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Thursday , November 15 2018
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UT Board of Regents Honor Outstanding UTEP Faculty Members

The University of Texas System Board of Regents announced that UTEP faculty members Giulio Francia, Ph.D., and Irma Montelongo, Ph.D., were among the 2018 Regents’ Outstanding Teaching Award recipients.

The Regents will recognize Francia, assistant professor of biological sciences, and Montelongo, associate professor of practice/online program coordinator for Chicano/a Studies, during a reception Aug. 9, 2018, in Austin, Texas.

This is the 10th year that the Regents have presented these highly prestigious and competitive awards of excellence to faculty members from its eight academic and six health institutions. Each of this year’s 27 honorees will receive $25,000.

“We are very pleased that The University of Texas System Board of Regents has recognized two of our exceptional faculty members,” University President Diana Natalicio said. “This well-deserved acknowledgement of Dr. Giulio Francia and Dr. Irma Montelongo is a source of great pride to all of us. They are powerful examples of the many talented and passionate UTEP faculty members whose deep commitment to teaching profoundly impacts our students as they develop and successfully pursue their highest aspirations.”

Carol A. Parker, provost and vice president for academic affairs, said this recognition brings great pride to The University of Texas at El Paso, where faculty commitment to student success is well known.

“This Regents’ recognition further validates UTEP’s commitment to exceptional instruction in the classroom and our faculty’s ongoing dedication to our students, our community and our mission of access and excellence,” Provost Parker said. “I’m honored to work alongside our two 2018 Regents’ Outstanding Teaching Award winners. I applaud this acknowledgement.”

Francia grew up in Mozambique and Swaziland in southeastern Africa. He earned his bachelor’s degree in biochemistry from the University of Bristol and his Ph.D. in biology from Cancer Research UK, formerly known as Imperial Cancer Research Fund, in London, England. He worked in cancer research at the University of Toronto, Canada, before taking his first teaching job at UTEP in 2012.

“When I learned about the ROTA, I felt what would best be described as bewilderment,” Francia said. “So many UTEP colleagues and friends, and students, had helped prepare my submission. I could now call them to once again say ‘thanks,’ and let them know that their help had earned another recognition for our teaching efforts at UTEP. And that was quite a marvelous feeling.”

Montelongo earned her higher education degrees from UTEP. She received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in history in 2001 and 2003, respectively, and her doctorate in borderlands history in 2014. The El Paso native began to teach at UTEP as a graduate student. Since then she has held many titles and earned many state, community and University awards.

“I owe a great deal of thanks to so many people who have mentored and supported me along the way, but I especially owe thanks to my students who inspire me on a daily basis,” Montelongo said. “It’s an amazing feeling to wake up every day and know that I will be spending the majority of my day on the UTEP campus collaborating with a brilliant group of individuals, students, staff, and faculty. I am proud to be part of the UTEP family as we continue to make a difference in the lives of our students, our community and our region.”

Nominees undergo a series of rigorous evaluations by students, peer faculty and external reviewers. The review panels consider a range of activities and criteria in their evaluations of a candidate’s teaching performance, including classroom expertise, curricula quality, innovative course development and student learning outcomes.

“We are indebted to these educators who exemplify great teaching on every level,” Board of Regents Chairman Sara Martinez Tucker said. “These are educators, researchers and health care professionals who – no matter how long they’ve been teaching – never stop thinking about new and innovative ways to enhance the learning experience.”

The Regents’ established the award in 2008 to recognize faculty members who deliver the highest quality of instruction in the classroom, laboratory, field and online. These awards are among the largest in the nation to recognize faculty performance. The Regents have awarded more than $19 million to 700 UT educators in the last 10 years.

Including Francia and Montelongo, 70 faculty members from UTEP have received the award since its inception.

UT Board of Regents Approves Tuition, Fee Increase; UTEP’s $197 Adder Starts Fall ’18

The University of Texas System Board of Regents approved tuition and fee increase proposals for all eight UT System academic institutions including The University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) on Monday, March 19, 2018.

The approved increases range from one to eight percent. UTEP;s base tuition increase was approved at 5 percent, a $197 increase for fall 2018 and an additional $208 increase in fall 2019 for resident undergraduate students.

“We are pleased the Regents approved this increase so we can continue to provide our students with the best possible education in the region,” said Gary Edens, Ed.D., vice president for student affairs. “This increase will be used to boost course offerings, retain quality faculty, offer additional financial aid resources and further develop our academic programs.”

A particular emphasis will be placed on faculty recruitment and retention, Edens said.

“As UTEP’s enrollment grows, additional courses are needed to meet the demand,” he said. “The tuition increase will offset reductions in state appropriations, but also ensure that we are providing high-quality academic programs.”

The increases approved across the UT System range from $6 to $306 per semester in fall 2018 for in-state undergraduate tuition, depending on the institution, followed by increases of $100 to $300 per semester in the fall of 2019.

Differential designated tuition will be in place for UTEP students in the colleges of Business Administration, Engineering, Health Sciences and the School of Nursing to cover the higher faculty salary and operating costs associated with these academic areas. These colleges are also those whose highly competitive degrees typically command higher starting salaries for graduates.

