school, especially since that aspect of the merger is not effective until a year later. What is sad about the whole merger is how UTPA will have to suffer because of UTB's "bankruptcy," brought on by 1) separating from Pan American in the first place, and 2) a failure to get along with their TSC counterparts. They should simply shut down UTB and force their employees to apply for the "vacant" positions. UTPA employees should not have to compete for the UTRGV positions.

A merger would be a putting together of the two institutions. The legislature and Board of Regents are founding UTRGV, a new university, and UTPA and UTB will cease to exist. The confusion arises because the assets owned by the Board of Regents in the Valley, previously identified with UTPA, UTB and the RAHC, are being re-deployed to the new university. The Guiding Principles are posted online and are helpful for obtaining a greater sense about what UTRGV is to be and how that contrasts with UTPA and UTB. UTRGV will be a 21st Century innovation of higher education, the first of its kind, and it may be difficult at this point to see how different that will be. The difference will become much clearer as it begins operations and evolves. Since it is a new institution, all the personnel it will employ must apply as new, even though there will be a preference given to those previously employed by UT System at the former entities.

 

You did not answer this question in previous post: "Is this pattern to continue with faculty and staff? UTPA all keep their jobs while UTB folks get terminated like the UTB coaches?"

All employees of UTPA and UTB who wish to work at UTRGV will undergo the same process, be subject to the same criteria and will receive the same consideration, irrespective where they worked. The case you refer to is incidental to that particular set of facts and does not reflect that only UTPA employees will be going on to UTRGV.

 

A doctoral program in healthcare administration would be a great asset to UTRGV.

Your suggestion has been forwarded. Thanks.

 

What are the choices for the new mascot? Can we submit ideas?

A process will be developed to solicit input from students and other key stakeholders on the new university mascot. This will likely occur in mid-to-late 2014. You'll be asked to submit your ideas then.

 

This phrase, "The Board of Regents seeks to establish a new 21st Century University" is repeated over and over as a mantra. Who invented this phrase? Where did it originate? As you state, no one can know how the century will unfold. What sense does the phrase have then? Many people I talk to have the suspicion that this is just a cover up phrase for Austin to impose a second class job training institution on the Valley based in 3rd class educational methods--like online learning--using 'innovation' as a mask.

The term "21st Century University" means to convey an innovation in higher education that departs from the previous models. It is not a departure from the idea that the university is a discoverer, nurturer and provider of new knowledge, but is in fact a continuation of the evolution of higher education, which has for centuries adapted itself to meet the changing needs of society and the opportunities opened by new technologies and discoveries. The particular object of UTRGV will be to provide first class higher education for the Valley, thus elevating opportunity, incomes, health and quality of life. As President Bailey comes on board, and the new mission, vision, and strategies are determined for UTRGV, an operational definition of what a “21st Century University” will emerge, which will be consistent with the guiding principles approved by the Board of Regents.

 

While I understand that UTRGV will use distance learning, video conferencing, and similar technologies to reach students across the entire region, will faculty primarily remain based in one of the former campuses? Or will we need to hold office hours, attend meetings, perform service in two or more locations. Will we receive transportation stipends if this is the case? Are there any plans for mass transit (or at least shuttles) to enable faculty work across an area similar in size to Connecticut?

UTRGV is going to have one academic and administrative structure that is designed to dramatically improve student success, healthcare, research, and community impact across the entire Valley. Realistically, in the early years, given the geographic distribution of current UTB and UTPA students who will be automatically enrolled in UTRGV, faculty will likely have primary bases from which to serve students, conduct research, and engage with the community. As quickly as possible, UTRGV will develop new ways to interact with students that are less place-bound. New technologies can be expected to surpass even the current rate of rapid change to provide means not yet known now. As to moving students between learning sites, there will be a transportation system that will employ mass transit and individual person transport from points all across the Valley to all higher education institutions in the Valley. For a preview of some of what is to come, go to www.ridescoutapp.com and download the app.

