August 7, 2008

Staff News  


In This Issue: 

Message from the Vice President


Welcome New Staff to Student Affairs

Departmental News

Thank You Rowdy Travels Across Student Affairs



Message from the Vice President for Student Affairs

I’ve struggled a bit with this week’s essay.  In the online edition of The Chronicle of Higher Education * for August 1st, there was an essay written by one of their regular contributors.  William Pannapacker, who writes under the pen name Thomas H. Benton, is a professor and this essay examines recently published books that espouse in one way or another the idea that Americans are getting dumber and less intellectual. 

The title of his essay is “On Stupidity” with a subheading, “A cartload of recent books suggests that it’s time to reverse the customer–service mentality plaguing academe.”  He also lists as concerns “amenities” and “administrative bloat.”  The article struck a nerve for me but in trying to acknowledge the places where the author and I agree – education happens best in small classes, with full-time teachers who hold and foster high educational standards – and acknowledging that it’s possible to go to extremes in residence hall or facilities design, it all kept sounding a bit strident.  And yet there are some points I want to make related to his comments.  So I’m going to spend less time trying to write about both sides of the equation and just share my various thoughts.

Customer-Service Mentality

  • No, the customer is not always right – even the retail world doesn’t really think that.

  • As staff we aren’t expected to put up with rude and abusive behavior or say yes to everything a student (or anyone else for that matter) asks for.


  • We are expected to be courteous and respectful to the people with whom we interact at all times. (If they are rude, we ask for help rather than try to out-rude them.)

  • We should provide accurate information in a timely manner and try to solve problems as efficiently as possible no matter who ‘caused’ them.

  • We should get input from students, parents, and the community in developing services, programs and in growing this university.  And then we make the best decision we can while taking the multiple relevant factors into account.  (A student once asked me very sincerely, why I would ever say no to a student initiative.  My answer, in part, was that students, while highly important, are only one of the constituencies I represent.)  The student voice is critical, particularly in the work of Student Affairs, but it’s not just about meeting their stated needs.  If we don’t invite them into the discussion and listen carefully, we can’t know if we’re achieving our objectives.


  • Yes, I know “we” didn’t have it so “lush” in our day.  As my husband put it, he had to walk to school – 10 miles – in the snow – backwards!  But let’s be honest, most of us like amenities.  It’s nicer to be in an office with fresh paint and new carpet than a small office down a dark hallway.

  • Let’s also acknowledge that when people talk about amenities, many, if not all, are in the student life arena.  News articles about residence halls that rival luxury condos and multi-million dollar stadiums with luxury boxes do make it seem as if institutional priorities are mixed.

So we need to be thoughtful as we design new facilities and renovate older ones to balance costs and expectations and sort out needs from wishes.  Even more than that, we need to be thoughtful in our decision-making.  Is this ‘amenity’ the best way to meet our education and strategic goals?  And yes, students enjoying their experience on campus is a legitimate goal, but we also need to make sure we keep things in perspective.

Administrative Bloat

  • This is more of the same really.  Yes, we need competent talented staff to work with our students.  But what is the right number?  Ideas of what is enough or too many will vary widely depending on the person’s experiences. The issues are very stark on our campus.  If we believe we need smaller classes and more full-time faculty to make that possible, we have to direct resources to our academic functions, and some other interesting, even exciting ideas, may not receive funding.  We’re lucky in Texas that our fee structure allows us not to compete directly for resources, but our ability to raise our fees will likely be curtailed in the short term by our need to maximize tuition resources to meet our educational goals.

  • So, it is important that we make decisions about our expenditures carefully.  It is important that we provide enough staff to be able to deliver excellent customer service in our frontline service programs.   It is important that we deliver excellent programs that meet the personal, social and educational needs of our students. It is important that we have facilities that are attractive to students so we are able to continue to recruit students to UTSA.  It is important that we consider the educational and strategic goals and that we are able to articulate them clearly to others as we plan and make decisions.  And we will never have enough money to do everything everyone thinks we should do.

