(Aug. 7, 2018) -- Jesse T. Zapata, senior vice provost for academic and faculty support, announces his plans to retire after 43 years of distinguished service to the university.
Considered one of the university’s founding faculty members, Zapata joined UTSA in 1976 as an assistant professor of counseling in the College of Education and Human Development. He moved through the ranks as associate and then full professor, and served in many administrative roles which have collectively shaped his legacy at UTSA.
In 1987, Zapata co-founded and served as first chair of La Raza Faculty and Administrators Association. The work of this group impacted several key programs or processes, including the creation of the university’s Tomás Rivera Center for Student Success, establishment of the Mexican American Studies program and incorporation of Affirmative Action Advocates within the faculty recruitment process.
In 1989, Zapata became the first director of the Hispanic Research Center, a multidisciplinary center that provided a vehicle for generating high quality funded research for and about Hispanics. The center generated a number of grants from federal agencies, including one the National Institute on Drug Abuse that Zapata led as principal investigator, and established a series of working papers which are available through UTSA Libraries’ archival collections.
From 1994 to 2016, Zapata served as founding vice provost for the UTSA Downtown Campus, having been selected through a national search. Under his leadership, the university’s downtown presence expanded from classes in a temporary location at Cypress Tower to a 14-acre full-service campus that houses the College of Architecture, Construction and Planning, the College of Public Policy, and three departments in the College of Education and Human Development. As the campus’ chief operating officer, Zapata oversaw the Downtown Campus Council, a cooperative model whereby representatives from Academic Affairs, Business Affairs and Student Affairs worked together to ensure students received the courses they needed and the services they deserved. Over the years, he worked tirelessly to create a community-oriented, user-friendly and caring environment at the Downtown Campus.
As top Downtown Campus administrator, Zapata established and maintained strong ties with city and community leaders and served on the boards of several non-profit organizations dedicated to improving the city’s Westside and downtown areas. Zapata also worked with city council members to help identify city bonds that are now being used to improve traffic flow and safety around the campus.
From 2000 to 2008, he served concurrently as founding dean of the College of Public Policy, during which time he brought the departments of public administration and criminal justice to the Downtown Campus and established the Department of Social Work, the Department of Demography, and the Center for Policy Studies. In addition, he led the effort to create UTSA’s Ph.D. program in applied demography, which became the first doctoral program to be offered solely at the Downtown Campus. In 2012, Zapata assumed responsibility for overseeing the academic and faculty support functions within academic affairs, including oversight of the university’s academic policies, faculty review, grievances, appointments, faculty awards and development.
“Jesse has made tremendous contributions to UTSA, to our city and communities, and to his field,” said Kimberly Andrews Espy, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs. “He is truly one of a kind, and his impact on higher education and in promoting opportunities for those underserved is deep and profound. On behalf of the entire Roadrunner family, I wish him the very best in the next phase of his service in retirement.”
In the coming year, a national search will be launched for Zapata’s replacement. In addition to his usual duties, Zapata will help with the transition and continue to work on an archival project regarding the Downtown Campus and La Raza Faculty and Administrators Association in collaboration with UTSA Libraries.
In honor of UTSA's 50th Anniversary in 2019, the university is hosting Roadrunner Days Spring Edition - two weeks of semester-launching activities built around our deeply held values of student success, student involvement, community service and fun!Various locations, Main and Downtown Campuses
The UTSA Department of Physics and Astronomy invites everyone to its monthly lecture and stargazing event (weather permitting).Flawn Building (FLN 2.02.02) and Curtis Vaughn Jr. Observatory, 4th floor of Flawn Building, Main Campus
All UTSA students, faculty, staff, alums & families are invited to march as a unified community. Register here: bit.ly/2TYbHbR. Shuttles will be provided from the Main and Downtown Campuses.Martin Luther King, Jr. Academy, 3501 MLK Dr., San Antonio
UTSA's John Nix invites the community to sing "Amazing Grace" and “We Shall Overcome” at 11 a.m. on Martin Luther King Jr. Day. The intent of this nationwide effort is to honor Dr. King's legacy and to spread a sense of community in the United States.Locations throughout the United States
Opening Reception got exhibit featuring artists Miguel Aragon, Aaron Coleman, Sandra Fernandez, Annalise Gratovich, Marco Hernandez, Kristen Powers Nowlin, & Patricia Villalobos EcheverriaMain Art Gallery, Arts Building (ART 2.03.04), Main Campus
Tracy Cowden, Roland K. Blumberg Endowed Professor in Music and chair of the UTSA Department of Music launches the UTSA 50th Anniversary Scholars Speaker Series with Music as Medicine: The Power and Influence of Music on our Health.Radius Center, 106 Auditorium Cir. #120, San Antonio
UTSA African American Studies Program presents this series featuring Walter M. Kimbrough, president of Dillard University.Student Union Retama Auditorium (SU 2.02.02), Main Campus)
Join fellow Runners to walk for 10 minutes on the Main Campus. The event reminds us of the importance of exercise, diet and healthy habits in protecting our hearts.Outside the North Paseo Building, Main Campus
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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