The University of Texas System Chancellor Francisco G. Cigarroa, M.D., visited the campuses of UT Brownsville and UT Pan American Wednesday, June 25, to discuss administrative functions and day-to-day operations for both campuses during the 2014-15 academic year.
Cigarroa announced acting presidents for the campuses during the transition year. The presidents ad interim will also assist UT Rio Grande Valley President Guy Bailey in preparation for the launch of UTRGV in August 2015. Cigarroa and Bailey spent time with faculty, staff and students at both campuses Wednesday to answer questions about the transition process.
Havidan Rodriguez, Ph.D., will serve as UTPA's president ad interim. Rodriguez is currently provost and vice president for academic affairs at UTPA and is a tenured professor in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology. William R. Fannin, Ph.D., will lead UTB as president ad interim. Fannin has served as provost and vice president of academic affairs for UT Permian Basin since 1996. Prior to that role, Fannin was dean of the College of Business at Idaho State University.
See below for answers to frequently asked questions regarding the transition leadership.
Q&A regarding transition leadership at UT Brownsville and UT Pan American
Why do we need an interim president?
As UTB President Juliet Garcia and UTPA President Robert Nelsen will be fully engaged in their new roles with the UT System by this fall, the two institutions will still need presidential leadership until UTRGV achieves its accreditation and UTB and UTPA are abolished. In fact, this level of leadership is required by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC), the main accrediting entity for universities in the south. While UTRGV President Guy Bailey and his transition team are focused on launching the new institution, they will work closely with these interim presidents to ensure students remain the top priority at the current campuses.
When will the interim president roles begin and when will they end?
The interim presidents will start in early August to ensure a smooth transition for the beginning of the 2014-2015 academic year. We anticipate the interim president roles ending shortly after UTRGV achieves its accreditation and the current universities are abolished.
Will there be one interim role for both campuses or one for each?
The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools requires each campus to have a president in order to retain accreditation and we will abide by that requirement.
Where will the interim presidents work? Will they have an office on campus?
Yes, the interim presidents will assume the Office of the President on their respective campuses and work closely with existing staff from those offices and across each institution.
What will the official title be for these roles?
The official title will be President ad interim.
What is their focus/responsibility, and how much authority will they have?
The role of the interim presidents will be twofold. Their first priority will be to ensure the day-to-day operations of the existing institutions continue with minimal impact to our students, faculty and staff. Their second priority will be to assist President Bailey and his transition team in launching UTRGV. They will assume the same level of authority granted to the current presidents as provided by state laws, Regents Rules and UT System policies. They will also preside over events, such as the 2015 commencement ceremonies.
What role will the interim president(s) play in leading the application/hiring process?
The interim presidents will be involved with the operational aspects of the current institutions. All hiring decisions for UTRGV will be made by Dr. Bailey and his designated leadership team.
Will there still be a provost at each campus?
Yes. As each campus requires a president to ensure continuing operations, each campus will need a provost role as well to provide leadership for academic operations.
Why was the provost from UTPA selected for the interim president role and why wasn't the provost from UTB selected?
Because of the level of institutional knowledge and expertise of the existing provosts on each campus, it made sense to consider these individuals for the interim president role. Dr. Havidan Rodriguez has been selected to serve as president ad interim for UTPA for this very reason. Dr. Alan Artibise has served UTB exceedingly well in his role as provost but has announced his upcoming retirement.
Who will serve as provost of UTPA?
The UTPA interim president will appoint a provost.
How was the president ad interim for UTB vetted? Was this different from how Dr. Rodriguez was vetted?
Both were vetted in the same way based upon their experience, willingness and ability to serve as institutional leaders during this time of transition.
What will the relationship be with the new UTRGV president and the transition team?
The interim presidents will work closely with both Dr. Bailey and the transition team to bring the best of what exists on each campus today into the planning for UTRGV. The interim presidents will be key players in the transition process.
What will happen to the two interim presidents after the launch of UTRGV?
Like all current staff at UTB and UTPA, the interim presidents will have the opportunity to apply for positions at UTRGV, other UT System institutions or outside the UT System. The interim position does not guarantee employment for either interim president.
How can we, as employees, help the interim president?
There are three main things you can do right now to help your campus' interim president:
1. Continue to complete your work with the same high level of commitment, passion and integrity you have brought to your institution thus far;
2. Continue to collaborate within your institution and across institutions;
3. Be patient. These interim presidents will need some time to learn their roles at their respective institutions as well as how they will support Dr. Bailey in launching UTRGV.