Vice President for Community Services
University of Texas at San Antonio
501 W. Cesar Chavez Blvd.
The University of Texas at San Antonio, One UTSA Circle, San Antonio, TX 78249
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, serving 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.
UTSA’s mission statement reflects not only a dedication to education and research, but also to community engagement and the service values it was charged with at its inception. As a public university founded to serve Texas, and particularly San Antonio, the largest city without a public university at the time (1969), UTSA has consistently partnered with
community stakeholders with a sense of shared destiny and commitment to improve our region. As one of the leading Hispanic- Serving Institutions in the U.S., with an emphasis on higher education access and an emerging research profile, UTSA’s basic Carnegie classification is RU/H as a doctoral granting university with high research activity.
UTSA recognizes community engagement through a number of different campus- wide awards for achievement and distinction in community engagement. The following are examples of UTSA’s commitment to recognizing students, faculty, alumni, and community members for their efforts in community engagement.
UTSA’s Distinguished Achievement Award for Excellence in Community Engagement is presented at an annual convocation to one faculty and one staff member who display exemplary community service by providing leadership and who have made significant contributions in the community. The award recognizes the importance of sustained contributions to the community, thereby creating partnerships and collaborations with the university. Last year, the award went to Francine Romero, associate professor of public administration in the College of Public Policy. Romero installed UTSA as a lead partner in the San Antonio Mayor’s Vision SA2020. The partnership brought together 1,200 community members in a series of town hall collaborative sessions to discuss the future of the city and include their voices in the year-
long planning process. Romero took a lead role in the process including the implementation area of Civic Engagement and Government Accountability.
The UTSA Student Center for Community Engagement and Inclusion recognizes students for their community
engagement activities and commitment. In a partnership with Wells Fargo Bank, individual awardees receive a $500 stipend and organizations receive a $1,000 award. In the preceding year 16 awards were presented. One example of an individual award is Tanita Wiley, a sociology senior who worked with the San Antonio Youth Center to develop and implement an afterschool mentoring pathway for inner city youth.
The annual University Life Awards recognize faculty, students, and alumni for their community engagement activities, for volunteer work in the community, and for service to the university. These awards are traditionally hosted by the Student Government Association.
UTSA also celebrates service to the community at the President’s Scholarship and Awards Dinner. The event brings together approximately 700 guests including civic and business leaders, faculty, staff and students. The previous year’s gala was themed “Together We Serve” and recognized individuals who provided exceptional leadership in vital community endeavors and partnerships.
Various UTSA schools and colleges including public policy, education, architecture, liberal and fine arts, honors and business, confer awards to community leaders, faculty, staff and students for service to the community. At the annual Alumni Gala, faculty, staff, and students are recognized for their public service contributions to the community.
The Vice President for Community Services has administrative oversight responsibilities for community engagement activities across the institution. In this capacity he oversees, directly administers, or has access to several assessment systems to collect community members' perceptions of the institution's activities in the community. These systems ensure a continuing dialog and retain strong relationships with community partners allowing for an open exchange about the university's involvement. The following are descriptions of several of these systems:
The UTSA Outreach Council was established in 2007 by President Ricardo Romo. The purpose is to collect, analyze, and disseminate engagement/outreach activity information throughout the institution; to promote collaboration where outreach interests may overlap; to foster community engagement and the exchange of ideas; and to provide a forum for community representatives to express their assessment of the institution’s community engagement activities. The council includes representatives from university departments and colleges as well as community representatives from various sectors. The council meets twice a year and is chaired by the Vice President for Community Services.
The university’s strategic plan - - UTSA 2016 - A Shared Vision - - entails extensive dialogues with community representatives to formulate a comprehensive vision and strategic initiatives to “serve the public through community engagement”. The dialogues occurred over a six month period to gather community perceptions regarding UTSA’s current and future efforts to advance community engagement at all levels. An implementation plan is in place to systematically and regularly track and report progress (Trac Dat System). Community input and advice is sought through the Outreach Council biannually, and quarterly through various sub- committees of the University Development Board.
The university is committed to embracing the community voice through inclusion of community members at the college, school, and department levels. A mechanism of systematic assessment - decentralized in the fifteen colleges, schools, and departments through advisory boards and committees - includes community partners and serves as a vehicle to gauge community perceptions and progress towards engagement goals. Typically the dean or director convenes a biannual board meeting and elicits community stakeholders’ perceptions on how academic, research and engagement activities fulfill their expectations, and how these efforts could be improved.
The Vice President for Community Services, an executive officer and member of the President’s cabinet, has responsibility for aggregating, reviewing, and disseminating assessment data collected through the aforementioned systems, and from the various colleges, schools and departments. The assessment data is used for continuous quality improvement to, identify gaps in community engagement service, promote collaboration where interests may overlap, foster exchange of ideas, and promote robust engagement. The Outreach Council, chaired by the Vice President for Community Services, regularly prepares reports for the President’s cabinet and the broader management structure (the Executive Leadership Council) for appropriate action. In addition, progress on the community engagement portion of the strategic plan “Serving the Public through Community Engagement” (collected through the Trac Dat System) is also distributed similarly.
At the college and departmental levels, program- specific system data is used to ensure responsiveness and effectiveness of engagement activities for accountability reporting to community stakeholders and to communicate the public value- proposition of UTSA engagement programs.
Assessment data is distributed widely through reports, websites and public forums. One example of how the system data is used to assess and guide engagement activities at the institution follows. After recognizing that the college- going rate in the region was approximately half of the state’s college- going rate, the university reached out to school districts, community organizations, the business community, and parents to convene a college readiness summit. This effort in conjunction with similar ones across the region has resulted in a consortium of organizations to address the issue and foster interventions such as financial aid Saturdays, early college readiness assessment programs, college- going workshops for parents, professional development for teachers (K- 12 and college level) regarding first generation college students, and several other major initiatives.
The university annually publishes a community engagement focus magazine -- Community Connect-- that is distributed widely throughout the community, and to the institution, civic leaders, education leaders, and parents. Community Connect magazine highlights community engagement activities at the institution that are done in collaboration with partners across the city, state, and global communities. Approximately 30,000 copies are distributed in either paper or electronic format.
Community Connect also recognizes exemplary engagements. For example, it recently highlighted the success story of Luis Ahumada and his classmates in a design/built class in the UTSA College of Architecture who transformed a local park in collaboration with the City of San Antonio, the San Antonio Sports Foundation, and the nonprofit group SPARK (school park). The renovation included outdoor classrooms, a cooling center and a nature trail footbridge. Mr. Ahumada stated "the design/built class encourages UTSA students to help their communities. It gives us a chance to expand what we have learned in the classroom into actual work, answering real- world challenges. I learned a great deal and I will never forget the wonderful experience from that semester."
The university also promotes community engagement through its UTSA.edu website as well as a specific community engagement website known as UTSA Community Connection and multiple publications. The main UTSA website has a section dedicated specifically to ‘Community Outreach’ for an overview of the purpose and scope of UTSA’s engagement initiatives and outreach activities. Links are provided to access the Vice President of Community Services, outreach centers, institutes and programs such as the placement office for student volunteers and employment, and vendor opportunities through the UTSA Office of Business Affairs.
The Community Connection website promotes and directs community members, faculty and students to specific opportunities to participate in a broad and dynamic inventory of over 230 engagement programs. The website also provides access to event calendars and a speaker/expert database. The public access front page of the Community Connection website facilitates connections with programs, events, and volunteer opportunities of interest to the site visitors.
Engaged scholarship in the curriculum is reflected in UTSA’s undergraduate and graduate catalogs, identifying degree program requirements and courses with elements of community engagement and experiential service- learning. As an example, the Honors College — which is open to students from all academic disciplines — promotes community service and learning through a supervised capstone experience that encourages an expertise in the chosen field of study by
promoting engagement with community stakeholders.
Signature events such as the annual “Great Conversation!” also increase public awareness about the important cultural, intellectual, and activist roles UTSA plays in bringing solutions and building alliances responsive to societal needs. Hosted at UTSA’s museum, dozens of group discussion tables on pressing community and societal issues are organized, led by UTSA experts and prominent community leaders.
UTSA President Ricardo Romo is a native of San Antonio who grew up in a Westside barrio. He graduated from Fox Tech High School before attending the University of Texas at Austin on a track scholarship. At UT Austin he was the first Texan to run the mile in less than four minutes, a record that lasted forty- one years. He has had a distinguished career in higher education and is nationally recognized as a higher education leader and President of a major Hispanic- Serving Institution with fourteen years at the helm to date. His leadership values of community engagement permeate the institution. He serves on numerous local, national and international boards and commissions and constantly leverages those forums and connections to advance the mutual goals for UTSA to become a tier one institution in concert with San Antonio’s climb to become a top tier city.
Through the President’s social media, speeches, regular emails, and articles conveyed to students, faculty, alumni, donors, elected officials, and community members, he constantly emphasizes community engagement as a practice and expectation of UTSA. For example, when opening his annual State of the University Address, remarking on receiving President Obama’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll in 2013: "Community engagement and public service are key components of our UTSA mission statement. We accept this honor roll recognition as testimony to the
impact that UTSA students are making in partnership with our community, near and far, and support from faculty and staff."
