An advisory committee selected to help search and hire a president of the new University of Texas in the Rio Grande Valley will meet as a group for the first time today.
Officials said the first meeting will take place in Harlingen and other meetings will rotate throughout the Valley.
The candidate search committee includes people from within the UT System and community members from Brownsville, Harlingen and Edinburg. The committee has six representatives from the University of Texas-Pan American and another six from the University of Texas at Brownsville.
Aaron Barreiro, the president of the Student Government Association at the University of Texas-Pan American, was asked about three weeks ago to be on the presidential search committee.
Barreiro said the student body is knowledgeable about the ongoing changes at the school and they want to know who will lead it.
“The fact is that it’s going to happen, and I think knowing who the next president is going to be is really big,” Barreiro, 20, said.
Barreiro is one of 24 people who will meet approximately once every 30 days to narrow down the candidates for the position before the list is provided to the University of Texas System Board of Regents for a final decision.
Barreiro said whoever is chosen should be aware of the Valley and what is important to students here.
“Having strong administrative roles, being willing to be involved with the community, all of these things are important,” Barreiro said. “Like it or not, politics is going to be important in this so someone who is politically savvy is needed.”
However, Barreiro said, this person should also be down to earth, approachable and be able to communicate well with others.
Pedro Reyes, the executive vice chancellor for academic affairs at the system, will chair the committee.
“This is an advisory committee and honestly what we do is we talk about the process, we talk about the timetable, we talk about the confidentiality and related issues about looking for people,” Reyes said.
Reyes said the committee would have a position specification soon that will include the job description and requirement. All of the nominations would need to go through the firm Witt/Kieffer, Reyes said.
“Once we meet the first time, soon right after that we’ll have a job description,” Reyes said. “It will be very soon.”
Reyes said he didn’t want to state anything about job requirements until the committee can take a look at them.
However, he added, experience with “complex organizations” matters.
“We are going to go nationwide, and we are going to cast the net very wide so we can look at applications across the country,” Reyes said.
“The position has a lot to do with the merger,” Reyes said, referring to the consolidation of the University of Texas at Brownsville and UT-Pan American that will make up the new school.
“We are gong to have to select somebody who can carry on the task of making it happen, of uniting the two institutions and making them a great institution.”
Reyes said he is looking forward to leading the committee.
“This is extremely important to the UT System, to the chancellor, to the Board of Regents,” Reyes said. “I think we are going to select a visionary leader who can make this happen for the Valley.”