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Spring Convocation Highlights New Master Plan and Semester Retention

Click here to view Spring Convocation
Click here to view the Master Plan presentation slides

BROWNSVILLE, TEXAS – JANUARY 13, 2014 – Faculty and staff members at The University of Texas at Brownsville got their first general look at a master plan that will transform the campus as it evolves into the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley starting in mid-2015.

Dr. Juliet V. Garcia, President and Dr. Alan F.J. Artibise, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, talked about UTB’s new master plan at Spring Convocation on Friday, Jan. 10.

The master plan first related to promoted seven core values that guided the planning process: student centered, accessible, innovative, interdisciplinary, responsible and democratic.

UT Brownsville President Dr. Juliet Garcia talks about the campus master plan during the staff convocation on Friday, Jan. 10, 2014 at the Gran Salon.

Three distinct themes emerged from UTB’s mission and core values that guided all aspects of the plan:

  • Be regionally focused and globally significant
  • Own the region’s geography
  • Make the campus an environmental laboratory

The master plan includes three stages over a planning period through 2028 with the campus enrollment growing from almost 9,000 students in 2016 to 20,000 students by 2028 when all 320 acres are fully utilized.

“When you want to do big things, you need many people to help, so we reached out to many in the community to help us develop ideas and strategies for the design of our new master plan,” said Garcia. “Key among them was the Brownsville Public Utility Board, the city of Brownsville planning department, mobility and transit authorities, and, of course, the Office of Facilities and Planning at UT System were all instrumental in developing the master plan.”

The plan also includes:

  • Interstate 69 E will divide the western sideof the campus for academics and the eastern side of campus for athletic fields and residential housing
  • An “avenida” will be built connecting the west and east ends of campus
  • The campus will be divided into six neighborhoods with each having a unique focal point

“Walkability is an important part of our campus planning, and there are three natural areas where the walkability is about 10 minutes within each circle, with the ability to walk from edge to edge in about 25 minutes,” said Garcia.

The first structure people will see completed by fall 2016 is a $54 million building planned next to Main, formerly the Education and Business Complex. This money is the first Permanent University Fund money allocated to the Rio Grande Valley as part of the merger with The University of Texas – Pan American in Edinburg and the creation of UT RGV.

The master plan will be presented in a variety of forums on and off campus throughout spring semester.

Students begin spring semester on Monday, Jan. 13. The university expects to have 90 percent of the 8,420 students that enrolled for fall semester to take classes for the spring semester.

“More of them are on a successful track, with the number of students in good academic standing on the rise,” said Garcia. “If we look at the UTB students from fall 2012, 88 percent were in good academic standing. This fall, 91 percent of our students completed the semester in good academic standing. Each semester counts for these students. They are not worried about transition or consolidation. They are focused on the 16 weeks in front of them.”

Members of UTB’s 2013 NAIA national champion women’s volleyball team rang the university’s bell to end Spring Convocation.​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​


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