Executive leadership support continues with a designated Vice President for Community Services, Dr. Jude Valdez, leading a portfolio with $23 million of sponsored engagement programs with over 300 staff and over 50,000 program participants annually. The Academic Affairs leadership across ranks of the provost, deans, and department chairs proactively engage with both the educational pipeline and community groups in their respective disciplines. UTSA researchers partner with area industries and institutions on applied research and economic development initiatives. Student Affairs promotes volunteerism and student engagement across a broad range of civic interests. Business Affairs is renowned for vendor outreach and in particular Historically Underutilized Business supplier and contractor participation with UTSA. All these divisional engagement activities get communicated across their respective community stakeholder sub- sets, sending a consistent message of partnership and sense of shared destiny for UTSA and our surrounding community.
The university has committed not only to the spirit of community engagement through programmatic, curricular, and volunteer efforts, but also through organizational infrastructure. UTSA has dedicated an entire vice presidential division to community engagement through Dr. Jude Valdez, Vice President for Community Services.
The Vice President for Community Services has administrative oversight responsibilities for community engagement activities across the institution. He accomplishes this responsibility in concert with the Outreach Council which he chairs. The Outreach Council’s purpose is to collect, analyze, and disseminate engagement/outreach activities throughout the institution to, promote collaboration where outreach interests may overlap; promote community engagement; foster the exchange of ideas; and provide a forum for community representatives to provide input on the institution’s community engagement activities.
The Vice President for Community Services also has a portfolio that includes directly administering eight different units including the Office of P- 20 Initiatives, Extended Education, the Institute for Economic Development, Institute of Texan Cultures, Mexico Center, Prefreshman Engineering Program, and Office of Community Outreach .
The Office of the Vice President for Community Services includes a core staff of eight including four professional and four administrative support staff.
Decentralized engagement activities across the institution are coordinated not controlled by VPCS, however, aligned with UTSA’s mission as the unifying theme. Curricular engagement, scholarship and research engagements, volunteerism and public service partnerships, extensive grant supported programs, reside across the institution and have broad representation for internal coordination via the Outreach Council.
it is used:
Internal budget resources support the community engagement administrative infrastructure for the VP for Community Services. These provide for executive leadership, administrative, HR and facilities support, financial accountability, reporting, communications via the Community Connections website and magazine, and engagement coordination via the UTSA Outreach Council. Fixed costs for these core functions run approximately $650,000 annually from internal resources.
Programmatic expenditures of internal UTSA state funding allocations for engagement activities are an additional $11
million annually. Non- formula allocations called Special Items provide designated funding to the Institute for Economic Development, Institute of Texan Cultures, Prefreshman Engineering Program, and State Data Center, which represent internal priorities set in the budgeting process every two years. These allocations are then used frequently to match external grant sponsorships and expand engagement activities through funding partnerships.
Is there external funding dedicated to supporting institutional engagement with community?
Describe specific external funding:
Approximately 30 percent of all externally supported grants and contracts to UTSA are for public service and community engagement activities, currently with expenditures of $23.6 million annually. A broad array of cooperative agreements and grants primarily from federal agency sources support engagement activities by UTSA. These fund student service- learning and engaged scholarship activities, as well as faculty and staff engagement in response to community stakeholder needs. Several examples of note:
The U.S. Department of Education supports UTSA involvement with applied research, institutional capacity building and policy development to improve educational attainment with at- risk youth and marginalized populations. This arena is a key community deficiency due to high drop- out rates and under- performing area schools, and a shared priority for UTSA as the feeder system for college students.
The Bank of America Child and Adolescent Policy and Research Center at UTSA (CAPRI) is another example of a community engaged organization that has benefited from external funding. Recent grant activity included a contract to
conduct interviews with community groups and families to determine specific child care needs of low- income families and recommended development of new programs for childcare providers in San Antonio. The results of this project ended in a municipal initiative led by Mayor Castro to seek an increase of ¼ of a cent in sales tax to fund the Pre- K 4 SA program, an initiative to provide four- year- old children across San Antonio with high quality pre- kindergarten education. Another engagement grant awarded to CAPRI from the Department of Housing and Urban Development will study causes and potential remedies for low education attainment of foster care youth who are earning college degrees at an extremely low rate compared to the general population.
The U.S. Small Business Administration and Department of Commerce support a broad range of economic development extension partnerships by UTSA to stimulate entrepreneurship and industry diversification in this region. Elevating and expanding labor demand is a community priority, and of shared interest to UTSA as a means to expand placement opportunities for UTSA graduates and partner with area industry on applied research and commercialization activities.
State and city transportation and public works agencies provide grants for the College of Architecture in projects of historic preservation and regional planning and with the Department of Anthropology’s Center for Archaeological Research (CAR) for artifacts and site excavations. Both arenas provide students rich experiential learning opportunities, scholarly research opportunities for faculty, and respond to community partner needs to protect and showcase community assets for residents and the tourism sector.
A partnership of the local electric utility company with UTSA’s Texas Sustainable Energy Research Institute provides support of $50 million over 10 years. This partnership engages students and faculty in applied research, career tracks and extension services to accompany San Antonio’s shift toward alternate and renewable energy and conservation. Instead of hiring national consulting firms, Mayor Julian Castro and President Ricardo Romo determined together to build local institutional expertise in green energy and to educate and expand the local workforce in this field.
Is there fundraising directed to community engagement?
In April of 2012, President Ricardo Romo launched a $120 million fundraising campaign that would focus on four areas:
DProviding Access to Excellence -- scholarship and student success support DCreating New Knowledge -- seed key research hires and facilities
DServing Society -- building engagement capacity DEnriching Experiences -- for campus life and involvement
As one of the four pillars of the fundraising priorities, “Serving Society,” makes up 22 percent of the total goal or $26.4 million. The drive of “Serving Society” includes a variety of community engagement activities: economic development, dropout prevention, college readiness, health and wellness, transportation, financial literacy, and community program.
As of fall 2013, the capital campaign reached its initial $120 million goal and increased the goal to $175 million to be reached by fall 2015
Does the institution invest its financial resources in the community for purposes of community engagement and community development?
Describe specific financial investments:
Examples are limited due to prohibitions as a public state university for investing in other ventures either private or public, or passing through of public funds to any third party. However UTSA assets are in certain circumstances made available for community engagement and development through a variety of win- win arrangements with community stakeholders where our missions are closely aligned.
One example is a partnership with the City of San Antonio and Bexar County for the development of the Park West 125- acre complex along Loop 1604. UTSA acquired this land to develop a new expanded athletics complex and vacate needed acreage on the Main Campus to build classrooms and student housing currently occupied by sports facilities. An
agreement to develop the property jointly with major related infrastructure investments of $15 million in county bond program funds and $5.5 million city funds was struck with UTSA’s contribution for joint public use of the land valued at $19 million for public community sports events and recreational use.
Community interests via a public referendum set a priority to create more green space and facilities for sports events, aerobic activities and recreation due to a health crisis of high obesity in San Antonio (66.8 percent per the CDC). Joint development by UTSA with municipal government support is mutually beneficial with UTSA contributing ideally- situated land the city did not have, and the city contributed over $20 million of related infrastructure which UTSA did not have sufficient capital funds to cover. The result is a very significant community development project providing health and recreation benefits to citizens and students alike, only made possible through intensive engagement of UTSA with local government and interest groups.
An additional example of deploying UTSA resources for community development benefit is the Historically Underutilized Business (HUB) program of the VP for Business Affairs. As a Hispanic- Serving Institution (HSI) in a minority- majority community that is 60 percent Hispanic and 10 percent other minority groups, equal opportunity in business is as
important as equal opportunity in education for all segments of the population to succeed. UTSA’s Purchasing department and Facilities department have for many years ranked among the top performing state agencies in terms of outreach and engagement of minority business vendors and contractors to compete for the substantial funds UTSA spends to meet operating needs for services, supplies, equipment, and construction. Not a set- aside approach, but rather outreach and policies for equal opportunities for bidders are important to demonstrate UTSA’s community commitment. And the UTSA grant- sponsored Minority Business Development Center independently provides management training, access to working capital and technical consulting to help local HUBs improve their capabilities to bid and perform on contracts. In fiscal year 2013, UTSA spent more than $21.2 million with HUBs, or minority and women- owned businesses certified by the state. UTSA’s program ranked 10th among nearly 200 state agencies in percent of total expenditures spent with HUBs. The program put funds into the local community to helped build businesses and jobs for improved community development.
Does the institution maintain systematic campus-wide tracking or documentation mechanisms to record and/or track engagement with the community?
The UTSA Office of the Vice President for Community Services prepares an annual system- wide report using an integrated community engagement website with a public and a non- public or "back- end" component. The Community Connection website is used to accomplish two main goals:
Provide a repository for all community- engaged activities and events with a searchable database on how to get involved, participate or volunteer (public portion).
