Thursday, November 26, 2015


Faculty enhance teaching skills in Provost's Academy on Critical Thinking

Provost Academy

Craig Nelson (standing) leads academy participants through reflective exercises.

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(May 24, 2010)--More than 40 UTSA faculty members participated May 12-14 in the second annual Provost's Academy on Critical Thinking in the Connally Room at the Institute of Texan Cultures.

In addition to a thick binder with materials, each participant received a flash drive with teaching-related resources on topics such as assessment, concepts maps, critical thinking, deep learning, effective questioning, rubrics, teaching large classes effectively, writing assignments and cooperative learning.

Each day, six people whose names were drawn selected a teaching-related book of their choice to share with their various departments. One of the three key speakers, Terry Doyle, Ferris State University, discussed the importance of a learning-centered approach to teaching.

Barbara Millis, director of the UTSA Teaching and Learning Center, outlined Dee Fink's model for redesigning courses including his 36-page workbook with forms to help faculty think through the redesign process. Because tightly structured group work can lead to critical thinking, she also modeled and discussed active learning strategies in the context of four key principles of deep learning.

Craig Nelson spent a day guiding the faculty through reflective critical thinking activities, making the point that education is changing radically with universities such as MIT making online courses public and with paper-grading services provided in countries such as Bangladesh. After discussing William Perry's stages of intellectual and ethical development in the context of critical thinking, he concluded with this reminder: "If we are only teaching for content, then we can be replaced by computers and graders in Bangladesh. If, however, we are teaching to transform our students, then teachers are indispensible."

Lavonne Grandy and Jason Fane from the Instructional Design and Development Group offered insights into teaching through Blackboard and various technology-related tools, complemented by Mike Miller's (Sociology) presentation on integrating multimedia.

Featured UTSA faculty and two Ph.D. candidates gave brief presentations on teaching with games (Charles "Andy" Speer, Anthropology), scratch-off quizzes (Mike Anderson, Statistics) and interactive lectures (Rick Utecht, Marketing). Patricia Geppert, Biology, gave an inspiring mini-presentation on how she applied in her classes the things she learned at last year's Provost's Academy with an emphasis on using personal response systems ("clickers") to promote critical thinking.

The Provost's Academy received rave reviews with most rating the overall value as a 4 on a 4-point scale. Participants appreciated the research and resources, the opportunity to network with faculty from other disciplines and noted the significant impact the seminars will have on their instruction techniques.



Dec. 1, 9 a.m.

CITE Venture Competition & Exposition

The annual Center for Innovation, Technology and Entrepreneurship (CITE) 100K Venture Competition and Exposition will be held on the Main Campus on Dec. 1. Twenty-eight teams from across the university will exhibit their project; six teams will compete for a prize pool of more than $100,000 in funding to launch their new venture / company. More than 650 students have participated in launching new technology ventures.
Biotechnology, Sciences and Engineering (BSE 2.102), Main Campus

Dec. 3, 5:30 p.m.

UTSA Downtown String Project Winter Concert

This concert features 50 community children performing music in the UTSA Downtown String Project Winter Concert. The children, led by UTSA music students studying to be music teachers, will join together in playing the Theme from Batman at their concert. The Batman of San Antonio, a local celebrity figure, will make an appearance at the concert. This event is free.
Buena Vista Theatre, Downtown Campus

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Did You Know?

UTSA writes the book on all-digital libraries

As touch screens and e-books demand more and more attention from both casual readers and scholars, many people say the handwriting is on the wall for the printed page.

At UTSA, the handwriting is on the wall for a library that doesn't have any printed books.

Since March 2010, the bookless library in the Applied Engineering and Technology Building has given UTSA students an innovative way to read, research and work with each other to solve problems.

With ultra-modern furniture and a décor featuring desktop computers, scanners and LCD screens, the AET Library is designed to engage students in an online format. But it also offers group study niches and study rooms with whiteboards and glass walls on which students can write. The space encourages teamwork, communications and problem solving for the next generation of scientists and professional engineers.

Did you know? The UTSA AET Library is the nation's first completely bookless library on a college or university campus. It served as a model for Bexar County's first-in-the-nation public bookless library system and one of its branches, the Dr. Ricardo Romo BiblioTech.

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UTSA's Vision

To be a premier public research university, providing access to educational excellence and preparing citizen leaders for the global environment.

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