(April 11, 2011)--Building Malawi one child at a time -- that is how Steve Matenje, ambassador from the Embassy of the Republic of Malawi, describes UTSA's latest global expansion.
On April 1, UTSA President Ricardo Romo and Matenje signed an agreement of cooperation, which now gives UTSA an established presence on every continent. The agreement expands the successful Read Malawi project established in 2009 under the guidance of Misty Sailors, UTSA associate professor of interdisciplinary learning and teaching.
In addition to expanding the Read Malawi program, the formal agreement (a first between UTSA and Africa) consists of four key areas:
"This is by far an important moment not only for UTSA but for the entire San Antonio community," said Sailors. "Not just UTSA but our city will be known in Malawi as a place where research, scholarship and humanitarian efforts converge. I am looking forward to the great programs and projects that will develop as a result of this collaboration."
Malawi, known as the "Warm Heart of Africa" for its diplomatic relations, has a population of more than 13 million. Its chief industries are agriculture and manufacturing, although it is increasingly becoming known for its tourism.
But according to Matenje, much of the country's progress over the last seven years has been hampered by high illiteracy rates. That's why Read Malawi and UTSA's extended relationship is important, he noted.
Already, the three-year, $13 million Read Malawi project sponsored by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) are providing five million books and 182 titles to children and teachers in the republic in an effort to encourage improvements in literacy rates and provide improvements in teacher training and practice.
"Given today's knowledge based economies, the importance of eliminating illiteracy in Malawi and poverty in all dimensions through a quality education and access to information cannot be overemphasized," Matenje said. "I have no doubt that Read Malawi will make a difference in the lives of our school children and teachers."
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
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
Graduate student uses storytelling to highlight important issues facing children
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.
The University of Texas at San Antonio is dedicated to the advancement of knowledge through research and discovery, teaching and learning, community engagement and public service. As an institution of access and excellence, UTSA embraces multicultural traditions and serves as a center for intellectual and creative resources as well as a catalyst for socioeconomic development and the commercialization of intellectual property - for Texas, the nation and the world.
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