 

The UTPA campus will see huge growing pains in the next several years, but what happens nearby off campus is going to be critically important as well. Currently, there are no hotels/motels of decent quality within walking distance of campus. This surely will have to change so that reasonably large conferences, etc. can be held on the UTRGV campus. Likewise, there are no decent eating establishments across from campus for visitors to utilize. The campus area is very lacking in amenities that generally all large, urban campuses have. Regarding on-campus facilities, a coliseum and/or large stadium is also going to be needed in short order, not just for sporting events, but for other events (concerts, etc.) that can potentially bring money into the university. Are these issues being considered alongside the obvious academic issues?

An important function of master planning a university is to explore just the issues you pose. The UT System Board of Regents is expected to award the master planning contract sometime in the next few months.

 

Faculty are still waiting to hear about whether they will retain tenure at UTRGV. Why is it so difficult for the Board of Regents to make a directive that all faculty tenured at UTPA and UTB will retain their tenure at UTRGV?A delay seems to suggest that you want to leave the door open to eliminating some of our tenured faculty.

The establishment of UTRGV as a new university and the dissolution of UTB and UTPA creates an anomaly with regard to the question of current tenured and tenure-track faculty that is not covered by the present Regents Rules. UT System has worked with the leadership of both faculty senates and provosts to develop a policy addressing the hiring of UTPA and UTB tenured and tenure-track faculty at UTRGV. A proposed policy has been drafted and will be considered by the Board of Regents at its May meeting and we will share further information as soon as it is available.

 

At one point, UTPA was going to build some domed Hurricane-proof buildings. These haven't been constructed yet. Will these become a part of the new UT RGV?

Other than buildings presently underway or approved to commence construction, new facilities will need to be considered in the master planning process. The UT System Board of Regents is expected to award the master planning contract sometime in the next few months.

 

Is it true that all full time staff would need to reapply for their positions?

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. Some UTRGV hiring needs will be known right away, and others will be known after the new president approves an organizational structure. Therefore, UTRGV will likely hire staff on a rolling basis and will begin to post job openings for staff as early as fall 2014. All job postings will be available online and applications will be accepted online. UTB and UTPA staff will be given a general preference for available jobs and an additional preference if they are applying for a job similar to the job they held.

 

What are UT's accreditations?

When approved, UTRGV will be accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools – Commission on Colleges (SACS-COC), which is the regional body for the accreditation of degree-granting higher education institutions in the Southern states and headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia. UTPA and UTB are fully presently accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

 

When will we be able to view the UTRGV medical school application and is there a possible estimate of the GPA/MCAT score required to be competitive for this school (maybe in comparison to other Texas medical school requirements)?

The application process in Texas is centralized through the Texas Medical and Dental Application Service. The requirements for medical schools in Texas are also available on their web page ( http://www.tmdsas.com/medical/homepage.html The admissions process for UTRGV is presently under review.

 

When will the medical school for UTRGV be finished and when will the first class be able to apply and start their classes?

After accreditation, we anticipate accepting applications in 2015 and enroll the first class in August 2016.

 

Many faculty I talk with are concerned about the transition to the UTRGV because they teach a lot of classes and are worried that their research output will also have to increase. The system seems to be approaching this increased research issue by bringing in higher paid faculty from existing ‘research’ universities, who will have lower teaching loads than existing faculty. This seems to be setting up a ‘class’ system among faculty where some will be essentially high paid researchers and others will be low paid teachers. How will (or can) this equalize? How can faculty increase their grant writing and research productivity with the excessive teaching loads they have? If anything, there will be more students, so I don’t see how loads can possibly decrease.

Higher salary levels are essential to attract and retain faculty who are research active. Research active faculty will have a lower organized classroom teaching load, because a significant part of the educational experience occurs in the research laboratory and during research meetings. Not all fields have the same opportunity for establishing funded research programs, and it is anticipated that a recruiting emphasis will be placed on STEM fields. Some faculty, who excel in the classroom and have a lesser interest in active research programs will maintain larger teaching loads.

