First MOU Signing Ceremony Between STC and UTRGV

MEDIA ADVISORY – First MOU Signing Ceremony between South Texas College & University of Texas Rio Grande Valley will be on August 10.

WHAT: A ceremony during which a memorandum of understanding (MOU) will be recognized and signed in order to facilitate student success through seamless transfer from South Texas College (STC) to the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV).  The MOU will create a framework for students and their advisors, in order for them to understand how courses will move between the two institutions.

WHERE: South Texas College – Pecan Campus

Rainbow Room (Library Bldg. F 2nd Floor)

3201 W. Pecan Blvd.

McAllen, TX 78501

WHEN: Monday, August 10, 2015

10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.

WHO: Leadership from both institutions will be in attendance including South Texas College President Dr. Shirley A. Reed and University of Texas Rio Grande Valley President Dr. Guy Bailey.

MEDIA: Representatives from South Texas College and the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley will be available for interviews and photos before and after the ceremony. Your RSVPs via phone or email are appreciated.549449c133fdd.imageSTC Logo Vertical


UTRGV to Open Restaurants with Varied Menus

Construction workers at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley’s Brownsville campus are working quickly to build three new hangouts for students by the start of the fall semester.

The projects include a new restaurant called “The Grid” at the library, which will sell foods such as sandwiches, salads, yogurts and coffees; a restaurant called the “SubConnection,” a Subway-like chain located at the Student Union; and a restaurant currently referred to as “The Grille” also at the Student Union, which will serve daily lunch specials such as meatloaf, pizza and burgers.

“We’re working with contractors and equipment suppliers to be able to hopefully have at least one of these three venues open by Aug. 31,” said Roberto Cantu, executive director of auxiliary business services at UTRGV.

The decision to add three new eateries was made after surveying the needs of the student body, Cantu said.

In addition to the new restaurants, the university is looking into new transportation options for…

Read more at The Valley Morning Star.

STITCH Collaboration Brings Preventive Health Care to Valley

UTRGV Photo by Kristela Garza. Pictured: UTRGV medical resident Dr. Charles Lewis checks blood pressure for residents of the Indian Hills colonia during a recent STITCH health care fair.

UTRGV Photo by Kristela Garza. Pictured: UTRGV medical resident Dr. Charles Lewis checks blood pressure for residents of the Indian Hills colonia during a recent STITCH health care fair.

The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley School of Medicine has launched an interdisciplinary approach to providing preventive health care for Valley residents who are underserved.

UTRGV, in partnership with the Hidalgo County Health Department and a host of other collaborators including hospitals, nonprofit organizations and educational institutions, has started offering health screenings and other services to Valley residents who live in the colonia of Indian Hills in Hidalgo County, and in Cameron Park in Cameron County.

The colonia health program is part of UTRGV’s South Texas Interprofessional Team Collaborative for Health, known as STITCH, which involves representatives from a variety of professions including researchers, clinicians, promotoras and others, in providing care to the community.

The colonias were selected based on their size, need for care, level of infrastructure and other criteria set by the state.

UTRGV and the Hidalgo County Department of Health on July 11 kicked off the health care program at Indian Hills with free screenings, including blood pressure monitoring, vision and hearing testing, immunizations…

Read more at The Valley Morning Star.

Valley Events Happening on 4th of July


South Padre Island’s annual “Fireworks over the Bay”

Starting at 9:15pm sharp on Saturday July 4th. A barge in the center of the Bay releases its payload into the summer. Best viewing is Bayside between Palm and Red Snapper Streets. With the firework’s lights reflecting off the water, it’s a breathtaking display that will make your July 4th weekend unforgettable. Sponsored by the SPI Convention & Visitors Bureau. For more information, phone: (956) 761-6433 or go to

Information courtesy of


Concert in the Sky Fireworks Extravaganza

Presented by HEB on Saturday, July 4th beginning approximately at 9 p.m. in Municipal Park. Listen to patriotic music on local radio stations while watching the fireworks display and enjoy food concessions and kiddie rides in the park throughout the evening. for more information.

Visit the UTRGV’s tumblr to explore more events happening today.

Program Develops Future Med Students

549449c133fdd.imageThe University of Texas Rio Grande Valley is slated to open in August with a competency based educational that prepares motivated students to begin accelerating their careers as early as middle school.

UTRGV will be the first university in the UT System to adopt this innovative pathway into the medical profession.