Allow for systematic collection and tracking of community engagement activities and programs (nonpublic back- end).
The public portion of the Community Connection website is a database of all community- engaged activities and programs at the institution. Each activity or program is briefly described including a link to a more detailed website and contact
information . The public portion also showcases over 230 community- engaged activities or programs at the institution. The database is searchable, allowing faculty, staff students and the community to find a program that meets their interest or need.
The back- end or nonpublic portion of the website is password- accessible and contains detailed information regarding the community- engaged activity or program, including a comprehensive description, faculty, staff and student involvement, community partner organizations, number of hours, number of participants, amount and source of funding, the lead person or director and contact information, and other relevant quantitative and qualitative measures. Each department or college has appointed an individual who is responsible for data entry on existing and new engagement activities. A
Communications Coordinator in the Office of the Vice President for Community Services provides the necessary training and coordination to the units and maintains the website, which is currently being reviewed to improve its functionality and user- friendliness. The website has been operational since 2010.
In the past year, UTSA successfully reached out to engage individuals and organizations including kindergarteners, graduates, alumni, businesses, families, and many others in the community. Based on data gathered through the
Community Connection website, the university’s overall community engagement activities and programs involved more than 676,645 individuals. Of this number, 1,503 were faculty, 1,680 were staff and 12,250 were students.
Additional campus- wide assessment mechanisms are in place, complementing the Community Connection website. Specifically, a system for gaging faculty involvement in community engagement activities or programs is in place. A secondary system assesses student participation in service- learning courses. These complementary systems will be described in subsequent sections.
The data extracted from the Community Connection website is used to inform UTSA leadership and the public about the range and scope of engagement activities and participation in an annual report. This data also is assessed by the UTSA Outreach Council for alignment with our overall strategic direction and community priorities, to make adjustments in the mix of activities and consider new initiatives. Highlights from the reports are included in the Community Connect and Sombrilla magazines and distributed to the Office of University Communications and Marketing for timely dissemination in the ongoing channels of newsletters, social media, speeches, and news releases.
Likewise, the information gathered about community participation levels helps UTSA plan financial commitment and volunteer efforts to better run our community engagement projects. For example, UTSA coordinates the Texas Folklife Festival for San Antonio and the surrounding cities every year. The festival is the biggest cultural celebration in Texas. More than 40 cultural groups are represented, and each year more than 250 exhibitors come together at the university’s museum to celebrate their culture and heritage, which draws about 50,000 guests from the region. The annual event is successful due to the help of faculty, staff, and student volunteers, as well as over 4,000 community volunteers with 75 percent of ticket sales going to the community organizations represented at the event. This event is planned months in advance and changes according to the scope and programmatic feedback from volunteers and guests extracted from surveys and input from Community Connection numbers.
If yes, indicate the focus of these systematic campus-wide assessment mechanisms and describe one key finding for Impact on Students:
Service- learning at the institution is overseen and coordinated by an Associate Director for Service Learning. He, in conjunction with the Office of the Provost ensures that service- learning courses adhere to the core components (described later), provides professional development workshops and seminars for faculty, tracks courses, conducts appropriate evaluations and maintains an inventory of courses. Focus groups and surveys are used to assess student outcomes in service- learning courses and co- curricular activities. In addition to the aforementioned evaluation tools and systems, a Service- Learning Advisory Board made up of faculty, staff, students, and community partners, participates in the evaluation process and impact. Revisions and modification are made to the programming based on the results of these evaluation tools. Recent graduate Torrie Jackson, who served as the student representative to this body wrote, “Being a member of the Service- Learning Advisory Board helped me advance my understanding of service inside and outside of the classroom. As an involved student with volunteer services on campus, service- learning was a topic that I had heard about, but never actively worked on. As a student on the Advisory Board, I gained firsthand experience in the implementation of the inaugural Service Learning Symposium. Serving as a judge for the poster contest, which highlighted the work of my peers in the San Antonio community, I came to appreciate all of my experiences on the board. At first, being the only student on the board was intimidating, but the board became a place where my understanding of service was challenged and evolved it to a much greater meaning. Now, I believe that service is something that we are all obligated to do and the classroom is a place that prepares us to go out into our community and serve others. The Service- Learning Advisory Board called for me to think about my peers and how their collegiate experience could be much stronger, through the initiation of a service- learning aspect in every classroom.”
In addition to the above mentioned evaluation systems, the university annually participates in the National Survey of Student Engagement and has done so for the past ten years. Survey results over the years indicate a strong and growing interest in community engagement and service- learning offerings. As a result, the university has steadily increased its service- learning offerings across a wider spectrum of disciplines by 20 percent.
If yes, indicate the focus of these systematic campus-wide assessment mechanisms and describe one key finding for Impact on Faculty:
UTSA collects key assessment data on faculty using Faculty Activity Reports through Digital Measures, a system- wide faculty tool that is updated annually to report the portfolio of faculty members’ work. Included in the faculty activity reports is a section on public engagement, in which respondents are asked to include their research, teaching, or service involving community engagement. A portion of the faculty activity report that deals with public engagement is used by department chairs, deans, the provost and the vice president for community services to gauge the level of community engagement activity, to identify areas for additional engagement, to reward outstanding work, as well as for general accreditation
A review and analysis of this data from the faculty of the College of Architecture resulted in Dean John Murphy establishing the Center for Architectural Engagement. The center is directed by Professor Sue Ann Pemberton who has been widely recognized for her community engagement activities and the engagement activities of her students. Professor Pemberton serves as the chair of the San Antonio Conservation Society and also sits on the board of the Hemisfair Park Area Redevelopment Corporation, which is responsible for the development of the 68- acre Hemisfair Park, the site of the 1968 World’s Fair in San Antonio.
Faculty Activity Reports have impacted rewards and research interests. The President and the Provost have established faculty awards in the areas of research, teaching, engaged service, globalization, and creative production. The selection
committee and the recommending deans rely on Faculty Activity Reports/Digital Measures to evaluate the portfolio of work that each faculty member submits. This recorded data has had a significant impact on the number of awards, as well as reports being submitted for assessment. Faculty report that the recognition of community- engaged work is an incentive to undertake more community- engaged work.
Additionally, university deans have pointed to the use of Digital Measures in the creation of a system- wide UTSA research database which inventories past, present, and future research interests in order to foster cross- fertilization of research projects, as well as cross- discipline collaborations among faculty. For example, the College of Sciences (COS) and the College of Education (COE) discovered an overlap of missions and partnered to construct a highly intensive math and science curriculum in the COS with teacher preparation at COE. The program is known as GE²MS Teaching Program and was created by leading faculty in both departments with collaboration among deans.
Using the Community Connection website data for the past year, a total of 676,645 participants including faculty, students, staff, and community members were involved in UTSA- related community- engaged service in the region. UTSA receives continuous feedback through the website in order to improve service and partnerships with the community. As an example of improved partnerships, UTSA received feedback from numerous community partners expressing confusion about being contacted by multiple departments about service- learning, making it difficult to communicate about meeting dates, locations, and the amount of students needed for coordinated events. In response, UTSA established the Student Center for Community Engagement and Inclusion (SCCEI) to better develop a relationship with local community partners and agencies looking to partner with UTSA on service- learning for the mutual benefit of students, faculty, and community partners. The UTSA Associate Director of Service- Learning had this to say about the partnership with SCCEI:
"Community partners are educators and valued members of the service- learning team. They have needs that present opportunities for our students to gain real- world experience and for our faculty to discover new venues for teaching and opportunities for research." Feedback from partners has led to an increase in the participation of faculty, students and community agencies that now have a central location to find university resources.
In addition to feedback through the community engagement website, the Outreach Council’s work in identifying
community needs resulted in a prolific collaboration: The Department of Applied Engineering and Technology and the university’s library system partnered with Bexar County to establish the first public bookless library in a traditionally underserved part of the county. Known as the BiblioTech Digital Library, the facility is the first all- digital public library in the United States and is located in one of the poorest areas of Bexar County, Texas. This success story has been featured in national media.
As a result of the institution’s interactions, partnerships and collaborations with the community and all its constituent groups/partners over a significant period of time and through the various systematic campus- wide assessment
mechanisms, the university has charted course to become the first Tier One research- intensive and community- engaged university in South Texas. The specific strategic initiatives involved in the path to Tier One include:
Enriching Educational Experiences to Enable Student Success
Serving Society through Creativity, Expanded Research and Innovations
Promoting Access and Affordability
Serving the Public through Community Engagement
Expanding Resources and Infrastructure
This is the most significant impact that community engagement has had on the institution and represents a major shift in goals. It also reflects a response to the community’s call for action and need.
The data compiled from the various assessment mechanisms -- Outreach Council, Community Connection website, TracDat, service- learning surveys, Digital Measures, National Survey of Student Engagement, Institution’s Advisory Board, college and department advisory boards – is used for progress documentation, needs assessment, continuous quality
improvement, reporting, resource allocation, planning and communicating the institution’s impact in priority areas of collaboration to the public and stakeholders. A number of examples of enhanced service delivery have impacted the community, for example, housing studies through the College of Architecture, labor market studies from the UTSA
Institute for Economic Development for research in the shale oil development region of South Texas (Eagle Ford Shale), and more focused deficit studies on the availability of adequate health care and transportation through the College of Public Policy.