For more details, visit utep.edu/tuition.

UT System Regents Will Consider Raising Tuition Monday

Attending college is set to become slightly more expensive for undergraduates at all eight of the University of Texas System’s academic institutions.

The system’s Board of Regents will on Monday consider upping the cost of tuition and fees at each college they oversee by up to 8.5 percent for in-state undergraduates. Most schools have proposed increases in the 1 percent to 7 percent range, which, if approved, would add hundreds of additional dollars to students’ tuition bills.

The hikes range from 0.1 percent for in-state undergraduates at the University of Texas at San Antonio to 8.5 percent for students at the University of Texas of the Permian Basin. The new rates would be in place for the fall 2018 semester, with another increase set to take effect the following academic year.

Texan undergraduates at the system’s flagship UT-Austin campus would face a 2 percent tuition hike next fall under the proposed increase – equaling about $200 extra dollars each year. Out-of-state students would pay about $700 more.

Briefing materials provided in advance of the governing board’s meeting said the institutions don’t “anticipate public opposition to the proposed actions.” The documents cited economic factors and declining state support as reasons the tuition increases are necessary, and many of the schools said they’d put the new revenue toward student success initiatives, faculty recruitment and infrastructure needs.

The shrinking percentage of money coming from state coffers, the materials say, have continued to pose a “significant” challenge for the system’s institutions – some of the most well-known in Texas. Most other university systems in the state, including the Texas A&M University System, have also increased tuition in recent months.

Over the last decade and a half, state appropriations have dwindled from around $8,000 per full-time student at UT System schools, adjusted for inflation, to around $6,000. The cost of tuition and fees paid for by students and their parents crept up during that time from roughly $5,000 to $8,000 in 2016.

But the briefing materials say the system’s institutions remain committed to “keeping college affordable while keeping debt in check.” The schools, on average, cover more than 90 percent of the tuition and fees for students whose families make less than $80,000 per year, and most UT undergraduates tend to graduate with $3,000 less in debt than the national average.

The institutions got feedback from students through town hall meetings, forums and emails, and school leaders met with local legislators to “develop a shared understanding of why tuition increases are needed,” according to the briefing materials.

Some of the six health institutions overseen by the system have also proposed tuition and fee increases for the next five years.

The system’s governing board is scheduled to meet at 2 p.m.

Disclosure: The University of Texas System, the University of Texas at Austin and the Texas A&M System have been financial supporters of The Texas Tribune, a nonprofit, nonpartisan news organization that is funded in part by donations from members, foundations and corporate sponsors. Financial supporters play no role in the Tribune’s journalism. Find a complete list of them here

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Author:  SHANNON NAJMABADI – The Texas Tribune

McRaven: UT System Schools Need Tuition Hikes

University of Texas System Chancellor Bill McRaven said Wednesday that most of the eight universities under his authority collect less tuition than their peers, and need to raise rates to remain competitive.

State appropriations for the schools have shrunk this century, McRaven told the UT System Board of Regents at its regular meeting in Galveston, causing low faculty salaries and preventing the universities from moving up in the rankings, he said.

“The bottom line for me is the presidents believe that this revenue is needed to support their universities,” McRaven said.

It will be up to the regents to approve the tuition hikes, though the board already gave a preliminary go-ahead to consider increases late last year. Final approval will be up for a vote later this spring.

The increases would range from $74 per semester at UT-Rio Grande Valley to $393 per semester at UT-Dallas. UT-Austin, the flagship, would have a $152 per semester bump. That would generate $31.4 million in new revenue for UT-Austin in the next two academic years. The new money would go toward increasing faculty salaries and programs designed to increase UT-Austin’s four-year graduation rate.

The proposals were met with a mixed reaction from the regents. Some asked whether UT System schools are being pushed hard enough to cut costs before they are allowed to raise prices for their students. Others asked whether administrative costs for the universities are too high. And concerns were raised that the increases may be difficult for students to stomach as low oil prices threaten to slow down the Texas economy.

Regent Alex Cranberg hinted that he thought the issue needed to be studied further.

“It feels like we are getting sold on a proposal instead of getting the pros and cons of an [increase],” Cranberg said.

But Vice Chairman Steve Hicks defended the idea, saying he hadn’t heard any student outcry on the subject. Hicks said he had met with student leaders in recent weeks and none of the students even brought up tuition.

“They as a group are very supportive of the idea and felt like they were very engaged and involved,” Hicks said.

If the UT System hikes costs, it won’t be alone. Regents approved a 2.2 percent bump at Texas A&M University last year, and other schools have followed suit. Meanwhile, Lt. Gov.Dan Patrick has been critical of the cost hikes, noting that state appropriations for higher education increased last year. Patrick included tuition costs in the list of issues he wants the Texas Senate to study before the 2017 session.

Disclosure: Texas A&M University, The University of Texas at Austin and the University of Texas-Dallas are corporate sponsors of The Texas Tribune. A complete list of Tribune donors and sponsors can be viewed here.

Author:  – The Texas Tribune

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