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UTSA public policy students create Citizens’ Bill of Rights and Responsibilities

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(Dec. 7, 2011) -- Social work graduate students in the UTSA College of Public Policy will present a newly drafted Citizens' Bill of Rights and Responsibilities at the Great Cities Dialogue on Saturday, Dec. 10. The My City, My Voice project supports Mayor Julian Castro's SA 2020 initiative to transform San Antonio into a world-class city by 2020, while maintaining its traditional, small-town feel.

The Citizens' Bill of Rights and Responsibilities emerged from two public meetings hosted this year by the UTSA College of Public Policy as the Government Accountability/Civic Engagement element of the SA 2020 plan in which citizens endorsed the concept as an effective means of building public engagement and trust.

"Generally, the citizens of a community have a good idea of what they expect their local government to do for them, but they are often not afforded the opportunity to share that information with government officials," said Robert Ambrosino, senior lecturer in the UTSA College of Public Policy. Ambrosino teaches the Advanced Communities course in which the students are conducting the Bill of Rights research. "The Citizens' Bill of Rights and Responsibilities provides that opportunity," he said.

During the fall 2011 semester, UTSA social work graduate students spoke with area citizens and groups to gain an understanding of how people articulate their rights and responsibilities as citizens. Following the discussions, the students reviewed their findings, whittling down the information into a series of key messages. Using those overarching messages, they drafted the Bill of Rights and Responsibilities representing the voices from a broad cross-section of San Antonio citizens.

"In the Department of Social Work, we are equipping our students with the tools they need to improve society," said Ambrosino. "With an SA 2020 vision area focused on improving citizen-government relations, this project was a great opportunity. It offered our students a transformative learning experience outside the classroom."

Free and open to the public, the next Great Cities Dialogue is 8:30-11:30 a.m., Saturday, Dec. 10 in Buena Vista Street Building Room 1.338 at the UTSA Downtown Campus. Registration is 8:30 a.m.-9:30 a.m., followed by a presentation/panel discussion from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m.

>> To learn more about UTSA's My City, My Voice project, contact Robert Ambrosino at 210-458-2026 or mycitymyvoice@gmail.com.

 

 

Did You Know?

UTSA makes the grade with a strong core curriculum

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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