President Out at University of Houston-Victoria

University of Houston-Victoria campus.
University of Houston-Victoria campus.

Philip Castille, the president of the University of Houston-Victoria, resigned on Tuesday, effective immediately, according to a University of Houston System press release.

Castille, who assumed the position in 2011, will join the faculty as a tenured professor in UH-Victoria's School of Arts and Sciences. In August, his $300,000 annual salary, in accordance with his new position, will revert to $100,000.

Renu Khator, the chancellor of the UH System and the president of its flagship university, has appointed Wayne Beran, the vice president for administration at UH-Victoria, as acting president. In the release, it was indicated that Khator plans to appoint an interim president and begin a search for a new president within the next two to three weeks.

A system spokesman did not immediately return a request for comment. But stepping down does not appear to have been Castille's choice.

"UHV has now had four presidents in four years," Castille told The Texas Tribune. "No university can sustain progress this way. The campus and the community are very discouraged."

 

Castille received a vote of no confidence from the university's faculty senate on Friday. In a letter to the UHV faculty on Saturday, he called the vote "disappointing" and observed that it was conducted by "a small percentage" of the university's total faculty. He traced their concerns to changes planned by the UH System that some believe may threaten the UHV campus.

Tensions have been high in Victoria following news that the UH System plans to make its teaching center in Sugar Land a branch campus of the flagship university. Currently, UHV offers many courses through the Sugar Land campus, where it generates a significant portion of its revenue.

"I understand the Faculty Senate’s frustration," Castille wrote in his letter to the faculty preceding his resignation. "They have many unanswered questions about the University of Houston Sugar Land transition, and there are many details to work out."

In addition to preventing the university from continuing to offer its courses in Sugar Land, a plan approved by the UH System board of regents in February would transer UHV's nursing program to the flagship campus in Houston. However, the plan also calls for the system to provide Victoria with "adequate funds to carry out its important mission to become a destination university."

"UHV is going through growing pains now," Castille wrote prior to his resignation. "More than half the UHV faculty are in Sugar Land, and more than half the staff are in Victoria. These two campuses have differing missions, clienteles and revenue models. It is a great challenge to us all to find a united way forward. "

Castille's resignation is the second leadership shake-up this month at UHV, which is in the midst of prepping for an upcoming accreditation review by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Castille recently named longtime nursing faculty member Denise Neill the new interim provost and vice president for academic affairs. The previous provost, Jeffrey Cass, was moved into the position of special assistant to the president and accreditation liaison.