Project South Texas

Q and A, page 5

Q and A, page 5

Q and A, page 5

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Why is the mechanism for the hire of staff from UTPA and UTB taking longer to be announced? The way that the document was written for faculty it leaves it flexible on the number of faculty that will be hired and leaves room for not all faculty to be hired, why can’t a similar mechanism we announced for staff already and reduce the anxiety that the staff is having? When will the staff process be announced?

The hiring processes and guidelines for staff members of The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV) have not yet been finalized. The creation of a new university and dissolution of two is unprecedented in this State. It does take time to develop processes that facilitate the employment of as many staff from the current institutions as is prudent and practical, however, we assure staff that information will be disseminated as soon as it is available to help ease anxieties.


Why are there no students or faculty on President Bailey's recently announced transition team?

President Bailey's initial Transition Team has been announced but it is still in formation and will be augmented as it evolves this summer.


How does the staff and faculty of RAHC fit into UTRGV? We have seen much written about the process for hiring tenured and tenure-track faculty for UTB and UTPA and precise hiring needs for staff are being developed for these two entities, but no mention of RAHC staff and faculty.

We are researching this question and will have an answer shortly.


Will there be a physical therapy program available?

It is too early to tell. However, 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.


In answering some of the questions below, you note that faculty "benefits" from UTB and UTPA will carry over for those who are hired by UT-RGV. I have a tremendous amount of sick leave and want to be sure that is part of what is meant by the term "benefits."

An employee of UTPA or UTB who separates from employment under these circumstances (the dissolution of UTB and UTPA) and is reemployed by a different state agency or public institution of higher education, including UTRGV, within 12 months after the end of the month in which the employee separates from the state employment is entitled to have the employee's sick leave balance restored.


If a faculty member chooses to retire in May 2015, is Phased Retirement an option, rather than accepting the Voluntary Separation Incentive? This is assuming that the professor meets the basic criteria for being hired at UT-RGV. In short, is Phased Retirement still an option? Also, I have several valuable colleagues who are already on Phased Retirement with a period extending beyond August 2015. Will UT-RGV honor that commitment?

UTRGV does not yet have a policy regarding Phased Retirement for Tenured Faculty so it is currently not known whether phased retirement will be permitted. However, even if UTRGV develops a policy permitting phased retirement for tenured faculty, the policies at other UT System institutions provide that phased retirement will only be allowed if such an appointment benefits not only the individual faculty employee but also results in a significant benefit to the University.


When a person has accumulated a significant amount of sick leave and retires, is there any compensation for the unused sick leave?

No, there is no compensation for the unused sick leave upon retirement.


The process for transitioning tenure and tenure track faculty has been made public but no information has been released for the process for clinical track faculty. Many of the programs in the Health Sciences depend heavily on these individuals. When will non-tenured faculty find out about the possibility of transitioning to the UT-RGV and what is the timeline. This information is critical to maintaining the accreditation of these programs.

We are researching this question and will have an answer shortly.


If I am pursuing an Engineering major in UTB, and after fall 2015 i have to take a class in UTPA facilities, How it gonna work? We would have some kind of hourly transportation?

The schedule for classes, including times and locations, will be published on the usual schedule for the Course Catalog next Spring. Most commonly, students enrolled in a program continuing from UTB or UTPA will likely be able to attend classes on their original campuses. There will be a regular transportation system in place to facilitate moving between campuses beginning for the fall 2015 semester.


What do i do if i want to transfer to UTRGV?

If you are at UTB or UTPA, you will automatically be admitted to UTRGV. What specific steps you will follow to register for classes have not been mapped out yet but it will likely be not much different from the usual class registration process you follow now. If you are transferring from another university, you will follow a process similar to any other UT university. New students may apply for UTRGV in late summer at . Students applying for the spring or summer semesters of 2015 will continue to use the UTPA or UTB Apply Texas applications. Specific questions? Email .


