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Garcia, Nelsen consider options

Job post describes ideal president

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Posted: Tuesday, November 5, 2013 10:10 pm

According to a job posting on the Chronicle of Higher Education search website, the president for the new university in South Texas should be a “national leader ideally with experience in the fields of higher education, research, and health sciences.”

The job posting, which was published Monday, characterizes the leader of the new institution in South Texas as someone with a history of organizational leadership, innovative achievements in academia, a deep respect for scholarship and demonstrated success in fostering diversity, among other qualities.

“The president will have the opportunity to chart a new course on an exciting journey that will transform the Valley, the State, and the nation by leading a university focused on student success, exceptional teaching, innovative research, and superior health care education,” the description states.

An identical posting can be found on the Witt/Kieffer website. Witt/Kieffer is an executive search committee the University of Texas System has enlisted to help select qualified candidates.

According to the Project South Texas timeline designed for the new university, officials are expected to name the president of the new university in either January or February 2014.

The name for the new university is expected to be finalized sometime this month or next month.

UTPA President Robert Nelsen, who has previously said he was interested in the position, said he was not aware of a job posting.

However, after listening to the job description, he said he intends to apply.

“I’ve had an incredible experience here at UT-Pan American,” Nelsen said. “We have made tremendous progress in scholarship and students’ success. I’m very proud of our health science program here which has over 300 students.”

UTB President Juliet V. Garcia said during a student town hall Tuesday that she wasn’t sure if she was going to apply for the presidential post. It’s unclear if Garcia — at the time of her comment — was familiar with the job qualifications described in the position specification.

A presidential search committee was announced in October and met soon after the announcement. Its first responsibility, according to Pedro Reyes, the UT System executive vice chancellor for academic affairs, who is also chairing the presidential search committee, was to discuss and decide on a position specification.

According to UTB Provost Alan Artibise, Garcia and Nelsen, as well as Artibise and his counterpart at UTPA will manage UTB and UTPA until summer 2015 when the new president will take the helm.

“Dr. Garcia will be president of UT Brownsville until summer of 2015, even though a new president has been appointed,” Artibise said. “I expect we will come to call that person a president designee... I think it is smart to hire that person so they can help plan.

“We know what we are doing for the next 18 months.”

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