Data from these mechanisms has led to our nationally recognized Small Business Development Center program (under the orgaizational umbrella of the Institute for Economic Development) in partnership with the U.S. State Department being tapped to serve as a model for replication in Mexico, and fourteen other Latin American countries to fulfill President
Obama’s “Small Business Network of the Americas” initiative. UTSA Institute for Economic Development is a model of community engagement activity, which in the last program year had an economic impact of over $1.6 billion in the region.
Data from these mechanisms is also used to assess progress on our strategic plan dealing with community engagement -- “Serving the Public through Community Engagement.” The component of engagement is integral to our value proposition as we ask donors to contribute $39 million toward this component of the strategic plan and capital campaign.
Impact data regarding community partnerships in education have led to new approaches in dealing with college- preparedness. Large portions of our freshmen class are first generation college students who often come unprepared for the college experience and need remediation and other support services. A newly developed program with a holistic approach to college readiness -- UTSA Ready -- reaches out to juniors in high school –to prepare them for the academic, social, and personal challenges of college life.
UTSA 2016: A Shared Vision (our strategic plan) represents a comprehensive blue print for moving UTSA toward becoming a Tier One university. As such, we have put great emphasis on building a strategic plan that aligns with our mission as a university committed to learning, discovery and engagement. The plan includes five major goal categories, with “Serving the Public through Community Engagement” being one of them.
Overlaying the plan is a separate “implementation plan” monitored through TracDat (described above).
One of the goals under “Serving the Public through Community Engagement” includes achieving the Carnegie
Community Engagement Classification to help guide development of UTSA’s support infrastructure for such activities. Applying this framework early on has given impetus to further evolving the extensive foundation of engagement activities, and refining best practices such as improving the inventory of UTSA’s public services, evaluating impact of our programs, using formative assessment to adjust our mix of engagements, and identifying resource strategies to employ with the appropriate community members or groups.
“Serving the Public through Community Engagement” has four main strategies. 1) Develop UTSA’s infrastructure to support and expand public service efforts 2) Expand lifelong learning opportunities
Increase student engagement with the community
Enhance quality of life through community engagement.
The strategic focus on community engagement has several themes: economic development, environment, arts and culture, community development, lifelong learning, K- 20 education pipeline, and health. These themes were prioritized through a process of mutual consultation and partnerships with community stakeholders.
A variety of professional development opportunities are made available to faculty and staff to enhance and improve our civic and community engagement outcomes and activities. These include workshops and conferences offered through our Faculty Center. Professional development opportunities in community- engaged topics dealing with pedagogy, best practices, public policy implications, and engaged scholarship, are offered regularly. Additionally, professional development in community- engaged topics is offered through individual departments to reflect specific disciplinary foci. Sabbaticals and course releases are also offered to faculty with a community- engaged scholarship theme.
Faculty and staff involved with service- learning courses receive professional development workshops and seminars through the Student Center for Community Engagement and Inclusion. An annual symposium on service- learning is also offered for faculty. In the last academic year, the center hosted a service- learning symposium for university faculty, staff, and students with Jeffrey Howard, founder and editor of the Michigan Journal of Community Service Learning as the keynote speaker. This symposium, titled “Transforming Service- Learning Teaching and Community Involvement into Community Engaged Scholarship”, challenged faculty to consider service- learning as not only a pedagogical strategy but an opportunity to engage in community- based research.
UTSA is a member of the Engagement Scholarship Consortium, with our Vice President for Community Service being a board member. This relationship has provided professional development opportunities for our faculty and staff to attend and present at their annual conference, and keep abreast of best practices in the community engagement field.
Being an institutional member of the Association of Public and Land- Grant Universities, the vice Vice President for
Community Service is a member of the Council on Engagement and Outreach, which provides numerous opportunities for professional development as well as best practices for a community- engaged university.
Various input mechanisms are purposefully structured for collection of community perspectives and involvement with the university to set plans and initiatives, e.g. the Outreach Council, the development board, numerous advisory boards, surveys and public forums.
As the largest public university in San Antonio, UTSA is host to many meetings with the community about engagement topics. Many of the departments leverage their faculty’s contacts in identifying community stakeholders including local elected officials, community leaders, neighborhood associations, and the business community in order to convene productive conversations on the topics most pertinent to the broader region.
Examples include a College of Public Policy forum on immigration reform awareness in partnership with several congressman,state officials, advocacy groups, and others; an Institute for Economic Development study on the economic effects and community response to shale energy extraction in South Texas counties; and responding to local neighborhood frustration with gang activity by convening a panel of experts from the Department of Criminal Justice and partners from a local agency Youth United. Such forums generate valuable inputs to guide next steps with engagement initiatives.
UTSA organized a daylong summit through the Office of P- 20 Initiatives, which included representatives from the
community, K- 12 education, higher education, the business sector and parents to discuss college and career readiness in San Antonio. The conference served to give a voice to the community with respect to college admission and success, and enhance the university's relationships with school districts to facilitate transition into college. UTSA as a consequence has expanded a program called “UTSA Ready” from 11 to 22 high schools in the county.
Service- learning and volunteer programing at UTSA is continually being strengthened and improved with the input from the community and partners. The Service Learning Intercollegiate Collaborative (SLIC) is a coalition of college representatives in service- learning and volunteerism departments throughout the San Antonio region. SLIC is charged with providing community organizations and members of the public a chance to learn about service- learning, working with college students and faculty, project examples and potential funding sources. The bi- annual conference “College and
Community: Partners in Service,” opens up a dialogue among higher education institutions and their role with communities undergoing revitalization.
An exemplary departmental level community dialogue is the longstanding relationship that the College of Architecture’s Urban Planning Department has developed with the San Antonio Westside community. The Avenida Guadalupe project was born out of the collaboration of students, professors, and community members. Avenida Guadalupe includes the partnership in renovation of the historic Guadalupe Theatre as the anchor of a barrio revitalization area, which has been transformed with a beautiful community park where children can play and families and neighbors can gather. Future
improvements are outlined in the original master plan developed with the community and neighborhood association’s input.
Community engagement is included as a consideration in faculty recruitment among other pertinent criteria, and as appropriate to the discipline. UTSA has established the practice and a reputation as a university with faculty who are rich with research, teaching, and service experiences that collaborate with community stakeholders. UTSA has established a recruitment process that involves the department chairs with a faculty search committee made up of faculty in the discipline, affirmative action advocates and often community members in the respective fields. These policies are outlined in the university’s Handbook of Operating Procedures, Chapter 2 Faculty Recruitment.
A recruitment example which placed high priority on the engagement criteria was the hiring of the academic dean in the College of Public Policy, Rogelio Sáenz. He was a sociologist and demographer at Texas A&M University, where he had also served for eight years as head of the Department of Sociology. Sáenz stood out in the pool of applicants due to his deep commitment to community- engaged research and its influence on policy development. As dean of the college, he has established the Distinguished Lecture Series and restructured the Policy Studies Center to emphasize collaborations with a variety of community groups and nonprofit organizations. He has also written a series of op- ed pieces seeking to engage the public on key policy issues affecting people in San Antonio, the state, and nation. Dean Sáenz affirms that UTSA practice and reputation for engagement attracted him to the institution and made him the right fit for the position.
The engaged reputation of UTSA attracts a diverse pool of candidates who share this value. For example, the UTSA College of Education and Human Development recruited Dr. Laura Rendon, who was previously a professor and chair in the Department of Education Leadership and Policy Studies at Iowa State University, for her strong background in engaged reseach with low- income, first- generation students, parents and educators. Dr. Rendon has a national reputation for her "validation theory" which has an engagement foundation. She is one of the founders and former board chair of the National Council for Community and Education Partnerships in Washington, D.C.
UTSA has established institutional level categories of performance and criteria for promotion and tenure that reflect the values and commitment of The University including “community engagement and public service” (from the mission statement). These criteria are codified in the Handbook of Operating Procedures Chapter 2, Section 10. “In order to earn promotion and/or tenure, a faculty member must have a demonstrated record of consistent productivity in teaching effectiveness, the scholarship of discovery and service activities.”
Engaged scholarship is rewarded as teaching service- learning courses and is described elsewhere in this application. Engaged scholarship as research is described in a corollary document - - Guidance and Instructions for Researchers: “Community- based participatory research is a collaborative approach to research that equitably involves all partners in the research process and recognizes the unique strengths that each brings. Community- based participatory research begins with a research topic of importance to the community, has the aim of combining knowledge with action and achieving social change”.
Service is defined in the guidelines and criteria for promotion and tenure; that definition specifically includes “service to community, state, and nation including academic or professionally related public service.” Our practice at UTSA, with respect to engaged service, includes service “with mutuality of involvement with our community stakeholders”. The criteria
go on to say that “successful applicants for tenure and promotion to associate professors will have the following attributes: They will conduct their work so that it has impact that goes beyond the university community. This dissemination can be manifest in several ways, including publication, exhibition, review, performance, and presentation.”