How do I contact Dr. Francisco Fernandez, founding Dean of the UT Rio Grande Valley medical School. Email or phone number would be great

Dr. Francisco can be reached via email at .



What will the website for UTRGV be?, but it is not launched yet. The site is currently in development. In the meantime, you can find updates regarding UTRGV from the various links on this website.


Can you post the dates on when questions were asked as well as the dates the questions were answered? Also, can a notification be sent to the get sent to list servs when there are changes to the HOP.

We cannot timestamp at this time. FYI, though, our average time to complete a response is 5.26 days, including weekend days and those few questions that have taken as many as 20 days. As to the new HOP, a general notification will be made once the HOP is approved by the Board of Regents.


Once UTPA and UTB are abolished, how will a former student be able to request a transcript?

UTRGV will be the custodian for the student records from UTB and UTPA. Students who earned credit hours or degrees at UTPA and UTB will be able to request them from UTRGV's Office of the Registrar.


Where is UTRGV administration going to be located? Will IT help desk be done remotely from the administrative site and a tech has to drive to other campuses or will IT staff be on the premise?

The location of the central UTRGV administration has not been designated yet. How IT Help Desk and services will be organized has not yet been decided but it will be convenient to those who it serves, wherever they are.


What if we are currently enrolled in the Engineering Technology degree at UTB and I'm supposed to finish Spring 2016, what is going to happen once UTB ceases to exist?

You will be able to finish your original program at UTRGV in Spring 2016. In general, students who have begun programs at UTPA or UTB and continue making adequate progress at UTRGV, will be able to complete their original programs and be awarded their degree through UTRGV.


Is a faculty member who has entered into a Phased Retirement Agreement as of May 23, 2014, that extends beyond the 2014-2015 academic year eligible to participate in the Voluntary Separation Incentive Program?

A faculty member who has entered into a Phased Retirement Agreement as of May 23, 2014, is not eligible to participate in the Voluntary Separation Incentive Program (VSIP). Individuals who have entered into such an agreement will be appointed pursuant to their Phased Retirement Agreement for the 2014-2015 academic year. UTRGV’s precise need for lecturers in 2015-16 is not known at this time, however, and UTB and UTPA are unlikely to offer courses of their own in 2015-16. Once there is more information about UTRGV’s needs in 2015-16 and any hiring preferences it may extend to UTB and UTPA lecturers, those will be made known.


I recently read that your university is going to start a new residency program in internal medicine at the Doctors Hospital at Renaissance.Kindly post the contact details of the residency program as soon as possible.

The Internal Medicine Program at DHR will start on July 1, 2015 with its first PGY-1 group of 12. You may contact the Program Coordinator for more details: Jessica Martin MD, MHSA, 956-362-3553, .


Why are there no students or faculty on President Bailey's recently announced transition team?

President Bailey's initial Transition Team has been announced but it is still in formation and will be augmented as it evolves this summer.


Yesterday, we received an email from our Chair of Staff Senate. She encouraged me to ask any questions or concerns we may have. Liana Ryan's email, she mentioned that since a new university is being created, UTPA/UTB will be abolished and seize to no longer exist. I believe I speak for many staff members at UTPA and we are worried? I totally understand that due to state requiements, all staff members must go through an application process in order to be hired by UTRGV. Since this must happen and we still don't know the specifics...Will this mean that out Human Resource Department will be taken over by an outside agency to do just that?? Because I feel that our Human Resource Department employees would be a conflict of interest, that is if I am understanding what UTRGV is planning on doing? Will UTRGV be hiring an outside agency for HR to help with the re-application process that is in the works later down the line for every staff member on campus at UTPA? Do we know if an incentive will be offered to those that have 30 years plus or points with UTPA to retire? Has that been put on the table? I suppose many of staff on campus are worried....I would like to say we should not worry, but no one has sent that message across to staff. Thank you for allowing us to post questions. We look forward to UTRGV!

