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Voted Off the Island

By Colleen Flaherty, Inside Higher Ed

The new University of Texas in the Rio Grande Valley, set to open in fall 2015, has lofty goals: expand access to comprehensive higher education in South Texas and become one of the biggest and most successful Hispanic-serving institutions in the country.

Most faculty members from the two existing institutions that will be dissolved to make way for Rio Grande Valley support those aims. But as the new university’s inaugural year approaches, professors at the University of Texas at Brownsville and the University of Texas Pan-American – who will make up most of the faculty at the new institution – say they’re increasingly worried about shared governance during the transition.

Case in point: Last week, some 25 tenured and tenure-track professors at Brownsville and Pan American received letters informing them that they had not made the cut after an initial faculty reapplication process. There are enough tenure-line jobs for everyone currently at those two institutions to work at Rio Grande Valley, but faculty members at the two feeder institutions still had to reapply for their jobs. While an overwhelming majority were approved, two dozen were not. The reason? They hadn’t met any number of criteria the university’s new administration set for automatic approval.

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