President of U. of Texas at Brownsville Describes 'Hybrid' University

Harold F. Schiffman haroldfs at
Mon Mar 5 15:05:27 UTC 2007

Monday, March 5, 2007

President of U. of Texas at Brownsville Describes 'Hybrid' University at
Governing-Board Group's Meeting


Juliet V. Garcia, president of the University of Texas at Brownsville,
believes American college students will increasingly come to resemble the
nontraditional, minority, and, most notably, Hispanic students who attend
her university. Ms. Garcia, in delivering the opening plenary speech on
Sunday at the annual meeting here of the Association of Governing Boards
of Universities and Colleges, described her experience of leading the
university in the 15 years since it was created and built "on top" of the
campus of Texas Southmost College, a two-year institution she had led for
the previous six years. "Our campus is actually one block from the border,
and we're trying to buy that block," she said.

As a "hybrid" university that straddles two cultures and features a
partnership between the two institutions, Ms. Garcia said, Brownsville has
had advantages in responding to the shifting higher-education marketplace,
as well as the needs of its surrounding community, which is among the
poorest in the nation. She told the meeting's attendees how, in about
1990, Mary Rose Cardenas, who was then chair of the governing board of
Texas Southmost College, had met with the chancellor of the University of
Texas system to push for the creation of a new four-year university on the
campus. Ms. Garcia said the chancellor at the time, Hans M. Mark, was
resistant until Ms. Cardenas said: "Either you partner with us or we'll
call Texas A&M University."

The historic partnership began in 1992, Ms. Garcia said. Since then, the
joint campus has grown to 380 acres from 44, and now enrolls 12,000
students. The university will begin its first doctoral-degree program in
the fall, she said. The association's meeting, which continues today and
Tuesday, has 900 attendees, an association record. Of those, 415 are
members of governing boards. Session topics include the role boards can
play in improving student access, affordability, economic development,
board accountability, and intercollegiate athletics.

Copyright  2006 by The Chronicle of Higher Education


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