Additionally, the Office of the Provost publishes criteria for promotion and tenure. Promotions to full professor criteria outline that candidates must demonstrate “they are committed citizens of the university and of their respective disciplines, and manifest this through significant service to the community,” recognized through “awards for community engaged service.”
It should be noted that UTSA executive leadership, together with our faculty senate, are completing the process of further strengthening our policies to provide clarification for recognizing community- engaged teaching, research and service in our Tenure and Promotion Guidelines. We have studied other similarly situated institutions for guidance in this regard.
Chapter 2 of the Handbook of Operating Procedures at the University outlines performance criteria for faculty promotion and tenure. In the section dealing with teaching, "service- learning courses" and similar instructional modalities are included as part of a faculty member's responsibilities which are evaluated as part of the tenure and promotion schema. UTSA recognizes faculty through awards for engaged teaching.
For example, the university recognizes faculty annually through the “Dr. Richard S. Howe Outstanding Service to Undergraduates Teaching Award.” The award recognizes tenured, tenure- track, and non- tenure track faculty with a
minimum of three years of teaching experience at UTSA for developing signature learning experiences for undergraduates outside the traditional classroom environment (service- learning). Last year, four recipients each received $2,000 from the Richard S. Howe Endowment. The fund honors former UTSA professor and mentor Richard "Dick" Howe, who was instrumental in establishing a strong foundation of engagement and service- learning in the College of Engineering.
Dr. Lucila Ek was awarded this honor for her unique approach to connecting her students with a vulnerable community through outreach. Dr. Ek is an associate professor in the Department of Bicultural- Bilingual Studies who joined UTSA faculty six years ago, and has assumed a critical leadership role in La Clase Magica program. The program supports bilingual Latina/Latino elementary school students from low- income families by pairing each student with a UTSA undergraduate bilingual teacher candidate who serves as a mentor. Using technology such as notebook computers and iPhones, La Clase Magica creatively supports cultural awareness and heritage language and literacy, while deepening and extending students' mathematics and scientific knowledge. The program also gives parents the opportunity to work with the technology that is familiar to their children.
The Faculty Handbook of Operating Procedures Chapter 2, addresses Research/Scholarship/Creative Activities which are characterized by the creation and dissemination of new knowledge or of other creative works and activities and are criteria for faculty promotion and tenure. Engaged scholarship is specifically mentioned and defined in a corollary document as "a collaborative approach to reasearch that equitably involves all partners in the research process and recognizes the unique strengths that each brings. Community- based participatory research begins with a research topic of importance to the community, has the aim of combining knowledge with action and achieving social change." UTSA rewards this type of research through its Distinguished Achievement Award For Research presented annually at the president's award convocation.
Associate Professor Jill Hernandez won President’s Distinguished Achievement Award for Research last year, for her engaged scholarly work giving voice to immigrant communities by researching the effects of immigration enforcement in the workplace, and the proposed border wall. Such scholarship has been influential toward advising public awareness and policy formation on the important topic of immigration reform.
Handbook of Operating Procedures Chapter 2 : “In order to earn promotion and/or tenure, a faculty member must have a demonstrated record of consistent productivity in teaching effectiveness, the scholarship of discovery and/or the scholarship of teaching, and service activities.” Service is defined in the guidelines and criteria for promotion and tenure as “service to community, state, and nation including academic or professionally related public service.” Our practice at UTSA is engaged service with mutuality of involvement with our community stakeholders.
UTSA’s Distinguished Achievement Award for Excellence in Community Engagement, presented at an annual convocation, is given to one faculty and staff member who displays exemplary community service providing leadership and making significant contributions in the community. The award recognizes the importance of sustained contributions to the community that create partnerships and collaboration with the university. Last year, the award went to Francine
Romero, associate professor of Public Administration in the College of Public Policy. Romero worked to make UTSA a lead partner in the San Antonio Mayor’s Vision SA2020. The partnership brought together 1,200 community members in a series of town hall collaborative sessions to offer opinions about the future of the city and include their voice in the year- long planning process. Romero became a lead in the process as well as in the implementation area of Civic Engagement and Government Accountability.
All the colleges and related departments at the university utilize the Handbook of Operating Procedures Chapter 2 “Faculty Reappointment, Promotion and Tenure" as a framework for their tenure and promotion decisions. This policy with its corollary documents, articulate that faculty are rewarded for scholarly work which uses community- engaged approaches and methods.
However, of the eight academic colleges at the university, three of the eight, or thirty eight percent specifically reinforce that faculty scholarly work that uses community engaged approaches and methods are recognized, acknowledge and rewarded. (College of Architecture, College of Liberal and Fine Arts and the College of Education and Human Development). This policy is articulated through their merit evaluation policies, faculty workload policies, websites or publications.
For continuous improvement, a current effort is under way to expand such practices across all colleges as appropriate. Under the leadership of Dean Rogelio Saenz, individual colleges will make explicit the implicit value placed on engaged scholarship. This will be accomplished through postings on websites, merit evaluation policies or other appropriate publications.
College of Architecture: “The College...has a strong history of outreach that includes community engagement” which…“is central to the overall (Community Engagement and Public Service) mission of UTSA” and is “considered in decisions with regard to faculty assessment, tenure, and promotion…”
College of Liberal and Fine Arts: “Professional and community service and scolarship is valued when relevant to the university’s mission” of “community engagement.” “Cooperative engagement” with the community is listed as a key criterion in a “merit evaluation” of a faculty member.
College of Education and Human Development: “Discipline related (and engaged) public service and extended education” are criteria for “faculty reappointment, tenure, and promotion.” “Community engagement includes initiatives that enrich education and encourage professionals and patrons for the future.” “Public service to the community, state and nation” are community engaged scholarship criteria “for annual faculty performance appraisal and for merit consideration and award.”
As indicated in #9 above, there are policies in place that reward community engagement.
The university recognizes the importance of empowering students with documentation of their community engagement activities and has therefore acted to begin offering co- curricular transcripts through the Office of Student Affairs.
Scheduled for implementation in the next academic year, the document will list and track students’ community engagement activities. Categories may include approved service- learning hours, civic engagement experiences, honors and awards, internship hours, registered student organization involvement, athletics and intramurals for example. The transcript will provide potential employers, current departments and/or graduate schools with information regarding the student’s involvement with co- curricular activities, community engagement and track service- learning opportunities. The transcript will be a student- initiated comprehensive record of their participation and achievements outside of the classroom while enrolled at UTSA. When coupled with the academic transcript, this offers a more holistic representation of the student’s total education experience, both inside and outside of the classroom.
The co- curricular transcript will be an official transcript that is offered as a supplement to the academic transcript. It will be of value to the student when applying to colleges, for scholarships or a professional position. The document will only be sent at the request of the student. The Office of Student Activities, through what’s known as RowdyLink, will validate all entries listed on the transcript.
UTSA is strongly committed to diversity and inclusion through a dedicated center staffed by professionals in the field of inclusion, diversity, and engagement to cater to the needs of university’s student, faculty, and staff community. The center is known as the Student Center for Community Engagement and Inclusion and is committed to fostering a campus culture that promotes active engagement through service and social justice. The center seeks to empower and develop all
members of the UTSA community to celebrate its diversity and enrich the community by providing varied educational opportunities and support services.
Inclusion at the center provides various opportunities to celebrate, explore, and learn about diverse cultures and peoples. Through experiential events, special events, trainings, presentations and workshops, students have opportunities to become competent interacting among a variety of cultural and identity groups, including their own. Any student or faculty on campus may request or attend classroom presentations, presentations for student organizations, trainings, and workshops. The center and staff also coordinate the Ally Program; a training program for faculty and staff to learn about and be effective advocates and supporters of GLBTQ students, faculty, and staff on campus.
UTSA believes that retaining its students requires comprehensive community engagement and outreach. Therefore, the university has taken proactive steps to work with incoming students in the local community to prepare them for the rigors of college and remediation courses available to them before their first day of classes. Three exemplary programs are known as UTSA Ready, Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR UP 2), and the Diplomás Project.
The GEAR UP 2 program is a collaborative partnership between UTSA and San Antonio Independent School District (SAISD) and is co- administered by the Office of P- 20 Initiatives. As the university partner, UTSA is responsible for creating a college- going culture in the community through a combination of innovative outreach activities and academic
programming. One initial mode of outreach was through the use of the Mobile Go Center, which functions as a college information and outreach customized trailer. The project team visits inter- city neighborhoods targeting economically disadvantaged students from SAISD. Taking college information to the neighborhood ensures that students and their parents are exposed to college and career readiness information in both English and Spanish.
UTSA Ready is an early assessment and academic preparation program that is conducted in collaboration with ten local school districts. The goal of this unprecedented partnership is to ensure that high school students have the communication and mathematics skills required for college success. The participating students receive a diagnostic assessment and are assigned an instructor who assists them with their individual learning paths and is responsible for identifying any additional needs. The students are able to participate in Saturday Academic Enrichment Seminars that are designed to improve their college readiness skills in either mathematics or English. Additionally, eligible students will be provided the option to earn credit by exam in college algebra. The goal of UTSA Ready is to have students prepared to enroll in credit- bearing courses and not have to spend time and funds on remedial work during the first year at the university.
