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A Message from VPSA Sam Gonzales

“Pictured Above: Vice President for Student Affairs, Sam Gonzales” Pictured Above: Vice President for Student Affairs, Sam Gonzales

Our spring semester has started with a flurry of activity… and cold windy weather. I hope this message finds you having enjoyed a wonderful winter break with your student. I can tell by the energy on campus that classes are in full swing. Do you miss your student yet?

I have found that the first couple of weeks for classes can be challenging. This is when your student will fully understand the expectations for each class. They will (I hope) place every due date in a calendar of some kind and make a pledge to not fall behind. Each Roadrunner needs a plan. Ask your student how he/she approaches the beginning of a new semester. And yes, just let them know that you miss them.  

We have a lot of great things planned for the spring semester, some of which you can read about in this newsletter.  It will be no surprise to you when I say that many of our students’ best events are discussed a great deal in social media.  Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram for all the details. Encourage your student to attend as many as possible.  Family Programs will also keep you up to date on Facebook and Instagram.  It is my hope that seeing our presence on social media shows you our dedication to providing great customer service, information at your fingertips, and awareness of all that is happening at UTSA.  

We are so glad to have everyone back on campus.  We missed everyone over the break.  Here’s to a successful and productive 2015 

Best Wishes,

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What to Do if Your College Student is on Academic Probation

No college student heads off to college with the plan to be placed on academic probation and face potential dismissal.  Few parents, when they drop their student off for college…,, expect that their student will struggle to the point of being placed on probation.  But the reality is that, for many students, their academic work warrants the college officially notifying them that they are in danger of being dismissed.  Parents can be a tremendous asset, or can potentially make matters worse, when this happens.  Here are some suggestions about how you, and your college student, can cope with academic probation.

What can parents do if their student is placed on academic probation?

Help your student to understand that you are there to support, not to judge.  (Of course, this doesn’t mean that you can’t let him/her know that certain behaviors may be unacceptable.) 

Sometimes, parents’ first reaction when they learn about probation may be to call the college.  At times, this may be necessary, but it is more important at this point to talk to your student and to encourage your student to make the necessary contacts with the college.  Although you should certainly discuss this situation with your student, and possibly offer your suggestions, encourage your student to seek support from the college, and not to look to you for all of his/her answers.  If you do feel that you need to call the college, tell your student that you will be doing so.  Involve him/her in this process.

Once you and your student have adjusted to the reality of his/her probationary status, you can help him/her to explore his options.  Remember that your student may be frightened and need your support right now.  Help him/her to explore the reasons for his difficulty.  Insist that he/she create a plan for change.  Help him/her set both long and short term goals and plan the steps to accomplish those goals.  Be sure to set reasonable expectations and standards.  This may require that you, as a parent, reconsider your expectations of your student.  Can he/she reasonably do his/her schoolwork and hold a part-time job?  Should he/she have a car available on campus? Is it helpful or not for him to come home many weekends or should he work to get involved on campus?

Although it may seem contradictory, encourage your student to be involved and engaged in the non-academic activities of his college.  If your student is on probation, he/she certainly needs to be spending time studying.  However, several studies suggest that students who are actively engaged in the life of their campus actually do better academically.  Ask your student how he spends much of his free time.  Many students who have academic difficulty are not active participants at college, have not made connections, and do not spend time with other motivated students.

More importantly, inform your student that he/she is not alone and that he/she will get past this challenge. To find out on what your student needs to do if he/she is on probation, read the full article at http://bit.ly/1x042Fq . Article information adapted from College Parent Central’s Website www.collegeparentcentral.com 

Article information adapted from College Parent Central’s Website www.collegeparentcentral.com 
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Sombrilla Magazine – 2014 Fall/Winter Issue Available Online


The 2014 Fall/Winter Sombrilla magazine issue is available online at http://www.utsa.edu/Sombrilla/fall2014/ . The purpose of the magazine is to inform, engage, inspire and entertain a diverse readership, as well as continue the university’s mission of education. Through compelling stories that are honest and balanced, intelligent and challenging, the magazine encourages an open exchange of ideas and views.

Sombrilla strives to capture the intellectual, cultural and social life of the university while also tackling relevant national and global issues. By reflecting the values and quality of the university, Sombrilla endeavors to stimulate in readers feeling of pride and connection.

The next issue of Sombrilla is scheduled to release March/April 2015. To view past issues of Sombrilla please visit http://www.utsa.edu/sombrilla/archives/ .

Article information adapted from UTSA’s University Communication and Marketing Website http://www.utsa.edu/ucm/

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2015 UTSA M.A.L.E. Summit – Applications Available


The M.A.L.E. (Men Achieving Leadership & Excellence) Summit began as a vision developed by a 2013 LeaderShape Institute Graduate that involved creating an environment in which young males ensure they are reaching their full potential through academic success and community engagement.​

The first M.A.L.E. Summit was held in 2014, as part of a LeaderShape vision initiative by Marston Jefferson, a UTSA student and former Orientation Leader. Jefferson wanted to create an opportunity for male students to exchange ideas on academic success and leadership in the collegiate setting. 

