Update from Provost Kimberly Espy

December 20, 2018

As we head into the winter break, I would like to take this opportunity to provide a brief update on the Human Health Planning Advisory Task Force, which was launched last month.

UTSA has a unique opportunity before us to a) better prepare our students for modern health careers, b) tackle grand challenges - particularly the health disparities that impact our community and region to such a great degree, c) strengthen community partnerships that will help us pursue training and research grants, and d) increase the visibility of our strong health-related academic programs. The Task Force members were selected to represent a variety of disciplines, positions, and perspectives - and I thank the members, and particularly Task Force Chair, Dr. Margo DelliCarpini, Dean of the College of Education and Human Development, for the time they are devoting to this important initiative.

The Task Force will soon be wrapping up its data gathering phase. It is my understanding that they are exploring institutional research on health-related programs and scholarship at UTSA, organizational structures and best practices at peer institutions, the local market for health-related careers and programs, and potential community partners. Their reports will be posted on the initiative webpage, which also includes the Task Force’s charge and the roster of the Task Force members. In mid-January, they will wrap up their data gathering phase and be re-divided into three “design” subcommittees, to begin translating their findings into differing notional organizational structures for a new health college, which will be carefully considered after receiving input from the broader campus community, external partners and UTSA leadership.

The Task Force is charged with thinking creatively and exploring multiple organizational models, which must be:

  • Focused on increasing student success and facilitating access
  • Logical, intuitive and centered around advancing human health from a transdisciplinary perspective
  • Enabling research synergies and new team science among UTSA faculty and with external partners to increase success on external funding opportunities
  • Financially viable under the new IRM budget model
  • Fair (i.e., cannot jeopardize the viability of existing colleges or departments)

After the Task Force process culminates in February, there will be discussion forums at both the Main and Downtown campuses to collectively evaluate the proposed models and gain additional feedback. In the meantime, you are welcome to convey input or questions to members of the Task Force, the Chair, or Assistant Vice Provost for Academic Initiatives Shannon Heuberger. You also can submit feedback via email to healthtaskforce@utsa.edu .

I very much look forward to the Task Force report, followed by discussions with you on how we might better leverage our strengths in human health related education and research efforts to better serve our students and community!

With warm regards and wishes for a rejuvenating winter break,


Kimberly Andrews Espy 
Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs 
Peter T. Flawn Distinguished Professor