Regents focus on UTRGV planning - Brownsville Herald: Local News

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Regents focus on UTRGV planning

Two-day meeting starts today in Austin

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Posted: Tuesday, May 13, 2014 10:15 pm

The University of Texas System board of regents will meet today and Thursday in Austin and discuss plans for the new University of Texas Rio Grande Valley.

The board will discuss the allocation of $5 million for communication and marketing needs for UTRGV and will consider the process of hiring tenured and tenure-track faculty from both UT Brownsville and UT-Pan American. In addition, the board will discuss amendments to a capital improvement plan, which include the addition of an academic building on the UTB campus, and a STEM building at the UTPA campus.

Regents will also consider the approval of undergraduate and graduate degrees to be offered by UTRGV.

The UT System will work with UTB and UTPA to perform communication needs involving the design and development of customized admissions materials, creation of student marketing, development of mailings and information dissemination. It will also work on the creation of a website and the implementation of an integrated Constituent Relationship Management system to manage and track engagement and interaction with all current and prospective students.

“The money is going to be used to fund a wide rage of communication needs that are critical to launch UTRGV,” said Karen Adler, assistant director of public affairs for the UT System. “Items that will be funded will include a comprehensive website, for both the university and the medical school and a myriad of print and digital materials to make sure students, parents, faculty, staff and community members are fully informed about the admissions process, financial aid, everything associated with the new university.”

The regents will also propose the process of hiring tenured and tenure track faculty. When UTRGV opens in fall of 2015, both UTB and UTPA will be abolished and so will the tenure of the faculty of both institutions.

“At this meeting, the regents are going to consider adopting the process to hire tenure and tenure-track faculty from UT Brownsville and UT Pan American to UTRGV,” Adler said. “They’re not going to be considering specific number of hires at this meeting. We’re not at that point yet.”

A capital improvement plan, also up for discussion, will use money from the Permanent University Fund to build facilities. On the UTB campus, there will be a 140,000 square foot academic facility to be built with $54 million of PUF funds, and at UTPA, $70 million will fund construction of a 163,000 square foot Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) facility.

When UTRGV opens in 2015, the university will be using “interactive technology” that is adaptable to new and future learning.

“After consolidating a total of 168 programs at UT Brownsville and UT Pan American, UT Rio Grande Valley will offer 137 baccalaureate, master’s, and doctoral degree programs,” the meeting’s agenda states.

UTRGV presidential finalist Guy Bailey is not expected to attend the meeting, but he will be visiting both UTB and UTPA campuses on Friday.

vbrito@brownsvilleherald.com

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