The Diplomás Project, funded by a multi- year grant from the Lumina Foundation is the only collaborative network of its kind that connects services and resources for Latino students on their path to college completion in San Antonio. UTSA, along with community partners and local school districts, are partners in the project that will bring together 16 organizations throughout San Antonio to identify collective strategies to support Latino student attainment and prepare them for the workforce. Three main goals of the project include: strengthen a shared understanding of Latino student attainment; discuss issues and offer solutions across systems; and develop shared goals and strategies to create a coherent plan to increase Hispanic student success.
for identifying service learning courses:
UTSA defines service- learning as a teaching and learning strategy/pedagogy that integrates meaningful community service with instruction and reflection in an academic course to enrich the student learning experience, instill a sense of civic responsibility, and strengthen communities.
UTSA is committed to the core components of service- learning: enhanced learning outcomes for our students, reciprocity in community partnerships that responds to real needs, developing a sense of social responsibility, and ensuring structured reflection.
The Student Center for Community Engagement and Inclusion supports our academic service learning program. An associate director for service- learning within the center has the primary responsibility to support service- learning activities within the university to include the following:
Professional development workshops and seminars on service- learning pedagogy that illuminate evidence- based practice in the field.
Service- learning library for faculty and community partners.
Assistance in developing relationships of reciprocity with community non- profits, public sector agencies, and for- profit entities that work to promote the common good for service- learning opportunities.
A service- learning handbook and newsletter for faculty and community partners.
A service- learning website providing additional resources to faculty and community partners.
Seeking and administering contributions and grants in support of service- learning and the “Community Leadership Awards”.
Tracking and qualifying service- learning courses.
Developing instruments to measure collective impact.
A service- learning advisory council consisting of faculty, staff, students, and community partners provide guidance to the associate director for service- learning in championing civic engagement, professional development, and providing programmatic input and feedback for service- learning partnerships.
In terms of identifying service- learning courses, the Office of the Provost, in conjunction with the Student Center for Community Engagement and Inclusion, conducts a survey asking each dean to identify service- learning courses in their college utilizing the UTSA definition and core components. The university has a “course attribute” - - service- learning designation - - available through the Registrar’s Office that will be implemented in the coming year.
If you have a process for designating service learning courses, how many designated, for-credit service learning courses were offered in the most recent academic year?
What percentage of total courses offered at the institution?:
How many departments are represented by those courses?
What percentage of total departments at the institution?
How many faculty taught service learning courses in the most recent academic year?
What percentage of faculty at the institution?
How many students participated in service learning courses in the most recent academic year?
What percentage of students at the institution?
Describe how data provided in 1. b-e above are gathered, by whom, with what frequency, and to what end:
The data provided in 1. b- e above are gathered annually by the Office of the Provost, in conjunction with the Student Center for Community Engagement and Inclusion. Accordingly, each of the eight college deans is asked to identify service- learning courses in their respective college utilizing the UTSA definition and core components. Service- learning courses are identified by course number, course title, the instructor, and enrollment. Students in service- learning courses participate in the UTSA course evaluation survey at the end of each semester. Additionally, we will pilot a student impact survey with a number of identified courses across the colleges in spring 2015 with aspirations of a fuller phase of implementation. Data from these surveys are used by department chairs and available to the Student Center for Community Engagement and Inclusion to assess impact and determine a professional development agenda for faculty. Further evaluative tools and focus groups will be designed for use in forthcoming semesters to assess faculty and institutional impact - the gathering of the above data will assist us in those impact measures. Most importantly, this data helps the university examine collective
impact on the community and is reported back to the university and broader San Antonio community through various university and community publications. Using the technology of GIS in the coming year, we hope to map our collective impact/engagement to ensure we are aligning our efforts with city and county strategies, such as with the SA2020 (described earlier in this application). This will also allow us to geographically review our commitment to community and identify gaps in our engagement initiatives.
Are there institutional (campus-wide) learning outcomes for students' curricular engagement with community?
Please provide specific examples of institutional ( campus-wide) learning outcomes for students’ curricular engagement with community:
Learning outcomes at UTSA, as outlined in the undergraduate course catalog includes growth through a journey that transforms students through academics and their relationship with fellow students, their community, and a multicultural world. The university believes graduates should attain a level of competency through six core curriculum requirements. Included in these curricular engagement learning outcomes is social responsibility. Social responsibility includes established “intercultural competence, knowledge of civic responsibility, and the ability to engage effectively in regional, national, and global community issues.” Individual course syllabi that are part of the “core curriculum” must reflect and state the particular “social responsibility” learning objectives.
In line with this commitment to curricular engagement, all UTSA students (campus- wide) are required to take a course, a significant component of the core curriculum, that challenges them to think about their role in producing and sharing knowledge for the benefit of the local, regional, and global community. The course is titled Academic Inquiry and Scholarship (AIS 1203), and its curriculum is a cross- discipline framework focusing on exploring the academic culture of values, ideas, and beliefs inherent in understanding the engagement between research and academic work that is important in the context of the community. This “signature- learning” project entails an engagement with the community as integral to the course. The course is intended to ensure that all students experience a breadth of curriculum outside of their specific area of focus with a community engagement theme. UTSA believes that all students should learn and understand how their academic experience is important in the context of human and community impact.
Are institutional ( campus-wide) learning outcomes for students’ curricular engagement with community systematically assessed?
Describe the strategy and mechanism assuring systematic assessment of institutional ( campus-wide) learning outcomes for students’ curricular engagement with community:
The transformation of UTSA students through the six core curriculum requirements is assessed in a variety of direct and indirect ways to ensure learning. In the Academic Inquiry and Scholarship course (AS1203) students are assessed on nine learning outcomes outlined in the syllabus, two of which are: 1) “the ability to describe the ways in which the knowledge generated by academic inquiry may impact the community or social groups, particularly the marginalized and disadvantaged” and 2) “the ability to utilize the knowledge, experience, and values of communities and social groups in collaboration to bring about change.” The main assessment tool for the course includes a group inquiry project that makes up 50 percent of the students’ course evaluation grade. In this project, students are asked to conduct community- based projects that include analysis of “the merits, credibility, usefulness, and significance of collaborative inquiry, particularly in regard to the community at large and specific social groups.” This required course aims to develop students who are
committed to connecting their academic work with community needs and impact.
Additionally, institutional campus- wide learning outcomes are assessed in various ways across disciplines to include discussions, course surveys, capstones, community partner evaluations, or project reports and presentations. In courses that include engaged learning and research, course reviews are taken by students and community partners using formal interviews and surveys to evaluate student learning and partner impact. An example of this form of assessment in the Department of Criminal Justice of the College of Public Policy occurred last semester in a criminal justice policy course. Criminal Justice major Rachel Hansberger and three other students worked with the Bexar County Pretrial Services and participated in the risk assessment of offenders and interdepartmental correctional services operations. This course ended with a survey and report completed by Ms. Hansberger and her team to assess learning outcomes, as well as a workplace review completed by the department supervisor, and interviews with employees of the Bexar County Pretrial Services by the professor.
If yes, describe how the assessment data related to institutional ( campus-wide) learning outcomes for students’ curricular engagement with community are used?
Learning outcomes for students in courses with a community engagement “theme” are assessed for a number of purposes. Most importantly, the assessment of outcomes guides faculty in measuring their impact in creating a transformative academic experience. The data extracted from end- of- course surveys and final projects help faculty across
disciplines measure the impact towards campus- wide core curriculum learning outcome of “Social Responsibility” and its key components. The assessment of community engagement in AS1230 and the “signature experience” that is integral to the course is used to improve students’ learning and to guide changes and revisions in curriculum and pedagogy.
Additionally, UTSA uses student evaluations and a rigorous peer review process of community- based projects, capstones, internships, and service learning to assess impact, curriculum and teaching; and to promote stronger partnerships between the community and the university. Many examples of this exist in the College of Business (partnerships will small business organizations and nonprofits), College of Architecture (partnerships with local construction firms, historic preservation programs, and architects) and the College of Public Policy (partnerships with local city, county, and state governments).
Finally, data related to learning outcomes of curricular engagement is used in assessing progress toward our strategic plan’s goal of “Serving Society through Community Engagement.” By creating opportunities of curricular engagement embedded in our core programming, UTSA strongly affirms that it is an institution involved collaboratively with its community.
Are there departmental or disciplinary learning outcomes for students' curricular engagement with community?
As appropriate, each college or department has distinct curricular engagement learning outcomes based on their academic focus. Among the colleges having a distinct “curricular engagement with the community” theme, one college is used as an example.