 

Will UTRGV manage an Architecture Program?

Architecture is not among the initial UTRGV programs submitted for consideration for approval by the Board of Regents.

 

Will there be ONE university and if so, where will it be located. I would like to apply for employment and would like to know when and if they will be hiring.

There will be one university and all positions will be hired over the coming year. Some UTRGV hiring needs will be known right away, and others will be known after the new president approves an organizational structure. Therefore, UTRGV will likely hire staff on a rolling basis and will begin to post job openings for staff as early as fall 2014. All job postings will be available and applications taken online at the new UTRGV web site coming soon.

 

As an outsider, but perhaps an applicant to the new university (through the Valley STARs program), I am concerned about a few things. I come from a state university with a strong research emphasis and Ph.D. programs that are necessary for developing and maintaining a strong research culture. From what I see, the UT System is very much interested in developing a culture like this at the new university. However, I have viewed many faculty CVs in the ‘sciences’ and while some seem to be proficient for the new university, many do not. They don’t have the publications or grant history, and you can’t just flip a switch and turn them into productive researchers. I understand that some of this may be due to very high teaching loads, but they obviously took their current positions knowing they were going to be mostly teaching. I would like to know how the new university is going to become an emerging research school with a mostly teaching-oriented faculty?

UTRGV will develop as an emerging research university through recruitment of faculty in areas with research potential (primarily STEM fields) who are expected to establish funded research programs and who will likely be recruited at a higher salary level (and possibly require significant startup packages). Existing faculty will certainly have the opportunity to develop research programs, though this is not mandated. UTRGV will maintain a balance between teaching load and research load. For at least the interim growing period, one can anticipate a tiered system with some faculty research oriented while other faculty remain teaching oriented. The research culture change will likely occur at a non-uniform rate across the campus.

 

To give PhD programs at UTRGV a healthy start, will there be funds available for teaching and research assistantships for graduate students independently of PI grants? Currently UTB is able to provide just a few graduate assistantships that do not provide adequate support to prospective graduate students. Having a sufficient number of assistantships is also critical in any graduate recruitment effort.

We appreciate your question and comments. In general, full-time doctoral students should be supported through teaching assistantships, research assistantship, or fellowships, as appropriate to the discipline. Resource allocations have not yet been made for doctoral programs at UTRGV. We will send your recommendation to the administration of the university once a president is named.

 

How many students can be accepted into the 3+3 program of physical therapy?

No program decisions have been concluded yet but the list of UTRGV programs will be published later this summer.

 

If I ask a question will it get answered?, just checking

Yes. All appropriate questions relevant to UTRGV that have not already been answered will be.

 

Why will the medical school be a part of the UTRGV , when it could have simply been an extension of UTHSCSA as originally planned? The merger could have occurred without the medical school. UTPA or UTB doesn't know how to act like a research institution, let alone a medical school.

Neither UTPA nor UTB are being merged to form UTRGV, an entirely new university. The Regents envision an "Emerging Research University” for the Rio Grande Valley, which the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Boarded defines as follows: Emerging Research Universities are educational, scientific, engineering, business and cultural resource centers committed to the three-fold mission of teaching, research and service. As universities with extensive educational programs, academic efforts are directed to applied and basic research in selected fields, teaching and scholarship, and creative activities. By establishing one higher education institution in the Valley, with included medical school, the mission can be better and more efficiently focused.

 

Where will UTRGV be located?

UTRGV will span the Rio Grande Valley, including Starr, Hidalgo, Cameron and Willacy Counties, with initial instructional sites in Rio Grande City, McAllen, Edinburg, Harlingen, Brownsville, Port Mansfield and South Padre Island. Additional sites will be added as programs are added and expanded. UTRGV will also span the globe with its 21st Century virtual campus and programs.

 

There are two buildings on the UTPA campus: ARHU and SBSC, which are very crowded and are badly in need of renovations. Although I have not been to every UT system campus, I have been to several, and I have not encountered any buildings quite so sad as these. Please consider making substantial renovations to these buildings. Our future police officers, border patrol, psychologists, teachers, and lawyers, etc. deserve better than to be educated in these substandard conditions.

