(July 8, 2010)--Cultivating leaders from within the university is the aim of a new program, Leadership UTSA, which recently announced its cohort of participants for the upcoming academic year. The program was developed in 2009 by John Frederick, provost and vice president for academic affairs, and Gage Paine, vice president for student affairs.
"As administrators, we talk about how everyone at UTSA can play a role in our drive to become a premier research university," said Frederick. "The idea for Leadership UTSA originated with some of our faculty members, and we thought it was a great opportunity to engage more of our faculty and staff members in the university's vision."
In 2008, Ann Eisenberg, associate dean of the Honors College; Marcheta Evans, associate dean of the College of Education and Human Development; and Edwin Barea-Rodriguez, chair of the Department of Biology; represented UTSA as participants in the UT System's leadership development program. They returned to San Antonio convinced that UTSA needed a similar program. So Leadership UTSA was created as an opportunity for faculty and staff to develop leadership skills and institutional perspectives.
"Being a leader transcends job title or position, and I believe that it benefits the university to nurture leaders at every level," said Paine. "At the same time, as a leader I also am a learner, and Leadership UTSA gave me and Dr. Frederick a chance to learn from our staff members."
Eight faculty and eight Student Affairs staff members participated in the pilot program in 2009–2010. They attended monthly full-day sessions during the academic year, with session topics ranging from strategic planning to understanding budgets. During the spring semester, each participant shadowed a UTSA administrator in order to observe real-world leadership and discuss issues more fully. In addition, each vice presidential area presented on the responsibilities under their purview to give participants a broader understanding of university programs and services.
"If you're at a departmental level as a faculty member or at a unit level as a staff member, you have responsibilities for a relatively finite part of the institutional function," said Leadership UTSA participant Maricela Oliva, assistant professor in the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies. "You think you understand how it connects to the rest of what happens, but it's good to actually engage others who are performing those other functions."
Her department colleague Professor Alan Shoho added that Leadership UTSA also allowed him to develop strong relationships with his administrative mentor and with faculty from other colleges, which he believes is especially important for a growing university.
"I came to UTSA 16 years ago because I wanted to be part of building something," he said. "Some of my new faculty colleagues here are a little impatient and think we can get from point A to point B overnight. Organizational change doesn't happen overnight, so if I'm a part of that foundation that we're building for the future, that's fine with me."
Because of positive response, Leadership UTSA was expanded to 20 participants for 2010-2011. Faculty selected for the coming year include Carola Wenk, Cory Hallam, John Warren, Judy Teale, Paul Schutz, Roger Enriquez, Stewart Miller and Thelma Duffey. Staff participants will be Beth Manning, Dominique Halaby, Ginnifer Cié Gee, Herb Ganey, Jane Wilcox, Kim Canady, Laura Munroe, Leticia Duncan, Lisa Alonzo, Marisol Scheer, Marlon Anderson and Veronica Ramirez.
"It was a great experience," said Lowa Mwilambwe, director of the University Center and 2009–2010 participant. "I would recommend it to anyone who wants to learn more about leadership theory, more about UTSA, or just to grow professionally and establish ties across the university."
UTSA prides itself on giving students a well-rounded education. Combining a top-tier academic program with opportunities for personal growth prepares students to compete in a global economy. And that's not all. They learn to be informed and engaged citizens as well. At the heart of that academic program is an award-winning core curriculum.
For four consecutive years, UTSA has received an A-rating from the American Council of Trustees and Alumni for the caliber of its core curriculum. According to ACTA, UTSA requires its students to take six of the seven courses deemed "crucial" to a well-rounded education: composition, literature, U.S. government or history, economics, mathematics and science. Only a handful of other institutions in the U.S. are giving students these tools, which are needed to succeed in careers and the community.
Did you know? UTSA is one of only three Texas institutions and 23 in the United States to receive the highest rating for its core curriculum in the 2014-2015 edition of the ACTA's "What Will They Learn?" report.
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