The College of Architecture (COA) portfolio of course offerings showcases its community engaged curriculum focus. A sampling of these courses includes:
Design as Community Engagement and Connection to Place/Region
Design informed by Cultural and Environmental Sustainability
Community Engaged Historic Preservation
Revitalization With the Community
Learning outcomes in the college reflect “a commitment to partnering with the community on projects that facilitate mutual learning and provide benefits for students and the community.” Learning outcomes for design principles courses in particular are achieved through community- driven work. Community engagement and service- learning projects are a critical component of the college’s curriculum. Student teams in one studio course, for example, partner with the City of San Antonio’s Office of Historic Preservation in a program known as STAR (Students Together Achieving Revitalization) whereby students working with city staff and a particular neighborhood explore ways to revitalize the neighborhood and prevent further deterioration of low- income districts. Different neighborhoods are addressed with each successive course. In another community- driven class project, students work with community groups and city partners in a project known as “Mission Verde” in visioning and planning to make San Antonio a leading city in green technology, sustainability, and energy conservation.
Colleges and departments approach assessment of their engaged- learning outcomes in a number of ways. However, the uniform approach to assessment of community- engaged or community- based projects includes formal feedback and evaluation by the client/partner. For example, the College of Architecture and College of Public Policy have a continuous feedback loop throughout a project with the community partner that concludes with a formal review and evaluation meeting and/or written assessment. Student course surveys customized for particular learning outcomes are completed by each student. The course instructor, of course, will evaluate each student’s performance against the learning objectives and the level and quality of the engagement. Whenever possible, students are tracked after course completion to ascertain impact of engagement on their academic program and careers. Many of our students find empowering networks and relationships in their community work and return to work as team leaders or volunteers in other community based projects. Others are
employed by our partners who have formed relationships with the institution and the Student Center for Community Engagement and Inclusion. Graduates become engaged citizens in their work and community, and attribute their community engagement commitment to the experience at the University.
Within departments, the assessment data of community- based and service- learning projects and courses are gathered for the purpose of measuring learning goals and outcomes; however, they are also used in reporting and formative
assessment. For example, the Student Center for Community Engagement and Inclusion collects the feedback from
community partners in order to assess the impact of the projects and measure ways to improve UTSA’s relationship with those agencies. This data is important as it ensures that the center responds to any problems with our partners, and
maintains ongoing communication for future projects.
Additionally, the data is used to report within the department for internal assessment. For example, the College of Architecture uses evaluation reports from community agencies and reports it back to the Architecture Advisory Council, which is comprised of faculty and community participants, in order to measure how well we are preparing our students to work within the industry after graduation.
Student Research Student Leadership Internships/Co- ops Study Abroad
Student Research: A collaboration between the College of Education and Human Development and College of Sciences, the GE²MS Teaching Program was created as a unique cohort which prepares students to become highly qualified math and science teachers in our community. The students work on research with local school districts on crafting an enriched instructional curriculum. A required part of each course includes fieldwork in a public school with firsthand experience in a classroom setting.
Student Leadership: UTSA’s Top Scholars is a premier four- year program that offers a merit- based scholarship combined with personalized experiences in academics, leadership, and community engagement. Top Scholar students must
maintain a 3.25 GPA, live on campus the first two years, complete 30 hours each academic year, and complete at least one community engagement and leadership development project each year. Kristi Meyer, director of Top Scholars said, “At UTSA, we are building a community of highly talented students who are eager to pursue knowledge and achievement."
Internship: UTSA has a comprehensive menu of opportunities for students to engage with the community through internships, available centrally through UTSA’s University Career Center. Colleges and departments leverage this resource through the help of internship coordinators, and faculty also use their professional connections with community partners to connect students to well- known organizations to complete for- credit required signature experiences. For example, the College of Public Policy places students in offices of local government leaders to seek out better ways to engage the public with their elected officials and community resources. H. Drew Galloway is such a student who completed a nine- month public policy internship with Bexar County Commissioner Tommy Adkisson, crafting county policy as a civic engagement advocate. Galloway had this to say of his experience, “The students and faculty here are really engaged, and there is such a sense of community, culture and interaction with citizens.” He recently was awarded the J. Rolando Bono Scholarship by the Urban Management Association of South Texas (UMAST).
Study Abroad: Steven Byers, a civil engineering major and member of Engineers Without Borders, along with three other UTSA students traveled with John Joseph, a professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, to a small village in Vina Vieja, Peru. In Vina Vieja, the students were challenged to build a water system that, once complete, could sustain the entire village with clean, naturally supplied water. Getting water is not difficult for many Peruvian
agriculture producers, the students noted, but the village just feet away from rich agriculture water sources has no municipal water and relies on a man- made canal system that is susceptible to contaminates from livestock and fertilizers that have led to illnesses. “This is something we’re doing in school that we actually care about,” one student said. “Assignments get graded and that’s it. But this wasn’t just an assignment . . . [These] memories will last our whole lives.”
Has community engagement been integrated with curriculum on an institution-wide level in any of the following structures? Please select all that apply:
Graduate Studies Core Courses
Capstone (Senior level project) First Year Sequence
General Education In the Majors
Graduate Studies: Many master’s and doctoral degrees require some form of community- engaged research or service. For example, the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies prepares educators to become transformational leaders who can work effectively in diverse, ambiguous, and challenging contexts responsive to community needs. Faculty in the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies are strongly committed to developing collaborative and responsive relationships with area schools and communities. A similar example in the College of Architecture integrates Community Planning and Design (URP 5223), as well as Community Development (URP 5433) into the core curriculum.
Core Courses: The UTSA undergraduate course catalog includes core courses that require community engagement for completion. Some examples are Academic Inquiry and Scholarship (AIS 1203), Freshman Seminar (COR 1203) and Society and Social Issues (IDS 2113) which include civic engagement components.
Capstones: UTSA has expanded capstone offerings denominated as “Signature Learning Experiences.” When students can apply their theoretical knowledge to real- world issues, the experiences deepen their understanding of theory and practical uses. In the College of Liberal and Fine Arts, Joanne Ford- Robertson, a professor and internship coordinator in the Department of Sociology states that students must complete 150- 300 hour internships with organizations like United Way or the local Bexar County Juvenile Justice Center. "A lot of our students haven't ever been in the working world," she said. “The capstone and activism courses open their eyes to possibilities. The engagement opportunities not only imbed our students with the community, but their academic work helps to enhance the work of our partners.”
First- Year Sequences: UTSA students (campus- wide) are required to take a course that challenges thinking about their role in producing and sharing knowledge for the benefit of the community. Academic Inquiry and Scholarship (AIS 1203) is a cross- discipline framework focusing on exploring the academic culture of values, civic engagement, ideas, and beliefs inherent in understanding the relationship between scholarship and its applicability to community issues and context.
General Education: The UTSA general education curriculum provides a foundational education for all disciplines including civic participation through a series of thematic components: social and behavioral sciences, humanities and the arts,
communications, mathematics, natural sciences, society and issues. For example, Freshman Seminar (COR 1203) and Society and Social Issues (IDS 2113) include a civic engagement component.
In Majors: Major programs require students to gain insights through service- learning and community- based projects
imbedded in curricular frameworks across departments. For example, the College of Public Policy offers a major in social work with coursework focused around internships that are engaged with community agencies making a direct impact.
Social Work 5113: Generalist Social Work Practice and Social Work 5493: Advanced Social Work Methods: Community Practice are examples.
In Minors: As an example in the minors, the College of Education and Human Development offers a minor in health with required courses in community health programming that develops a student’s ability to work in local community health and neighborhood contexts.
Zenon Yin, Health and Kinesiology, integrates research with outreach to communities and schools all over the country in the area of lifestyle intervention for the prevention and management of obesity and diabetes in children and adults. His current focus is on the feasibility and effectiveness of culturally tailored programs to address obesity and diabetes in pre- school and school- age children and the translation of the Diabetes Prevention Program into community- based lifestyle intervention to prevent diabetes in low- income, underserved Mexican- American women. He has been intimately involved with a San Antonio community that has struggled with obesity among low income minorities, through presentations and research at local school districts, and articles and publications including “Fatness, fitness, and cardio metabolic risk factors among sixth- grade youth” and “A school- based intervention for diabetes risk reduction” for the HEALTHY study group.
Roxanne Henkin, “Service- Learning: The Intersection of Civic and Academic Engagement.” Professor Henkin introduces the topic of service- learning as it applies to language arts classrooms, allowing young adolescents to use their knowledge in meaningful, real- world contexts. As a community- based approach to literacy, service- learning involves the application of academic skills to address or solve issues and problems in the world.
Castro- Villarreal, F. & Guerra, N.S. . “Pre- service Teachers: Problem Solving: A Study of Problem Identification and Engagement Styles Using the LIBRE Model. Teacher Education & Practice. ” Identifying the psychological needs of students and subsequently addressing those needs through evidence- based intervention/prevention programs. The research studies broad based and universal mental health programming, with a focus on preventing school dropout, reducing emotional distress, improving academic achievement, and improving the psychological well- being of all students.
Nuñez, Anne- Marie. “Creating pathways to college for migrant students: Assessing a migrant outreach program.” Journal of Education for Students Placed at Risk (JESPAR), 14(3). Her research focuses on Latino, first- generation, and migrant students’ experiences and outreach strategies in their transitions to different types of higher education institutions, including Hispanic- Serving Institutions (HSIs).