If we are thoughtful and strategic in our planning, if we are effective money managers, if we identify the appropriate constituencies to consult, I believe we can find ways to do what we need to be doing and to do it well.  Then, we administrators are useful and helpful rather than so much "administrative bloat." Then amenities add to the holistic educational experience rather than pull it off center.   Then a customer-service mentality is a positive attribute and contributes to a positive experience at UTSA for everyone, not just our students.  And that’s not ‘stupid’ at all.

Best wishes,


* Article: The Chronicle of Higher Education by Thomas H. Benton




1604 Campus Subway moves to


University Center III


UTSAToday Article




Business Procedures Tips:


For appointments or appointment changes in DEFINE, please note these distinctions for using ‘P’ (permanent) or ‘T’ (temporary):


·         P = permanent changes to the position (permanent change of position hours, etc.)


·         T = temporary changes that accommodate a person (leave of absence, temporary change of hours, etc.)


More Business Procedures Tips....



Dr. Gage E. Paine presents Leadership Yoga class


The theme of the the new class, presented on July 24th, was to explore and enhance leadership skills, such as the ability to be flexible and find balance, through the mechanism of yoga. 


Roadrunner Days

Staffing needed for UTSA student Move-In 

The move-in dates for the four housing complexes, Chaparral Village, Laurel Village, Chisholm Hall and University Oaks, are Aug. 22-24. Staffing is needed from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on the three days to help students transport items from their vehicles to their rooms. A t-shirt and light refreshments will be provided to helpers.


(UTSAToday Article)

The UTSA Roadrunner Days website is full of details about the special events set for Aug. 22-29.  There are lots of opportunities to preview campus life and experience the excitement of UTSA's growing campus.

UTSA Calendar of Events



Division Nametags Have Arrived!

The first shipment of nametags/badges for employees of Admissions, Visitor's Center and Orientation and Family Programs has arrived.  This is a powerful first step to the implementation of the Student Affairs’ strategic plan:

Student Affairs celebrates and serves students by making every interaction an opportunity to affect positive change.

This is also a positive step in the realization of our Vision

The nametags are being delivered to the AVP offices for distribution to Student Affairs staff.

Below: A "Pinning" of the 1604 and Downtown Admissions, Visitor's Center and Orientation and Family Programs group


Update on Student Travel


The student travel policy has been revised as of July 29th


See for the updates including a link to the new student travel web site at

The Travel Management Office has also updated their information to include a direct link to the new web site.  See


The Student Travel Authorization Request and List of Student Participants, Emergency Contacts and Activity/Events Leaders along with the two release and indemnification agreements can be found in the Travel Management Office subfolder in public folders.  The release forms are also located in the Legal Affairs subfolder.  In addition, final approval authority is at the Dean, Assistant/Associate Vice President level.


In the near future, training sessions will be offered.


Participation Needed in the 3rd Annual Rowdy Wing Fling

This September 4, 2008 marks the 3rd Annual Rowdy Wing Fling! Rowdy Wing Fling is an event open to all UTSA students and provides a safe, fun, and informative environment that allows students to gather in an alcohol-free space. The purpose of Rowdy Wing Fling is to educate students on the risks and consequences of drinking, alcohol abuse and dependence, other drug use, safety and sexual health. We would love for you to join us this September 4 from 6-10 pm to help us reach our students! If interested, please feel free to fill out and fax the registration form. If you decide to come, we will provide a table and chairs for any displays you would like to bring and we encourage agencies/departments to bring any information that you would like disseminated.

We truly hope that you will attend and we look forward to a very exciting and informative event!

The registration deadline has been extended to August 15. Event Guidelines/Registration Form (PDF)

Welcome New Staff to Student Affairs



Edward Ortega - Transfer Specialist at downtown campus

Holly Tawil -   Admissions Officer in Houston Regional Office

Kendra Kliesen - Admissions Officer


Career Services


Career Services is pleased to announce the addition of Morris Ellington and Katharine Farmer. 


Morris is the new Professional Development Program Manager.  Morris joins UTSA after a more than 20 year career as Enterprise Rent-A-Car's Group Recruiting Manager for San Antonio and South Texas.  In that role, he worked closely with Career Services and other UTSA departments and has been very involved in student professional development at many Texas universities. 


Morris' responsibilities will focus on developing and implementing programs which will enhance student professional skills in many areas, especially interviewing.   He will also be developing programs and working with students to help them better understand and be equipped to handle the transition from college to professional life and what is necessary to succeed in the "real world" of work.


