Recap: UT System Board of Regents meeting, Aug. 22-23

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Science Building, UTSA Main Campus

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(Aug. 28, 2012) -- The University of Texas System Board of Regents met Aug. 22-23 in Austin and addressed a variety of agenda items related to the UT System's 15 academic and health institutions. The board took the following actions:

The Board of Regents recognized 65 faculty members for excellence in teaching including seven UTSA recipients: Aaron Cassill (Biology), David Han (Management Science and Statistics), Randall Manteufel (Mechanical Engineering), Elizabeth Pate (Interdisciplinary Learning and Teaching), Can Saygin (Mechanical Engineering), Heather Shipley (Civil and Environmental Engineering) and Daniel Tablada (Marketing). (Read more about the Regents' Outstanding Teaching Awards on UTSA Today.)

The Board of Regents invited UTSA to share an update on Cardiovate, a start-up company based on technology created by Jordan Kaufmann '12, a doctoral alumna of the UTSA Department of Biomedical Engineering with support from Mauli Agrawal, dean of the College of Engineering, and Steven Bailey, M.D., division chief for cardiology in the School of Medicine of the UT Health Science Center San Antonio.

The team's technology, called a tissue-engineering scaffold for aneurysm repair, prevents aortic aneurysm leakage by creating a tissue barrier between blood and an aneurysm after it is implanted. The scaffold promotes healthy tissue formation to repave the aneurysm wall. Once the scaffold is in place, the aneurysm stops expanding and the risk of rupture decreases. After new tissue is in place, the scaffold degrades and is safely reabsorbed by the body. (Read more about Cardiovate on UTSA Today.)

Additional agenda items specific to UTSA included:

  • Approval of the UTSA budget for the next biennium. With the primary goal of strengthening and enhancing undergraduate and graduate educational experiences to increase graduation rates and other measures of student success and learning, the FY 2013 budget includes funding for a comprehensive strategy to improve the four-year and six-year graduation rates to the top quintile of our baseline peer comparison group by 2020. The Graduation Rate Improvement Plan (GRIP) also focuses on improving the persistence rate, enhancing the early college experience and helping students with the transition from high school to college;
  • Approval of a $4.2 million merit pool for UTSA benefits-eligible faculty and staff. The board's approval of the merit pool for the coming year will aid in retention of UTSA's outstanding faculty and staff. UTSA has been fortunate to be able to provide annual merit increases in recognition of the valued work provided by UTSA's faculty and staff;
  • Approval of the honorific naming of the UTSA Science Building as the Peter T. Flawn Building and appointment of Flawn as president emeritus. Flawn served as UTSA's second president from 1973 to 1977. During that time, UTSA opened the Main Campus, held its first commencement ceremony and achieved full accreditation for its graduate programs by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools;
  • Approval of an extension of UTSA's dining services contract with Aramark through July 2020. Aramark will provide additional funding of more than $4.1 million over the next eight years to refresh and update existing dining venues on the Main and Downtown campuses;
  • Approval of an extended contract with the Alamodome to allow UTSA to play football in this venue through 2035. The agreement is expected to be approved by the San Antonio City Council in early September. The new agreement extension will reduce costs and brings new opportunities for revenue to UTSA Athletics, when compared to the agreement approved last year.

The UT System Board of Regents includes nine members, who are appointed by the governor and confirmed by the Senate to serve six-year terms as well as a student regent, who serves a one-year term. The board convenes in February, May, July, August, November and December and holds specially called meetings as necessary.