Kaitlyn Wilkes • Staff Writer
In late 2019, it was released that the University of Texas Health Science Center at Tyler (UTHSCT) and the University of Texas at Tyler are joining together, making UTHSCT a part of UT Tyler.
This has been a discussion for several years, but it was recently reopened for deliberation. In December of 2019, the UT System Board of Regents invested $95 million in clinical and educational facilities. According to CBS19, they also made “a new arrangement so that the two Tyler institutions will permanently marshal forces under one administrative structure to best serve the needs of the state of Texas.”
“One of the reasons we wanted to open the discussion again and talk to Dr. Tidwell [was] to see how all of this can be combined to enhance the academics,” UT System Board of Regents Chairman Keven Eltife said in an interview with the Tyler Morning Telegraph. He said that they are “focused on enhancing what is already in place and finding out if there are any opportunities for partnership between the institutions.”
UTHSCT President Kirk Calhoun and UT Tyler President Michael Tidwell have already met to discuss how the institutions can work together to make the best of the programs offered.
Even though no official decision has been made as to who the new president will be, UTHSCT President Kirk Calhoun has had a greater presence in press conferences and the media lately, whereas President Tidwell seems to have taken a step back.
In addition to that, now that the two entities are merging, there are going to be two presidents for one school unless one of them steps down. With Calhoun becoming more present in the media and rumors circulating that President Tidwell will be stepping down, the question is raised: Is President Tidwell leaving UT Tyler?
“At this time, no decisions have been made on the administrative structure of the university,” Karen Adler, head of media relations and spokeswoman of the UT System, said. “The process to integrate UT Tyler and UT Health Science Center at Tyler is in the very early stages, and Presidents Tidwell and Calhoun are working closely together on plans for a[n] … integrated university.”
Adler closed her statement by saying that they hope to welcome students to this new integration in 2021.
It seems at the moment, the rumors that Tidwell is leaving is just that– rumors. At this point in time, it’s too early to tell what will happen with both presidents and administrative decisions.