(Sept. 15, 2014) -- Over the last three decades, the number of open faculty positions for all ranks in African-American literary studies has seen a drastic decline, down to single-digit figures. To help combat the downward spiral, The University of Texas at San Antonio established the African American Literatures and Cultures Institute (AALCI) in 2010 to try to increase the number of students pursuing academic careers in English and African-American literary studies.
The AALCI was created at the recommendation of an advisory council comprised of 10 of the nation's leading African-American literary scholars. Each year, UTSA selects six to eight top applicants from around the country to participate in the three-week institute. It provides them with $2,000 research stipends, rigorous mentoring, innovative academic training and encouragement to pursue academic careers in English and African American literary studies.
Five years into the program, 16 of the AALCI's 37 student fellows, or 43 percent, will be in graduate school or will have already earned a graduate degree.
AALCI Fellow statistics:
This summer the curriculum was once again taught by Howard Rambsy II, an expert in African-American studies and former director of the Black Studies program at Southern Illinois University in Edwardsville, Ill. Rambsy also assisted students with writing samples for graduate school applications, and Adam Johnson of UTSA led the students in preparation for the Graduate Record Exam (GRE).
Participants discussed the works of African American scholars and met various authors, art collectors and educators to assist them in making their way through the graduate school processes.
One of this year's fellows was Josalynn Smith, a 20-year-old junior from Washington University in St. Louis. Her research project focused on African-American women who blog on social media.
"I looked at a range of blogs from political to pop culture and found that the women were saying some really cutting edge things that they might not be able to say in literature. I am hypothesizing that these works will one day have as much merit as published works that appear online," said Smith.
Smith enjoyed collaborating with the AALCI's students and making connections that could prove to be beneficial in the future.
The final week of the program, Smith and her peers traveled to New York City and visited several sites including the Brooklyn Museum, Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in Harlem and the African Burial Ground in downtown Manhattan.
"It was wonderful to see what literary pieces attracted the students, pushed their thinking and helped them to grow in a robust way," said Joycelyn Moody, UTSA Sue E. Denman Distinguished Chair in American Literature and AALCI founder.Read the San Antonio Express-News feature story on the AALCI.
San Antonio area high school and undergraduate students who participated in UTSA’s TRiO Upward Bound, Educational Talent Search and McNair Scholars programs will present their summer research projects and compete for top honors at the 8th annual symposium.
H-E-B Student Union Ballroom (HSU 1.104/1.106), Main Campus
Experience a fun, interactive week at UTSA as new students and their families take the first steps to becoming a Roadrunner.
Various locations, Main Campus and Downtown Campuses
Throughout the summer, UTSA offers more than 60 camps in science, engineering, architecture, sports, music, writing, language, culture and more.
Various locations, Main and Downtown Campuses
This event guides seniors and graduate students on the last phase of their college career and prepares recent alumni within one year of graduation for the world of work. Workshops and sessions will provide information on interview skills, job search strategies and networking.
Student Union, University Career Center, 2nd floor, Main Campus
The gala brings together UTSA alumni, friends and guests to celebrate the association's 41 years of scholarships, services, programs and the 2018 Alumni Award recipients.
Hyatt Hill Country Resort and Spa, 9800 Hyatt Resort Dr, San Antonio
As part of the citywide Kidcation and the ITC's free second Sunday, kids and families will have an opportunity to interact with cowboy docents, practice their skills at roping, learn about life on the cattle drives, make their own spurs, grab a seat for cowboy story time and work on cowboy-themed hands-on crafts.
UTSA Institute of Texan Cultures, Hemisfair Campus
Dozens of fun and free events to welcome new and returning Roadrunners.
Various locations, Main and Downtown Campuses
The kickoff to Roadrunner Days, the UTSA community welcomes the thousands of students who move in to their new homes as they begin their journey at UTSA.
Laurel Village, Chaparral Village and Alvarez Hall, Main Campus
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