Advancing education, research, and healthcare. Together …

Important Stuff Joe Knows - What's going on at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Tyler

December 10, 2019 – It’s an exciting time for education, research and healthcare in East Texas! Yesterday’s decision by The University of Texas System Board of Regents to align The University of Texas Health Science Center at Tyler and The University of Texas at Tyler under one administrative structure displays the true depth of our commitment to the people of this region. This move will foster collaboration and create a unified environment for students, faculty and staff, while allowing the two institutions to leverage our strengths, grow capacity and resources, and better accomplish our higher education mission in a more seamless fashion. You’re probably wondering: What happens next? UT Board of Regents Chairman Kevin Eltife will appoint an advisory committee composed of university and community members to work promptly with Chancellor James B. Milliken and the Board on an implementation plan. This will be a complicated, time-consuming process, but it will be worth the work to reap the many benefits that are to come. I hope you join me in a sense of excitement and feeling of pride, especially today, to be part of the UT System.

Read Dr. Calhoun’s announcement from yesterday here: (The Board of Regents announcement is linked below in the Recent News section.)

Announcements …

New UTHSCT Password Policy
UT Health Science Center at Tyler has updated the password policy for network accounts and is transitioning from the use of passwords to passphrases. Effective Wednesday, December 11, all password resets will adhere to the new passphrase requirements. What does this mean to you?

    • Passphrases are a minimum of 10 characters.
    • Passphrases donot have a complexity requirement such as upper/lower case, numbers and symbols.
    • Passphrases allow for the use of spaces, punctuation, numbers and symbols.
    • Passphrases donot expire.

Depending on when your current password is set to expire, you may have to reset your passphrase twice within the next 90 days.  However, once we pass the next 90 days, your passphrase will not expire. For more information on this change, visit:

Conference and classroom scheduling
TEEM is UTHSCT’s scheduling solution for conference rooms and classrooms using your Outlook calendar. Please use this application when scheduling rooms in the new School of Community and Rural Health building. Some of the rooms in the Biomedical Research Center and the main building complex are available as well. An update will be provided when all conference and classrooms are available via TEEM. For more information on how to use TEEM, visit:

Blue Star Café Menu
The Blue Star Café menu is back online! Visit for the today’s offerings in the Home Line, Chef’s Corner, Specialty Bar and the Soup of the Day. (Please note, this link will currently redirect you to a page on The menu will usually be updated each Friday evening with the following week’s selections. Enjoy!

Holiday Activities from the Service Excellence Team & Employee Advisory Council
In December, several Christmas-themed activities will be taking place on campus.

    • Show your holiday colors –December 11, wear green; December 18, wear Christmas-themed sweaters, scarves and ties.
    • Christmas tree ornament decoration – a tree will be placed in the Piano Lobby near the windows. Undecorated wooden and plastic ornaments will be located nearby for those who wish to decorate and hang an ornament.
    • Holiday wreath decorating contest – If you’ve already entered the contest, pick up a wreath from the Clinical Operations Administration suite (Building A, the old Human Resources offices), before December 11 to begin decorating. Submit your wreath at the judging tables in the Piano Lobby on December 16, before noon.
    • Ugly sweater contest – the uglier the better. The contest will be held on December 17. More details to follow.
    • Group photo and winner announcements – December 18, in the Main Lobby (inside the fountain entrance).

Are you aware of the UTHSCT policy on holiday pay?
If you’re planning to take time off, especially around Thanksgiving, Christmas and/or New Year’s Day, please be sure to notify your immediate supervisor and submit an electronic leave slip for your days off via Passport at All employees are required to submit electronic leave slips before taking scheduled days off, and immediately after unscheduled days off. NOTICE: To be eligible for holiday pay, employees must be in a “paid-employee” status the day before the holiday and the first scheduled work day after the holiday. If you are not in an approved “paid-employee” status on those days, you will not be eligible to receive holiday pay. If you have questions, please call 903-877-7740 before the holidays.

Student Government Association Toys for Tots Drive
The UT Health Science Center Student Government Association (SGA) is sponsoring two Toys for Tots collection boxes. One is located in Student Services on the first floor of the new School of Community and Rural Health building. The other is located in the D-wing of the Biomedical Research Center in front of the conference room. Donations of new, unwrapped toys are welcome from anyone who wishes to donate.

Recent news …

UT Regents authorize integration of talent and assets at UT Tyler and UT Health Science Center at Tyler to enhance educational, research and clinical delivery in East Texas

UT System to move forward with merger of UT Tyler and Health Science Center

UT System authorizes merger of UT Tyler, UT Health Science Center at Tyler

Integration of UT Tyler, UT Health Science Center to include 200 new graduate medical slots

UT System Board of Regents Videoconference of December 9, 2019 meeting

From UT Health East Texas …

View the UT Health East Texas Weekly Update from CEO Moody Chisholm and the UTHET leadership team here:
An archive of past editions of the newsletter is always available via this link:

Submit your events and announcements …

Announcements for the Important Stuff Joe Knows newsletter must be submitted by 5 p.m. on the Friday before the item is to appear in the following Tuesday’s newsletter. Submit announcements here: Event listings for the Friday Forecast event calendar must be submitted by 5 p.m. on Thursday to appear in the next day’s edition of the calendar. Submit events here: submissions are always welcome!

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Important Stuff Joe Knows is a weekly newsletter published by Joseph Woelkers, EVP & COO of The UT Health Science Center at Tyler, Emails to this address will not receive a personal response.