(Dec. 5, 2011) -- One student already has more than 120 hours of community college. Another has lost his passion for his chosen major but doesn't want to lose those credit hours. And another has been slowly working on her undergraduate degree for 20 years.
Approximately 40 students have enrolled this semester in the university's Bachelor of Arts Degree in Multidisciplinary Studies, which was approved in June by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board. The program, which requires students to pursue coursework in three distinct focus areas, allows them to create highly individualized degree plans suited to their own interests and experience.
"There are a lot of students here and at every other university who -- for a variety of reasons --may not benefit from a traditional degree plan," said Barbara Smith, UTSA executive director of advising.
Those might be high-achieving students who have interests in many areas as well as students who intend to go to on to professional schools. "I think it's a very good program for students who are planning to go to law school or medical school to get the broad coursework that will help them become better doctors and lawyers," she said.
Gabriel Acevedo, program coordinator and associate professor of sociology, believes that having a broad understanding of multiple disciplines is important in the global economy.
"We live in a society where interdisciplinary skills are not only useful but often necessary," said Acevedo."With this program, we can help a lot of students complete their degrees and also provide them with an excellent, broad-based foundation for entering the workforce."
In their senior year, multidisciplinary studies students will complete a capstone project integrating their three focus areas. One of the focus areas must be within the College of Liberal and Fine Arts or the College of Sciences, and no more than one can be in the College of Business. Students must have their degree plans approved by the Office of Undergraduate Studies, which houses the degree program, and are advised through that office.
"It's very important to get a sense of what each student in the program wants to accomplish and then help them tailor a program to meet that goal," Acevedo said.
Acevedo and Smith said the multidisciplinary studies degree also is ideal for students who change their majors or who may not be eligible to continue in their chosen college but still are in good standing academically at UTSA, because it allows them to use their existing coursework toward a degree.
One such student is Amanda Schweizer, who began college in 1991 in California and lost a lot of her hours when she and her husband moved to Texas. Schweizer, 38, began the fall 2011 semester as a geology major and was facing a summer 2014 graduation. But, only three weeks into the semester and with Smith's advising, she changed her major to multidisciplinary studies and now expects to graduate in summer 2013. Pursuing her passion for nature photography, she is taking coursework in geography, geology and photography."I'm getting a more well-rounded degree that suits me," Schweizer said. "I'm going to be more focused and work harder now because all these courses interest me so much."
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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