We understand the concerns of staff at UTB and UTPA and are working as quickly as we can to provide answers to your questions. At this time no decisions have been made regarding offering a retirement incentive for staff. As you can imagine, there are many details to work through regarding how UTRGV will be staffed. Now that President Bailey has named his Transition Team, together they will be responsible for determining the next steps in the human resource process. On June 10th this Transition Team will participate in a visioning session with Deloitte Consulting and over the next seven weeks will develop an institutional design model based on the recommendations of the UTB/UTPA working groups and best practices at other universities. At the same time, UT System Administration is issuing a Request for Proposal (RFP) for human resource and organizational development services to help UTRGV determine the right structure and staffing levels. When the hiring process for UTRGV staff begins this fall, it will be managed by the UT System Administration Human Resources team, not UTB or UTPA human resources staff. All UTB/UTPA staff members will receive access to resources for updating their resumes.


Will a MS in Data Analytics program be offered by the UT-RGV starting Fall-2015 ? Can existing MSCS students transfer to such a program and expect to graduate in Fall 2016 ? How will the MSCS program be offered jointly by the UTB and UTPA , I mean both universities currently have separate CS departments , how do they intend to work out the logistics ?

An academic programs working group recommended the development of an M.S. in Data Analytics. The UT System has not received a proposal for such a program. UTRGV must follow the current process to gain approval for a new degree program. The process includes submitting a proposal to the UT System. A proposal must demonstrate the job market need, describe the resources that would be used to offer the program at a high quality, and provide information on the anticipated costs and revenues. Final approval rests with the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board.


When will the pre reqs be released for the pharmD program

UT Austin offers its PharmD program in South Texas in collaboration with UTPA. Any changes to the existing prerequisite requirements would have to be determined by UT Austin.


Will the new university have a Physical Therapy program?

It is too early to tell. However, 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.


UTPA has an agreement with Valley Metro bus service to provide free bus rides for UTPA students within the Valley. UTB had worked out an agreement with the local Brownsville bus service to provide free bus rides to UTB students in Brownsville. Are these free rides still going to be available, and will UTB students be able to ride Valley Metro buses for free, and will UTPA students be able to ride Brownsville city buses for free? If so, when will this change happen?

A transportation plan for UTRGV has been in development since fall 2013. So far, the major transportation providers, including Valley Metro, have enthusiastically cooperated to help establish a multi-modal network that will move students between all the higher educational campuses in the Rio Grande Valley.  The system will enhance with technology for scheduling times and destinations using smart phone apps.  More details on this will be available early in the Spring semester 2015.


Recently the news on putting wi-fi in a high school bus took my attention. We should have wi-fi in the shuttle bus running between Edinburg and Brownsville. That will help both the students and staffs of UTRGV. Also those faculties who need to commute for teaching they can use the service if needed.

This idea has been discussed and it is planned that mass transit vehicles serving UTRGV will have free wifi on them.


What will be the new mascot?

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.


Universities merge, like the case of University of Wales, or change names as in the case of Texas State University. In this case, however, UTB and UTPA are being abolished by law to create UTRGV which seems rather unique. Under that premise, and once UTRGV is fully organized, will the future issuance of transcripts for UTB and UTPA graduates bear the name of UTRGV? Should former graduates from UTB and UTPA use the UTRGV name in resumes and C.V.'s once UTB and UTPA are no longer known as accredited institutions?

UTRGV will serve as custodian for student records for UTB and UTPA, once they are dissolved. Transcripts for credits and degrees earned at UTB and UTPA will be available through UTRGV's Office of the Registrar, though they will be identified as credits and degrees earned at UTB or UTPA, not UTRGV.  Transcripts for courses and grades will be titled under the entity that issued the credits.  Only students graduating after August, 2015 can earn degrees from UTRGV. Former graduates of UTB and UTPA will always be graduates of those institutions and their degrees will always be valid.


