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Regents’ plans to strategically realign UT Tyler and UT Health Science Center progressing on schedule

Six months after announcing plans to realign UT Tyler and UT Health Science Center at Tyler into one comprehensive institution to enhance and expand educational, research and clinical delivery in East Texas, the UT System Board of Regents announced a critical next step.

As part of an accreditation process for both institutions to exist as one, a steering committee and working groups composed of faculty and staff leaders from both Tyler institutions have been working with the UT System to submit a “Substantive Change Prospectus” to the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) for review and approval. The prospectus, due by Sept. 1, is required before the accreditation agency can begin its rigorous review of the application this fall. Part of the process involves an understanding of the institution’s proposed organizational and administrative structure, which requires one president with responsibility for all functions of the university. 

As a result of that requirement, today the Board of Regents unanimously approved a motion by Chairman Kevin P. Eltife to announce its intention for Kirk Calhoun, M.D., president of UT Health Science Center at Tyler and chairman of UT Health East Texas, the 10-hospital health system serving the region, to serve as the future president of the combined universities, to be named UT Tyler. Under the proposed re-alignment to SACSCOC, the UT Health Science Center at Tyler will become an administrative unit within UT Tyler. 

The Regents will finalize plans in the months ahead as recommendations are received from the steering committee, but in the meantime, Eltife and the Board praised the leadership, enthusiasm, and collegiality that President Calhoun and UT Tyler President Michael Tidwell have brought to the transition process from the start, including the full commitment of the two presidents and their respective university communities to unite the institutions as seamlessly as possible.

Calhoun, president of UT Health Science Center at Tyler for almost 18 years, is already leading efforts for his institution to receive licensing and accreditation approvals to establish a new medical school. In February, Regents announced their intention to launch the medical school to educate and employ more health care professionals to serve East Texas. 

Once the proposed realignment receives all approvals, the uniting of UT Tyler and UT Health Science at Tyler into one entity means that there will be one seamless environment for students and faculty to have exceptional opportunities to learn, teach, conduct research and deliver health care in a single, fully integrated academic and medical setting. The university will also offer new experiential training for undergraduate and graduate students; increase its ability to garner additional research support; strengthen the recruitment of top faculty and students for its undergraduate and graduate programs; and serve as a catalyst to grow a health care workforce. 

A top priority of the university will be to successfully align with the East Texas region to better address its educational, health and economic aspirations. A community advisory committee charged with overseeing that effort was named early in the year by Eltife. It is chaired by Barbara Bass, former mayor of Tyler.

About The University of Texas System

For more than 130 years, The University of Texas System has been committed to improving the lives of Texans and people all over the world through education, research and health care. With 14 institutions, an enrollment of nearly 240,000 students and an operating budget of $21.1 billion (FY 2020), the UT System is one of the largest public university systems in the United States. UT institutions produce more than 60,000 graduates annually and award more than one-third of the state’s undergraduate degrees and more than half of its health professional degrees. Collectively, UT-owned and affiliated hospitals and clinics accounted for more than 9.2 million outpatient visits and 1.8 million hospital days last year. Across UT institutions, research and development expenditures total $3.1 billion – the highest in Texas and second highest in the nation among public higher education systems – and the UT System is regularly ranked among the top 10 most innovative universities in the world. The UT System also is one of the largest employers in Texas, with more than 21,000 faculty – including Nobel laureates and members of the National Academies – and more than 85,000 health care professionals, researchers and support staff.

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Karen Adler: • 512-499-4360 (direct) • 210-912-8055 (cell)