Board of Regents Meeting at UTEP resumes with presentation by Natalicio


Jose Soto

Dr. Diana Natilicio speaks at the UT Board of Regents committee meeting.

Jose Soto, Staff reporter

The University of Texas System Board of Regents resumed their meeting at UTEP today at the Tomás Rivera Conference Room at Union East.

During the first hour of the meeting today, UTEP President Diana Natalicio, greeted the board and addressed topics regarding the university by giving a detailed presentation about the university’s growth and expansion during her 26-year run as president.

“The physical changes of the university are obvious,” Natalicio said. “The profound changes, however, are in the university’s attitude.”

Natalicio utilized an informative and detailed PowerPoint presentation to convey much of the data that she provided to the board. She addressed issues regarding the early demographics of the university and how she and her staff worked to change that to mirror the demographics of the region. Natalicio also spoke about increasing research funding, which she said has contributed to the whole financial picture of the university, helping them to hire competitive faculty and staff and expand doctoral programs.

In 2013, UTEP’s total research expenditures reached $83.25 million, according to Natalicio’s presentation. UTEP is currently the second-leading emerging research institution behind the University of Texas at Houston.

“We’ve worked hard to diversify our funding while maintaining our focus on affordability,” Natalicio said.

She also said that UTEP is one of the leading educational institutions in the country in terms of affordability.

During her presentation, Natalicio also addressed the growth in degree completion, which has had a 104 percent growth in recent years.

“The main challenge the university faces and, in my opinion, the country faces is that low-income students’ talent is being squandered,” Natalicio said.

Francisco Cigarroa, the UT System’s departing chancellor, applauded the president and the university for doing more with less than other UT System universities.

“I wanted to provide data supporting my ideas and remarks I had made at the dinner last night,” Natalicio said. “I wanted to provide evidence for the claims.”

Natalicio said that the presentation is designed to convey the main focus of the university, which is to integrate access and excellence to all students.

“I want the board to recognize the importance of both (access and excellence) that we, as a university, factor in,” Natalicio said. “It is a very unusual occurrence.”

Natalicio said she intends for her presentation to be a framework for the university for future meetings and discussion, especially when it comes to funding. “That way, the board has a general context of UTEP in regards to budgeting and funding,” Natalicio said.

The Board of Regents has already approved $2.7 million in funding to demolish Barry Hall and Burges Hall on the UTEP campus and construct a new building where the two halls currently stand. Natalicio said it will be used for interdisciplinary research.

Jose Soto may be reached at [email protected]