Tuesday, September 17, 2019

UTSA launches Expanding Business Education and Career Engagement Initiative

UTSA launches Expanding Business Education and Career Engagement Initiative

Editor's Note: UTSA Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Kimberly Andrews Espy sent this email to UTSA faculty and staff today.

(March 19, 2019) -- Dear Colleagues,

As a part of the Downtown Campus Initiative, last fall UTSA announced plans to establish the National Security Collaboration Center and a new School of Data Science in downtown San Antonio. In conjunction with those plans, we submitted a legislative request to fund an adjacent, business-focused building downtown to accommodate our growing student body and better serve the San Antonio business community.

Today we are announcing the next phase in our planning through a focused initiative, Expanding Business Education and Career Engagement to the Downtown Campus . This initiative will allow us to better meet San Antonio’s escalating workforce needs, facilitate connecting UTSA students with career-engaged learning and professional development opportunities, and address the College of Business’s current and future academic space shortage.

Importantly, UTSA is one university – with programs at multiple locations. This initiative is intended to expand UTSA’s reach into downtown San Antonio – and capitalize on the unique assets at this location - while also maintaining and enhancing our offerings at the Main Campus.

San Antonio Workforce Development

San Antonio’s ability to continue attracting businesses that support high-paying jobs depends on the presence of a qualified and educated workforce. This initiative will lay the groundwork for UTSA to play an integral role in this effort by:

  • Offering select College of Business programs and classes downtown — in addition to those offered at the Main Campus
  • Increasing market share of students, particularly at the master’s level and within under-served areas of the city
  • Aligning programming with the specific needs of the San Antonio business community by engaging area business leaders, including small business entrepreneurs

Enhanced Career Engagement Opportunities

The Classroom to Career task force report revealed that San Antonio businesses are eager to identify students for internships, co-ops, and other career-focused learning experiences, and sometimes struggle to do so. This initiative will leverage this opportunity by:

  • Creating a career-engaged services network hub – a one-stop shop to connect students and prospective employers
  • Supporting the professional development needs of UTSA’s working adult students in the city’s core

Addressing Academic Space Shortages

The College of Business is currently operating with a shortage of more than 200,000 square feet according to standards set by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board. Given estimated enrollment projections, the space shortage will increase to 550,000 square feet within the next decade. This initiative will alleviate these needs by:

  • Building a new state-of-the-art university facility downtown on a parcel of land that will be transferred to UTSA by Bexar County, pending UTSA’s Tuition Revenue Bond request with the Legislature
  • Ensuring alignment of College of Business and other academic programs with the university’s strategic vision through data gathering to inform planning for the new building

College of Business Dean Gerry Sanders has already begun the foundational work for this initiative through the formation of a half-dozen “strategy squads” composed of faculty. Two of these teams are focused on efforts directly aligned with this initiative: strategic enrollment and the Downtown Campus. Two faculty senate representatives will serve on these teams. An interdisciplinary faculty planning advisory committee also will be created similar in scope to the faculty SDS/NSCC Planning Advisory Committee, to work collaboratively in support of this initiative.

Of course, our current students, staff and faculty will be critical to these efforts. As we move forward, regular updates will be provided and there will be many opportunities for the UTSA community to provide input. In the meantime, I invite you to share your thoughts with me at provost@utsa.edu.

With warm regards,

Kimberly Andrews Espy


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