February 23, 2001
Volume XXXIV, No. 8

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Regents approve planning for joint programs in life sciences with UTSA

The University of Texas System Board of Regents on Feb. 15 approved planning authority for graduate-level academic programs in the life sciences to be offered jointly by the Health Science Center and UTSA.

Under development for the past year, the proposed programs fall into areas identified by the two institutions as having the greatest potential to benefit their individual educational and research missions as well as the needs of the South Texas region.

In addition to master's-level programs in physics and teacher education, the collaboration proposes both master's and doctoral degrees in eight areas: bioengineering, biology, communication disorders, computational biology or bioinformatics, linguistics, music psychology, neurosciences and social work.

"These joint programs will represent a valuable and exciting enhancement of educational opportunities available to students in San Antonio and South Texas," said Tom Loeffler, chairman of the Board of Regents. "The board wishes to commend these two great institutions for their collaboration on this very important step in the advancement of their missions."

Chancellor R. D. Burck commented: "Collaboration on these academic programs demonstrates the tremendous synergy that results from pooling the resources of U. T. System institutions. The System administration will continue to assist these efforts in every way possible."

UTSA President Dr. Ricardo Romo said: "All of the programs will better position San Antonio to meet the demand for a professional workforce capable of supporting the emerging biotechnology and bioengineering industry. The programs are essential to UTSA's long-range goal of attaining flagship status in research within the state and a higher profile regionally and nationally among predominantly Hispanic-serving institutions."

Dr. Francisco Cigarroa, president of the Health Science Center, said: "Leaders from both our institutions have carefully considered these new degree offerings. The new programs address San Antonio's desire to become a leading research city. We are poised to enter a new era in higher education in this city. By uniting the research muscle of the Health Science Center and UTSA, we ensure that more South Texas students will pursue advanced degrees in the life sciences and will become competitive participants in the life sciences workforce."

The package of joint programs will now go before the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board for review. Once approved, the degree plans would be implemented over a four-year period.