Katharine is the new Recruiting Coordinator.  Prior to joining UTSA she worked with The Walt Disney Company.  Katharine will be part of the Employer Relations Team in Career Services.  Her primary duties will be to provide support and assistance to employers in establishing and implementing on-campus interview schedules and recruiting events other than career fairs.  In addition, she will help the Employer Relations Team in Career Services identify and attract new employers to recruit on campus.


Please join us in welcoming Morris and Katherine to the Career Services team.


Departmental News




Congratulations to Elizabeth Wiseman who was promoted from Transcript Evaluator to Admissions Officer.





A year to remember

Courtesy: UTSA Athleticws - 08/04/2008

By Chris Sakuguchi

“It was a pretty unbelievable year.”

Those six words spoken by UTSA Athletics Director Lynn Hickey (r) summarize the past 12 months, arguably the most successful year in the 27-year-old department’s history. UTSA garnered numerous team championships, athletics honors and academic awards, as well as seeing several monumental events occur that will help take the program to the next level.


Complete Article....   UTSA Athletics Website



Student Financial Aid and Enrollment Services


Congratulations to the following staff who have been promoted within the office of Student Financial Aid and Enrollment Services:


Christopher Goldsberry, Outreach Specialist


Erika Cox, Assistant Director



Thank You Rowdy Travels Across Student Affairs

Thank You Rowdy has a special mission in Student Affairs - to travel across UTSA recognizing the good work of staff members.

Within the Division of Student Affairs, Thank You Rowdy is presented from one Student Affairs staff member to another in recognition and appreciation of work done well - taking extra assignments to provide support, offering unsolicited assistance, or completing tasks in a unique way.

Whatever the situation, contributions like this are made every day and Thank You Rowdy helps us recognize them.

Gage Paine 


To: Stefanie Cisneros

From: Pat Forsythe

Stefanie, I'm passing Rowdy on to you to celebrate the enthusiasm and the positive way you approach your work in Career Services. 

I've known you a long while now, and I am so proud of your successes and achievements, including your ability to find the perfect match.

of your skills and abilities to help UTSA students find success in the "world of work." 

Thanks for all you do at UTSA. 

You are phenomenal!

Stefanie (L) receives 'Thank You Rowdy' from Pat at the UTSA Information Fair at the University Center on August 5th

Career Services staff  watch as Pat reads Rowdy's message to Stefanie

Stefanie gets a rousing applause from fellow staff members at the Career Services booth




Priscilla (Below R) reads Thank You Rowdy message to Pat                

To: Pat Lynn Forsythe

From: Priscilla Garcia

Dear Pat,

It gives me great pleasure to pass “Thank You Rowdy” on to you.

In the short time I have worked within the Student Affairs area you have been one of many staff members who has made me feel very welcome!  You have always been a great help whenever I have had any questions or needed any assistance. 

I know you’re one of the “behind the scenes” staff members within the counseling area but you are a most definitely a key person within an area who provides great service to the UTSA community and I’m sure the staff greatly appreciates you and all the work you do.  I had the pleasure of working with you during the Conference hosted by the UTSA Counseling office and no matter how small or large the task you always had a great smile on your face and you had such a great willingness to help everyone.   

It’s great to be working with you,



Previous Rowdy Recipients......




From Eric Cooper


The following letter was received in Admissions:


To:  Enrollment Services, Office Manager

CC: Supervisor April Gonzalas


On 07/31/08, I called Enrollment Services asking for a supervisor with concerns

about what I thought were hidden fees under the account summary of my son’s account. 


I spoke with Karen Pfeil who graciously went over every fee that was listed and explained them very well.  She was very articulate, very well-spoken, and very knowledgeable.  For an employee to go through every fee and break it down like she did, I would say her superiors trained her very well.  At the end, I did not even need to speak with a supervisor. I could not pass up this opportunity to let you know how satisfied I was with

the services/information Karen has provided to me.  I say to you Karen is a great access

to UTSA.  Keep up the wonderful work you are during on Campus.


Ms Brantley

Student: Arius Brantley




Please send newsletter items to by August 18, 2008.


Newsletter is best viewed with Internet Explorer.