(Jan. 17, 2012) -- Supported by a two-year, $280,000 grant from the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, researchers J. Mitchell Miller in the UTSA College of Public Policy Department of Criminal Justice and Michael J. Karcher in the UTSA College of Education and Human Development Department of Counseling will partner with the international nonprofit Youth Advocate Programs Inc. to study professional advocacy as a treatment for chronic juvenile delinquency.
In Texas, the most serious and chronically delinquent offenders are sent to the Texas Youth Commission (TYC). According to the TYC's most recent statistics (2009-2010), 93 percent of those youth were boys, 44 percent were admitted gang members and the group's average age was 16. In addition, 72 percent had high or moderate need for alcohol or other drug treatments. The group also had a sixth grade median reading level.
"Mentoring is widely accepted as a delinquency deterrent, however few in the field really understand what advocacy looks like, particularly for the youth who need it most, those right on the cusp of a criminal career," said Karcher. "This study will provide a picture of what advocacy for delinquent youth looks like, and it should reveal the elements of advocacy that are most helpful. We expect the findings to help mentors across the country hone their skills and boost their impact on the youth they mentor."
When compared to general youth mentoring, youth advocacy is an intense form of support. It generally takes place over a shorter time frame than mentoring, and it requires the participation of people from different parts of the youth's life such as parents, family members, teachers, advocate program administrators and staff, and probation officers.
"From a pure research perspective, we want to know whether paying adult mentors or relying on volunteerism makes a difference in youth outcomes," said Miller. "We also want to distinguish the subtler differences between advocacy and traditional mentoring modalities to see how each best aligns with various troubled youth populations."
The UTSA researchers will conduct the two-year study by collecting qualitative and quantitative data at Youth Advocate Programs in Toledo, Ohio; Las Vegas; Mobile, Ala.; Atlantic City, N.J. and Fort Worth, Texas. Led by Jeff Fleischer, YAP is a national nonprofit youth-work organization with professional advocates active in 17 U.S. states, Europe and South America.
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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