UTRGV merger reports complete - Brownsville Herald: News

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Posted: Wednesday, February 19, 2014 9:30 am

All reports by working groups seeking to fuse the University of Texas at Brownsville with UT-Pan American were submitted as of Friday, said Julio Leon, special adviser to the project. 

Now that all of the reports have been submitted to UT System administrators for evaluation, it’s time for campus leadership and system administrators to review them, Leon said.

Because the working groups were made up of a select few individuals, Leon said he expects the full campus community will be able to view the reports soon. From there, he said, the community will be able to participate in town hall-like discussions to voice its opinions on some of the recommendations that were made.

The purpose will be to have the entire community integrated and to be part of the discussions, Leon said.

“They will provide feedback,” he added.

Staff and faculty will be able to evaluate the work that their co-workers have been focusing on, he said.

A full picture of the new school will emerge near the end of April when working groups’ recommendations are unveiled, Leon said.

“We are hopeful that the founding president of UTRGV and the founding dean of the UTRGV medical school will participate,” Leon said in a newsletter about project.

“Now that the ‘big-thinking’ of the working groups is close to completion, the process of consolidating the existing degrees from both campuses begins,” he said in the letter.

“The campuses are working very hard and in their working groups have done a tremendous job,” he said.

In his newsletter, Leon said the April 24 symposium likely would be presented to whoever is chosen as the institution’s president. Francisco Fernandez, a psychiatrist-neuroscientist, was named dean of the medical school last week, and he should also be present for those recommendations.

Another step necessary in the process of establishing the new school is to begin discussions about how to integrate the degrees that are offered at both institutions, Leon said in his newsletter.

He said 40 degrees are common to both UTPA and UTB.

“UTPA may have a bachelor of arts in communications and UTB may have the same degree program,” Leon said. “They will come together and consolidate those programs into what the particular program will be at UTRGV.”

Once those degree programs are reconciled, they will be submitted — en masse — to the Texas Higher Educating Coordinating Board. The goal is to have an inventory ready for Board of Regents approval in May, with Coordinating Board approval in July.

UT System Chancellor Francisco G. Cigarroa, who announced his resignation last week, will be at UTB on Feb. 26 for a community engagement session on the new university. He has announced that he will stay on the project as a special adviser.

Fernandez, the medical school’s founding dean, also will be in the Valley that same day.

The school is scheduled to officially open in August 2015, with the medical school’s first cohort of students enrolling in 2016.

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