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Search ongoing for med school dean

Regents to meet; UT-RGV on agenda

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Posted: Tuesday, February 4, 2014 10:12 pm

A dean for the new medical school at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley will be chosen this month, according to UT System officials.

Additionally, Pedro Reyes, executive vice chancellor for academic affairs with the UT System, said the Board of Regents likely will name a president for the university, which is expected to open in August 2015, near the end of this spring semester.

Reyes, who chairs the presidential search committee, said the group has met three times.

“We have a lot of applications and we are narrowing the process and the applicant list,” Reyes said. “At some point, we can bring potential candidates to the Board of Regents. This takes time. It takes a lot of effort, a lot of meetings, a lot of reviewing documents.”

Reyes said face-to-face interviews have been conducted but the process to select a candidate will take a little bit longer.

That said, “We are on time,” Reyes added.

The regents meet today in Austin, and will discuss work on a $54 million building at UT-Pan American for the future medical school. The project is funded by the Permanent University Fund and will consist of approximately 88,269 gross square feet “devoted to teaching facilities that promote faculty and student interaction at the earliest stages of medical school,” UT System documents state.

The UT System expects to issue a request for qualifications this month for a master planning firm, said Karen Adler, the system’s assistant director of public affairs.

“Since it’s such a unique project, it could take several months to actually select the firm, but it will go before the Board of Regents for approval,” Adler said.

A lot of work is being done there, Reyes said in regard to the master plans developed for the UT-Brownsville and UTPA campuses.

“I assume the master planner, whoever is selected, will take a look at that as well,” Reyes said. “That’s one way to begin, but you have to have the master planner before you can make those assumptions.”

In addition to approval of the building on the Edinburg campus, the Health Affairs Committee will discuss and approve the beginning proposal to develop a doctorate of medicine program at the future UT-RGV.

“The proposed Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) program will prepare physicians to be skilled clinicians, biomedical scientists, professional leaders, and innovators in the ongoing transformation of the health care system regionally and throughout Texas, as well as nationally and internationally,” the agenda for today’s meeting states. “The program will also draw on partnering universities’ well-regarded programs in nursing, physician assistants, and social work to educate young physicians in interprofessional team settings.”

After the preliminary authority is approved, the degree proposal will be submitted to the Board of Regents, which will then notify the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, the agenda states.

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