Beginning in the fall, the UTRGV Biomedical Science Department will lead the initiative of competency-based learning through the Middle School to Medical School program.

Amy Shackelford, director of Strategic Partnerships for the UT System’s Institute for Transformational Learning, the partnering institution, said the institute is working closely with existing UTRGV staff to have curriculum matched to competency-based standards.

“With the institute for transformational learning, this Bachelor’s of Science in Biomedical Sciences that we are working on with UTRGV is really the first competency-based undergraduate degree that is going to be adopted by any campus in the UT System,” Shackelford said.

The partnership started when the institute began working with the UTRGV School of Medicine in their accreditation process and mapping out their first two years. Shackelford said once all of that was done, developing a competency-based educational degree seemed like a “natural transition.”

“We wanted to make that trajectory, if you will, as clear and successful for them as possible,” Shackelford said.

Competency-based education is a “revolutionary” approach to teaching and learning that identifies explicit learning objectives and creates learning pathways that allow…

Read more at The Valley Morning Star.

Hammond: TSTC is the Gold Standard for Higher Ed in Texas

TSTC-Harlingen President Stella Garcia and Texas Association of Business President Bill Hammond met at a Harlingen Area Chamber of Commerce luncheon. Photo Courtesy of The Rio Grande Guardian.

TSTC-Harlingen President Stella Garcia and Texas Association of Business President Bill Hammond met at a Harlingen Area Chamber of Commerce luncheon. Photo Courtesy of The Rio Grande Guardian.

The president of the Texas Association of Business has given a shout out to TSTC and said other four-year institutions, such as UT-Rio Grande Valley, could learn a lot from the technical college.

Bill Hammond said he was impressed with all the Texas State Technical College campuses, including the one in Harlingen, because of the high rate of placements for students leaving college. Indeed, Hammond pointed out that funding for TSTC is based on how well it does in educating students on time and helping them find employment after their coursework is finished.

“Is anyone from TSTC here today?” Hammond asked, while giving a speech at a luncheon hosted by the Harlingen Area Chamber of Commerce. One person raised a hand – Stella Garcia, president of TSTC-Harlingen. “They are the Gold Standard. These guys are the Gold Standard,” Hammond said, to loud applause from the audience.”

Hammond’s organization has for many years pushed the Legislature to make more of its funding for higher education institutions be based on attainment outcomes, such as students graduating on time. “We asked for just ten percent of funding for four-year schools to be based on outcomes,” Hammond said, of a TAB legislative agenda item this session. The initiative failed to win majority support in the Legislature.

“One 100 percent of their (TSTC) funding from the state is based on job placement. Not graduation, but placement. That is the model for the future and I salute TSTC,” Hammond said. “They do a great job across the state, not just here in the Valley but all over the state and they are very relevant. What they do is they teach kids, young people, for jobs that exist.”

Hammond asked Garcia how many anthropology majors TSTC runs. Garcia said zero. He then asked how many journalism majors TSTC runs. Again, the answer was zero. “What they do, they cater to the needs of the employer, which means the kids are going to be successful. They give them the skills they need to be…

Read more at The Rio Grande Guardian.

Dr. Havidán Rodríguez Featured on National Magazine Cover

outlookcoverFor demonstrating excellence in his profession, Dr. Havidán Rodríguez, a distinguished leader in South Texas higher education, is the featured cover story for the July 15, 2015, issue of the national publication, The Hispanic Outlook in Higher Education Magazine.

Rodríguez, president ad interim of The University of Texas-Pan American and founding provost and executive vice president for Academic Affairs at The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, landed on the magazine cover thanks to a March 2015 accolade – the prestigious Alfredo G. de los Santos Jr. Distinguished Leadership in Higher Education Award – presented to him by the American Association of Hispanics in Higher Education.

The award honored his dedication to higher education in his multiple roles as outstanding administrator, researcher and mentor to students, faculty and fellow colleagues at UTPA and UTRGV. The award is named after De los Santos Jr., a research professor at Arizona State University regarded as a national leader, mentor and champion of higher education.

Rodríguez’s ability to motivate people and give them a vision of what they can accomplish prompted Marilyn Gilroy, Hispanic Outlook’s executive editor, and staff to choose the UTPA/UTRGV leader as their cover story. Gilroy said the 25-year-old publication has a tradition of highlighting Hispanic leaders in academia and knew Rodríguez was the model higher education leader to spotlight.

