(Oct. 12, 2011) -- The UTSA doctoral program in English recently was honored by Excelencia in Education as one of America's top programs in increasing degree completion among Latinos at the associate, bachelor's and graduate degree levels. One of 16 finalists among 195 nominees, the program was recognized at a recent ceremony in Washington, D.C., featuring U.S. Under-Secretary of Education Martha J. Kanter.
"For America to achieve President Obama's goal of becoming the world leader in college degrees by 2020, it is vital that we increase degree completion among Latinos," said Kanter. "The successful and innovative programs recognized today are examples of institutions working to do their part, and I commend Excelencia in Education for helping institutional leaders, educators and policy makers to understand these best practices."
UTSA's program was nominated by UTSA English professors Norma E. Cantu and Jeanne Reesman. Reesman leads the program as graduate adviser of record, and Cantu has been associated with the program since its approval in 2001.
Cantu believes several factors led to the program's selection. Sixteen doctorates were awarded, eight of them to Latinos, ranking them among the nation's best. She also cites UTSA's mission to educate students as an Hispanic-serving institution and the program's unique service-learning component.
"We offer them an opportunity, but don't require it. We just encourage them and support the work they do in the community," said Cantu. "This gives them the sense that what they do is not the 'ivory tower disconnect' from the community. It is intimately tied so that the theoretical critical analysis and thinking done in the classroom is translated to something they do in the community."
The service-learning projects include volunteering at the Esperanza Peace and Justice Center, Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center and the San Anto Cultural Arts Center. Additionally, doctoral students have assisted teenagers in writing newsletters and taught immigrants to read including Somali immigrants enrolled in a program at San Antonio Clark High School.
"This is the kind of program that can serve as a model for the future," Cantu said. "We don't look at only American and British literature; we also look at comparative literature and culture studies as well as film, drama, performance and a variety of cultural expressions."
Top honors in the associate, baccalaureate and graduate levels were awarded to El Paso Community College, Texas Tech University and Carlos Albizu University in Puerto Rico. All finalists will be included in the Excelencia in Education annual publication "What Works for Latino Students in Higher Education," which will be available for download at the Excelencia in Education website.
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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