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If UHV switches systems, what programs would A&M offer?

By Gabe Semenza
March 13, 2011 at 10:03 p.m.
Updated March 12, 2011 at 9:13 p.m.


WANT TO KNOW MORE?

Have questions about the proposed legislation?

If so, contact Advocate Public Service Editor Gabe Semenza at gsemenza@vicad.com or 361-580-6519. Semenza will collect and answer questions for this ongoing series.

In the fourth part of an ongoing series, the Advocate answers questions related to HB 2556, legislation filed last week by Rep. Geanie Morrison.

If passed, the bill would change the University of Houston-Victoria's name to Texas A&M University-Victoria, and move everything and everyone under its umbrella into the A&M system.

Q: If the switch occurs, what new programs would A&M offer?

A: Texas A&M University is renowned for its agricultural and engineering programs. Would the A&M System approve those programs here?

Jason Cook, spokesman for the A&M System, said it is premature to answer such questions. Since Morrison filed her bill, the system has released only a brief statement and declined to answer specific questions.

As for programs the system might approve, Don Smith, the interim UHV president, offered his take.

"I don't know," he said. "A&M could extend a program to Victoria or any other location if it were willing to do that, but the degree program would remain with College Station."

If Texas A&M University-Victoria, on the other hand, desired to add programs already offered in College Station, the school would have to follow protocol.

The university would first have to receive approval from the A&M System, then a regional accrediting body and finally a state coordinating board of directors. The school would also have to hire specialized faculty.

"Nothing would automatically become a program here," Smith said. "If, for example, the university looked at if a nuclear engineering program would work in Victoria, that program would have to be approved, and that would take years."

This protocol reflects the exact procedure the school undergoes now to add academic programs.

Q: Our daughter was accepted at UHV for fall 2011. Will she still be admitted if the system switches to A&M, or will she have to reapply?

A: Smith said students already admitted to UHV would also be seamlessly admitted to the newly named school.

If UHV switches systems, students already accepted would not have to reapply, he said.

Q: Why did Morrison request a certain state entity to settle disputes?

A: In her bill, Morrison requests the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board to resolve all disputes - between the UH and A&M systems - during the system switch.

The state education board would serve as an intermediary, Morrison said, to ensure students, faculty and day-to-day operations are disrupted to the least extent possible.

"This is standard language and was included in the Angelo State bill," she added.

The Angelo State bill, filed in 2007, was the first and only Texas bill to successfully achieve a university system switch in which the host system opposed the move.

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