“Dr. Rodríguez stands out not only because of his extensive professional accomplishments, but also because…


UTPA to Begin Construction on $70M Building

Vertical-UTPA-LogoThe University to Texas-Pan American, soon to be UT Rio Grande Valley, received the final green light to build what officials say will be the most modern building in the entire UT System.

The UT Board of Regents approved funding for several projects back in November, including the $70 million addition to UTPA’s science building located east of the library. At a May 14 board meeting, college officials presented the project’s final plans and received approval to move on with them.

“The building completes the master plan that was done a number of years ago to complete the existing science building in campus,” said Michael O’Donnell, associate vice chancellor for facilities planning and construction for the UT System. “It will be the most modern and strategic facility in all the system.”

The four-story, 115,000-square-foot addition will complete a 272,000-square-foot building dedicated to research and education in STEM fields — Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.

The entire building will house 16 research labs, four teaching labs, 11 workstations, and 42 faculty offices.

Some of the add-ons in the facility include a biosafety levels laboratory and high-end telecommunication capabilities to connect to other classrooms or research labs throughout UTRGV to facilitate online courses and collaboration, O’Donnell said.

The plan is to have space for about 168 researchers, O’Donnell said, and allow the university to prepare more students in STEM careers.

Research in this building will focus on biomedical sciences, biology and some chemistry, while the teaching labs will focus on physics and geology, said Sadiq Shah, vice provost for research and sponsored projects at UTPA.

The building’s main purpose is to instill collaboration of students and staff, he said, and inspire research development that could benefit the entire Valley.

The current three-story building will also need to be modified and remodeled to…

Read more at The Valley Morning Star.

Regents Approve Tuition Rates for UTRGV

The University of Texas System Board of Regents approved a tuition plan for UT Rio Grande Valley today that eliminates traditional student fees and provides guaranteed tuition rates aimed to benefit students and their families.

The tuition plan, developed by a task force comprised of UTRGV staff and prospective students, is structured to promote student access and success, while ensuring affordability, transparency and predictability.

“Those were our goals and our guiding principles during this entire process,” said UTRGV President Guy Bailey. “I wanted students to know exactly what they were going to pay – not be surprised by hidden fees or added costs as if often the case – to be able to plan their future knowing the price would remain the same as long as they graduate on time, and to know we will do everything in our power to keep a college education affordable and accessible for them, while providing them with a world-class learning experience.”

As of this week, UTRGV has admitted more than 3,600 freshmen, Bailey said, and 86 percent of them were offered financial aid packages that cover 100 percent of their tuition and fees.

“The complete restructuring of tuition and fees triggered additional needs-based funding,” Bailey said. “That allows us to completely cover college costs for most of our incoming freshmen and I could not be happier about that.”

The proposal approved by Regents mandates a guaranteed tuition plan for undergraduate students that encourages a timely path to graduation. Students continuing their education from UT Brownsville or UT Pan American will be assessed rates based on their college start and prior hours earned.

For example, continuing students with 90 completed credit hours or more will receive a one-year guaranteed rate; students with between 60 and 89 hours will receive a two-year guaranteed rate; those with between 30 and 59 credits will receive a three-year guaranteed rate; and those with 29 credit hours or less will receive a four-year guaranteed rate. Incoming freshmen and students that began college during the 2014-15 academic year are also eligible for a four-year guaranteed rate, regardless of college credit already earned.

For graduate students, those pursuing a master’s degree will be provided a two-year guarantee and doctoral students will operate under a four-year guarantee. If a student completes his or her bachelor’s degree ahead of schedule, they are eligible to apply the unused guarantee plan time toward graduate school.

Tuition rates will be capped at 12 hours, meaning a student taking a course load larger than 12 credit hours will incur no additional tuition charges.

UTRGV has set aside roughly $4 million to minimize the impact of a tuition increase, continuing the legacy of affordable access to higher education in the region. Although the average undergraduate financial aid applicant would incur a Fall 2015 out-of-pocket increase of $285 over the Fall 2014 rates, the institution will develop a program so that no students with family incomes below a certain level are faced with out-of-pocket costs for tuition and fees. Also, a summer bridge program is being deployed to help ensure that all college-worthy students are prepared for university work.

Bailey expects that the majority of UTRGV students will pay nothing in tuition or fees, with the cost covered through means such as…

Read more at the UTRGV Website.