Do you have an update on the admission process? If I'm currently a student at one of the institutions, will I be automatically admitted to UTRGV? If Fall 2015 is my last semester, what will my degree reflect as the graduating institution?

All students who are enrolled for the Spring 2015 semester at UTB or UTPA will be automatically admitted to UTRGV. Any student graduating after summer 2015 will receive a degree from UTRGV.


After Spring '15 at UTB, will I have to reapply for Fall '15 since it will be UTRGV?

All students who are enrolled for the Spring 2015 semester at UTB or UTPA will be automatically admitted to UTRGV.


Who is the UTRGV new president?

Dr. Guy Bailey is the UTRGV president. You can read more about him here and on this website under the "In The Press" and “Latest News” sections.


Will there be a doctoral program for electrical engineering offered at UTRGV? Earlier it was asked whether the engineering degrees at UTPA/UTRGV will retain their Abet-accreditation. The question was answered with "The detail about the ABET accreditation should be determined by September 2014.". Does this mean there is a possibility that UTRGV will award non-abet accredited degrees? This is a serious concern for engineers as abet accreditation is crucial when graduates are applying for jobs or graduate schools, as some jobs even require it. This will limit our options in the job market making it even harder to advance. Especially since UTRGV will not be well known in its first years. I have read that with non-abet accredited degrees, problems arise when trying to acquire P.E licenses. This personally seems like a deal breaker for every engineering applicant that will graduate under the new UTRGV programs. Please take into consideration all the problems associated with non-abet degrees and work on retaining accreditation.

We expect all ABET accredited engineering programs to maintain their accreditation. At present, there is no proposal for a doctoral program in electrical engineering submitted to the Board of Regents for consideration.


Are there any discussions about applying for a grant or funding to make Wi-Fi available at no cost throughout the RGV? High-quality Wi-Fi available to all residing and learning in the RGV would seem essential for the type of UT-RGV learning innovations being discussed. It would also be beneficial to the entire region in terms of educational attainment.

While all our campuses will have free wifi access for students, there have been discussions about the benefits and challenges of providing wifi to them wherever they are. One concept addressed the lack of web access in colonias, another one explores how to make wifi available on public transportation that will run between the campuses. We will continue to search for ways to ensure that our students are always connected. Providing wifi for the general population of the RGV would be a tremendous boost to the area. For now, we will focus of providing for our UTRGV community first.


I understand there is still much unknown on the future of UTRGV, but this QA section has been very helpful. Thank you.

Thanks. We appreciate the questions and everyone’s patience when we don't have a definitive answer at times.


The process for hiring tenured and tenure-track faculty has been determined. Will the same process apply for clinical faculty, or will be there be another process? What will be the fate of clinical faculty, 3-year lecturers, and 1-year lecturers?

UTRGV plans to fill its remaining faculty needs in Phase II, which will begin after Phase I ends. Phase II is likely to include hiring efforts for clinical faculty and lecturer positions that will be available at UTRGV and the details on that hiring process will be available later this summer and fall.


The eight criteria for Phase I recruitment states "you must complete a new criminal background check unless you have completed one since March 26, 2012, for UTB or UTPA." Do I request for my own criminal background check or will the university do so? In case of the latter, which university? UTB, UTPA, or UTRGV?

First, it is a good idea to ask your current institution for the date of your last criminal background check. Once you know that date, you will be able to provide that information to UTRGV when you indicate interest in a position there. If you have not completed a criminal background check since March 26, 2012, and are extended a hiring offer by UTRGV, UTRGV will arrange a new criminal background check for you.


Will the transition to UTRGV restart the tenure clock?

No. According to the policy, if you are hired into UTRGV in a tenure-track position, you will remain in the same position on the tenure clock as you were at UTB or UTPA. For example, if you were in year 3 on the tenure track during the 2014-15 academic year at UTB and are hired into UTRGV, you will be in year 4 at UTRGV in the 2015-16 academic year. © 2014 The University of Texas System.
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