Thank you for your observation and interest in our facilities. Your comments and advice will be passed to the Facilities Project Group for consideration.

 

Why is it assumed that UTPA athletics will continue? UTPA is being terminated just like UTB, so why the preferential treatment of UTPA coaches and athletes? Is this pattern to continue with faculty and staff? UTPA all keep their jobs while UTB folks get terminated like the UTB coaches? Also, why is the Brownsville RAHC not part of the UTRGV/Medical school since the RAHC in Harlingen is included? This makes no sense and seems to continue the pattern of snubbing UTB and Brownsville.

UT System leadership determined that UTRGV will have a NCAA Division I athletics program. Because of UTPA’s existing participation in NCAA Division I athletics, the UTPA athletics program will be converted into the athletics program at UTRGV. Building a new NCAA Division I program from scratch could take years. This approach ensures NCAA participation in year one. As to the RAHC facility in Brownsville, it is under the direction of UT Health Science Center-Houston, and there are no plans to migrate it to UTRGV.

 

Can you please elaborate on Phase III (September 2014 - August 2015) "Implement Talent Development Strategy for Faculty and Staff" (What is the strategy and what does it entail?)

The item "Implement Talent Development Strategy for Faculty and Staff" refers to the typical set of Human Resources initiatives for providing mechanisms by which organizations help keep the talents and skills of their personnel up to date in a fast changing world and to ensure that individuals can acquire new skills and abilities to advance in their careers.

 

I'm currently a RN but I will like to pursue medical degree. Is there a bridge program for RNs wanting to apply for Medical School in the RGV?

If you are a BSN who has completed the required undergraduate courses, you can apply. There is no credit towards an MD degree given for RN, NP, or any other coursework. UTRGV expects to use the same requirements as UTHSCSA SOM(UT Health Science Center San Antonio School of Mediciine). Those requirements are as follows (the TMDSAS website lists the requirements for each of the participant schools at info@tmdsas.com ): While a baccalaureate degree is strongly recommended, graduation is not an actual requirement, although a minimum of 90 hours is a requirement; 14 semester hours of biology (2 of the hours are lab); 8 semester hours of general chemistry (2 of the hours are lab); 8 semester hours of organic chemistry (2 of the hours are lab); 3 semester hours of biochemistry; 8 semester hours of physics (2 of the hours are lab); 6 semester hours of English; 3 semester hours of statistics.

 

Will the RAHC - Houston School of Public Health be included in UTRGV? All of the talk is about the medical school but no one is mentioning the huge role of public health in the health care in the Valley.

The UTRGV SOM has adopted a curriculum which is innovative blending elements of both traditional medical training and population health. The training will include interprofessional teams of medical, nursing, social work, pharmacy, PA and public health. As such, faculty from public health and all other health disciplines will be included the curricular development to help improve the health of patients, families, and whole communities in the Rio Grande Valley.

 

What are the new Nursing prerequisites for the Generic Nursing Bachelor Degree at UTRGV?

Students currently enrolled at UTB or UTPA and who continue at UTRGV will follow course prerequisites and other program requirements published in the catalog corresponding to their acceptance date in the nursing program. New students beginning their courses at UTRGV will follow the program prerequisites for UTRGV, which will be published in the fall of 2014.

 

Being a medical student from South Texas I am curious what impact UTRGV will have on medical training in the area. Will the addition of this new medical school make way for more residency programs available in the South Texas community?

Beginning with the initial planning of the new medical school, concerted efforts have been made to expand residency opportunities in South Texas. Already in the works is an increase from 11 first year residency positions available to 32 additional first year positions. Because these residencies are multi-year, the agreements already in place will result in a total of more than 115 new residents in the next 5 years in Family Medicine, Internal Medicine, Surgery, OB/GYN, and Psychiatry. Plans are now underway for a possible residency in Pediatrics and additional Family Medicine.

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