This year, the M.A.L.E. Summit will host 100 men from diverse backgrounds and include a keynote speaker and a panel of professionals who will share their leadership experience and journey to college graduation. The summit will also feature discussion topics focused on academic success and leadership development.

To apply for the M.A.L.E. Summit or to find out about other leadership opportunities, students should visit the Student Leadership Center website at utsa.edu/slc. The deadline to apply for the 2015 M.A.L.E. Summit is January 21, 2015.

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2015 Black Heritage Month Events



Next month, UTSA’s Student Center for Community Engagement and Inclusion will host a variety of events in celebration of Black Heritage month. Feel free to share the event information listed above with your student! If your student has any additional questions regarding the events, please have them contact the Student Center for Community Engagement and Inclusion at 210.458.4770.

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Carnegie Foundation Selects UTSA for Community Engagement Designation


The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching has selected The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) to receive its prestigious Community Engagement Classification, recognizing the university's commitment to serving the local community.

The honor acknowledges UTSA's "dynamic and noteworthy" community outreach efforts in San Antonio and its impact on the global community through teaching and research, public service, volunteerism, civic partnerships and economic development.

UTSA is among 83 universities in the United States to receive the designation for the first time and among an elite group of only 361 campuses to gain the designation since the foundation began recognizing community engagement achievements in 2006. There are more than 4,700 colleges and universities in the United States.

To read more please visit http://www.utsa.edu/today/2015/01/carnegie.html .

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UTSA Invites Community to Dinner and Great Conversation!

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Interested in a lively dialogue? The University of Texas at San Antonio's 15th annual "Great Conversation!" is scheduled from 6 to 9 p.m., Tuesday, Feb. 24 at the Institute of Texan Cultures. The signature fundraising event will bring together prominent community leaders, scholars and donors for engaging dinner conversation on an array of stimulating topics.

Since its inception, Great Conversation! has raised more than $1.4 million for UTSA Honors College student scholarships, research stipends, and leadership and global learning opportunities. The event has also increased public awareness about the important cultural and intellectual role that UTSA has in San Antonio.

UTSA's Great Conversation! is hosted in a dinner party format. Each table features a host who is either a leading UTSA faculty member or a business/community leader specializing in a particular topic. Guests enjoy dinner and lively conversation at one of the event's tables.

To read more please visit http://www.utsa.edu/today/2014/12/greatconversation.html.

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UTSA Staff Spotlight: Charlin Jones


Name: Charlin Jones
Hometown: Midland, TX-
Title and Department: Assistant Director for Special Events; Special Events Center
Years Worked at UTSA: 15 years
- Alma Mater: UTSA

How can a student start fresh their spring semester, considering their fall semester may have not been too stellar?

Evaluate your study habits, time management, and your desire for the degree you are seeking. Don't let a bad semester turn into another bad semester. Utilize all the resources available, such as Supplemental Instruction, meeting with your professors, and forming effective study groups. You can get back on track in no time!

What are some great leadership opportunities/jobs you think students should take advantage of at UTSA?

The Student Leadership Center offers many leadership opportunities for all students from networking lunches, civil rights and social justice immersion experience, LeaderShape, and many conference opportunities. Also, the Student Activities Office can help you get connected to a student organization that meets your passion to become involved in while in college. Additionally, take advantage of joining honor societies that you are invited to as they also offer leadership and networking opportunities.  

Why is it important for freshman students, especially, to get involved in campus life?

Getting connected to campus life early helps develop great time management skills along with a greater sense of purpose of your college experience. While your academics will provide you with great knowledge, out of class experiences will help develop your life skills that you can also use in your future career. Most importantly, make sure you don't over involve yourself in campus life to the point that your academics suffer. Find one or two organizations or activities that you can commit to without having your academics suffer.

Why is it important for students to get active and pursue leadership roles on campus? Shouldn't their studies be their main priority?

While academics should be your first priority, engaging in leadership opportunities will help develop you into a well-rounded person who can tackle any challenges in life as well as in the workplace. Many students have learned that teamwork, time management, and passion for what is most important to you comes from being involved in many different leadership opportunities.

I know you work in the planning of Commencement. What is your favorite part about working that event?

Commencement is my all-time favorite event each semester! This is the university community's time to honor and recognize our outstanding students for their hard work at the university and to celebrate this accomplishment with their family and friends. I especially love seeing the students I work with walk the stage with pride knowing that now and forever they are Roadrunners!

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Important Spring 2014 Dates

Friday, January 16, 2015 – Last Day to ADD a Class/Late Registration

Monday, January 19, 2015 – Martin Luther King, Jr. Birthday (University Closed)

Wednesday, January 28, 2015 – Census Date

Monday, March 9, 2015 thru Saturday, March 14, 2015 – Spring Break

Friday, March 20, 2015 – Last Day to Drop Classes

Wednesday, April 29, 2015 – Last Day of Classes

Thursday, April 30, 2015 thru Friday, May 1, 2015 – Study Days

Saturday, May 2, 2015 thru Saturday, May 9, 2015 – Final Exams

Tuesday, August 18, 2015 – First Day of Fall 2015 Classes

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Thank you for reading the Family Connection!