Officials with the Texas A&M University system are looking to include the Texas A&M Health Science Center in Round Rock under the administration of the system’s flagship university in College Station.
The board of regents met Aug. 3 to authorize university President R. Bowen Loftin and Chancellor John Sharp to investigate the realignment. Details are now being considered by a strategic oversight committee led by Loftin and TAMHSC President Dr. Nancy Dickey.
“Leadership from both institutions are working with the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, Southern Association of Colleges and Schools and the applicable college-specific regulatory and accrediting bodies to ensure the necessary and proper steps are followed,” Dickey said.
If approved, the alignment would have no effect on the center’s programs or curriculum, Dickey said. Students would continue attending their first two years at the system’s colleges of medicine in College Station or Temple before finishing their degrees at centers like the one in Round Rock.
The only potential change would be the possibility of starting new programs as more funding and faculty become available, Dickey said.
“Bringing TAMHSC under the Texas A&M University umbrella will afford students at both institutions the opportunity to seamlessly participate in interdisciplinary programs that intersect human, animal, and plant science to more effectively prepare them for careers in the ever-evolving fields of life science and health care,” Dickey said in an Aug. 4 news release on the alignment considerations.
TAMHSC students would also receive Aggie rings when graduating.
“Students at the Texas A&M Health Science Center in Bryan/College Station have been attending classes, utilizing our campus services and participating in many campus activities prior to the merger. Now health professions students across all Texas A&M campuses will soon be able to receive an Aggie ring and other benefits afforded to the Texas A&M student body,” Loftin said in the release.
The alignment is seen as a move that would be mutually beneficial for the center and university.
“Ultimately, joining these two exemplary institutions will allow the state of Texas and its citizens to reap numerous benefits through increased scientific discoveries and an influx of highly trained, innovative professionals entering the state’s workforce,” Sharp said in the release.
Expanded faculty and research bases are just two of the advantages the merger could bring.
“Ultimately, this administrative realignment is being considered as a means of strengthening the teaching, research and service of both entities,” Dickey said. “It is the goal at Texas A&M to find a way forward that takes advantage of the best of both the Health Science Center and university worlds—flexibility, resourcefulness, nimbleness as well as collegial, collaborative innovation.”
No timeline has been set for a decision on the alignment, and an announcement either way will depend on approval from regulating and accreditation organizations, Dickey said.