A Message from Dr. Alvarez McHatton and Dr. Grewal
March 19, 2018
Many of you have attended one of Dr. Bailey’s recent presentations. He has been meeting with each college and administrative unit to lay out some critical trends in higher education and how these factors impact UTRGV. Perhaps most importantly, he has laid out plans for how we can address those challenges and actually thrive if we focus on recruiting students, retaining students, and creating educational opportunities for students.
To continue this conversation and to position UTRGV to address these challenges, we will be engaging Ruffalo Noel Levitz to facilitate the development of UTRGV’s first Strategic Enrollment Plan. The timing is ideal. We have completed our first Strategic Plan and have just reorganized academic affairs and research to address both the challenges that UTRGV faces and the opportunities we have.
To this end, we will immediately kick off efforts in support of and aligned with our strategic enrollment planning efforts. This work will involve faculty and staff from across the university and will focus on undergraduate and graduate education.
Specifically, we will launch efforts to study
1. Retention and graduation rates
Central to Dr. Bailey’s presentation is the need to ensure our students progress through their program of study in a timely manner and ultimately graduate. There are multiple advantages to receiving a college education, including impact on social mobility. Further, we know that in our region, when our students receive a college degree it has a profound effect on the entire family. With student success one of our core priorities, a primary initiative moving forward will be to engage faculty, staff, and students in developing and implementing a plan of action to ensure retention and graduation of our students, along with progress monitoring to assess the success of our efforts.
2. Developing new degree and certificate programs
Expanding educational opportunity is one of the top priorities for UTRGV. Strategically developed new degree and certificate programs can help retain existing students, recruit new students locally and globally, impact students’ social mobility, increase research productivity, transform our regional economy, move us closer to our emerging research university ambition, and strengthen UTRGV’s financial position. During this year, we will engage faculty, students, university leadership, potential employers and other stakeholders in identifying potential new degree and certificate programs, developing timelines, and aligning and cultivating resources to market and support the new programs. We look forward to working with you in building UTRGV as an anchor institution of the Rio Grande Valley through an innovative mix of new educational and research programs.
3. Maximizing Campus Assets
UTRGV is a distributed campus, spanning approximately 150 miles. We recognize that each campus has specific strengths and assets that we should build upon. In the coming year, we will engage students, faculty, and staff in determining how to move forward such that our offerings take full advantage of those strengths. Program distribution is one area that we will focus on as we work to ensure that students are able to complete their core at either campus. We will explore whether each campus should have signature programs (e.g., Coastal Studies) while also identifying program offerings that span both campuses. This information will be transparent so students can make informed educational decisions.
Your input and participation is integral to our success on these initiatives. We look forward to working together as we bring these and other initiatives to fruition.
Patricia Alvarez McHatton
Executive Vice President for
Academic Affairs, Student Success
and P-16 Integration
Executive Vice President for
Research, Graduate Studies, and
New Program Development