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School of Medicine dean steps down University creating committee to find Fernandez’s successor

Francisco Fernandez
Francisco Fernandez

The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley has one year to look for a replacement for the School of Medicine dean after Francisco Fernandez announced he will step down Friday, officials say.

“We’re putting together a search committee and that search committee should be formed in the next two or three weeks,” UTRGV President Guy Bailey told The Rider in an interview today. “Then, we’ll begin a search firm and we’ll begin a national search. We hope to have that underway before the beginning of the fall semester.”

Fernandez, who will also leave the position of vice president of medical affairs, will return to the psychiatry faculty, according to a UTRGV news release sent out Wednesday.

He became dean of the medical school in May 2014 and in 2015 was named a professor at the UTRGV Department of Psychiatry, Neurology and Neurosciences.

Fernandez was unavailable for comment.

Although the university does not know if there will be two positions available, Bailey said he hopes to have a committee formed by late July and for it to start meeting in early September to select a new dean.

“The committee will screen applicants,” he said.  “They will go out and recruit and screen applicants and then they will bring recommendations to me.”

Once the interviews are done, feedback will be given to Bailey for him to make the final decision.

Dr. Steve Lieberman will serve as interim dean for a year as part of an interagency agreement the school has with the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston. Lieberman, senior dean for administration at UTMB, is a San Antonio native and has many years of experience working in the Rio Grande Valley, according to the news release.

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