Montoya, Lisa. “The Relations Between Hispanic Business Owners’ Beliefs, Knowledge, Use of Financial Planning, and Business Success,” with D. Stone, T. Svacina, J. Row and J. Canedo- Soto, Business Journal of Hispanic Research.
Montoya’s research has been distributed through publications, workshops, and conferences to meet needs for financial literacy and education in the Latino community. The Latino Financial Issues program in the College of Business serves the San Antonio community by offering programs and workshops in financial literacy and education.
learning centers tutoring
extension programs non- credit courses evaluation support training programs
professional development centers
The UTSA Nonprofit Leadership Alliance is learning center that was created to educate, prepare and certify community members and partners to lead nonprofit organizations. Community partners and agencies work together with faculty to implement a comprehensive academic and experiential program that prepares students for nonprofit sector careers, and receive the professional designation, Certified Nonprofit Professional, upon completion of the program that prepares
community partners for nonprofit sector careers, and receive the professional designation, Certified Nonprofit Professional, upon completion of the program.
The America Reads/ America Counts Tutoring Program is designed to engage college work- study students as tutors to help participating inner- city elementary school students improve their reading and math skills. America Reads/America Counts is a collaborative effort between the San Antonio Independent School District, the UTSA Office of P- 20 Initiatives and the Office of Student Financial Aid.
The UTSA Institute for Economic Development (IED) ranks among the nation’s top- performing, university- based economic development extension organizations. A cohort of 11 programs serves 36,000 small business and community development clients annually, with extended education, business consulting, applied economics research, planning and policy advocacy. Impact last year included over 4,000 jobs created, 500 business starts and 500 expansions, $350 million capital access, and $1.2 billion in increased revenues for the businesses. The UTSA IED has also been designated lead technical consultant by the U.S. Department of State to assist 15 countries repicate the Small Business Development Center model in fulfillment of President Obama’s initiative creating the “Small Business Network of the Americas” as a development and trade bridge to Latin America.
Non- Credit Courses:
UTSA’s Office of Extended Education offers non- credit courses to the professional and business community in a wide variety of continuing education programs. The Office of Extended Education works collaboratively with academic and non- academic units of the university to develop and present seminars, online courses, conferences and programs for the general public, professional organizations and governmental agencies. One of the largest Advanced Placement teacher training programs in the state is conducted at the University every summer.
UTSA’s Center for Community and Business Research conducts applied economic development research for the South Texas region to aid in community and business planning. The Center is a leader in reporting on developments and impact of the booming Eagle Ford Shale area in the region.
Professional Development Centers:
Housed within the College of Education and Human Development, the Academy for Teacher Excellence (ATE) was created to leverage resources within the university to provide professional development for teachers working with diverse student populations -- particularly Latinos. ATE guides, prepares, and works on retention strategies for local and regional
community teachers who demonstrate the attitudes, knowledge and skills of a culturally efficacious teacher. Over 60% of K- 12 students in the San Antonio region are Hispanic.
co- curricular student service work/study student placements cultural offerings
athletic offerings library services technology
Co- curricular Student Service: Coordinated through UTSA’s Student Center for Community Engagement and Inclusion, the student organization VOICES (Volunteer Organization Involving Community Education and Service) hosted Alternative Spring Break in three different communities in the region. The three community service projects last year included Habitat for Humanity Amarillo, Hands on New Orleans, and Project San Antonio. The projects in San Antonio and New Orleans included various improvement projects driven by the needs of the community.
Work/Study student placement: The College for All Texans Initiative is a collaborative between the UTSA Office of P- 20 Initiatives and funding from the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board for Collegiate G- Force work- study students.
The G- Force is a group of highly motivated college students who help area high school students through tutoring and mentoring, and concentrate on students’ access to college.
Cultural Offerings: The Texas Folklife Festival is the biggest cultural celebration in Texas. More than 40 cultural groups in Texas are represented at the festival, and each year, more than 250 festival exhibitors come together at the university’s
museum, the Institute of Texan Cultures, to celebrate their culture and heritage, which draws over 60,000 attendees from the region.
Athletics Offerings: UTSA is proud of its growing athletic program which as of two years ago includes football. There has been a long established relationship between the athletics program and the San Antonio area community. UTSA’s athletic program offers summer camps in baseball, football, basketball, soccer, tennis, and swimming to school age boys and girls. The outreach program extends into the school year where UTSA athletes participate in school visits to support development of character traits such as dedication, honesty, fairness as well as to promote education.
Library Services: The UTSA Libraries preserve the legacies of San Antonio and South Texas through its Special Collections, which are open to public and academic researcher alike. Many of the university’s most popular photo collections have been digitized and are fully accessible to the public through UTSA’s Digital Collections website. In addition, community members are always welcome to visit the university’s libraries in- person. For a nominal annual fee, visitors may join the Community Borrowing Program, allowing them to check out books and multimedia items.
Technology: In an effort to increase the number of underserved/underrepresented students attending public institutions of higher education in the state of Texas, the Office of P- 20 Initiatives operates the Mobile GO Center, which serves as a center of higher education information for students, parents, and counselors. The ’42 foot customized trailer equipped with internet connectivity provides access to important resources in college preparation and the admissions process. The Mobile Go Center travels to schools, churches and community events, such as festivals to take the “go to college“ message to the community.
Faculty Consultation: The College of Architecture faculty regularly provides advice and consultation on historic preservation and neighborhood revitalization to regional municipalities through two programs. S.T.A.R. (Students and Faculty Together Achieving Revitalization) and Revising Historic Galveston are faculty led consulting programs with students as observers and interns..
Download the Partnership Grid template ( Excel file) and save it to your computer; Provide descriptions of each partnership in the template; and then,
FINAL_CE 2015_Partnership_Grid 041414.xls
The "slogan" of UTSA, common in our communications set is “UTSA: a Tier One university for a Tier One San Antonio.” This statement characterizes the sense of shared destiny and co- dependency which underscores the norm of mutuality and reciprocity in our relationships with community stakeholders.
Community relationships are purposefully cultivated, both at the institutional level and at college, departmental and programmatic levels. This is carried out through inclusion of community representatives in formal advisory groups, through public forums and task forces, and communicated widely in UTSA publications, social media, the Community Connect magazine Community Connection website, as well public relations messaging.
The Office of Vice President for Community Services facilitates this inclusive and reciprocal relationship development and maintenance. Attention is closely given to emerging community issues and actors, requiring engagement of UTSA as a partner where collaborations can meet mutual goals.
UTSA 2016: A Shared Vision, the university’s 2007 strategic plan, was established as a planning process specifically designed to promote and monitor actionable strategies for university growth in myriad areas. The 18- month process involved faculty, students, staff, alumni, community members and leaders, and others committed to helping UTSA become a premier public institution through a mutual vision. Development of principles that inform the creation and
implementation of partnerships were outlined in five strategic initiatives: I) Enriching Educational Experiences to Enable Student Success, II) Serving Society through Creativity, Expanded Research, and Innovations, III) Promoting Access and Affordability, IV) Serving the Public through Community Engagement, V) Expanding Resources and Infrastructure.
Partnerships through engagement occur throughout all the five strategic initiatives
Formal implementation plans include metrics for each component and a reporting mechanism called Trac- Dat. Progress reporting and monitoring on the overall plan is collected by the Office of Institutional Effectiveness, including the
community engagement activities. These reports are shared for accountability and evaluated among strategy lead units and stakeholders, both internal and external community representatives. The President’s cabinet is the ultimate check point to validate strategic directions among stakeholders, and make any adjustments in response to shifting UTSA and community conditions or priorities.
Another mechanism for assuring mutuality and reciprocity with partners is the Outreach Council, which includes community representation. This Council seeks and responds to feedback, conducts dialogue and then makes
recommendations to the various strategic component leads for community development and university engagement priorities. For example, the council provided and received feedback on San Antonio 2020 (SA2020) in 2012, the mayor’s visioning process for collaborating on issues dealing with transportation, civic engagement, education, health, and economic development indicators. These conversations typically lead to synergies between the university, city, and social services that can leverage one another strengths and resources in each of the problem areas outlined in SA2020.
Choi, J. J., Bazemore, G. & Gilbert, M. J. “Review of Research on Victims' Experiences in Restorative Justice: Implications for Youth Justice.” Child and Youth Services Review, 34(1), 35- 42. Partners include the Texas Juvenile Justice Department and the Bexar County Juvenile Probation Department with the College of Public Policy. Engaged research to explore alternate court and sentencing systems for juvenile offenders in Bexar County.
Azza Kamal and Richard Tangum. Partners include College of Architecture, Center for Urban and Regional Planning and six county members of the Council of Governments. “Strategic Housing Analysis for the Eagle Ford Shale Region”. The collaborative study resulted in addressing a housing shortage with related issues and offering recommendations for an area in South Texas with one of the most significant oil and gas finds in Texas history. The area includes some of the poorest counties in the U.S. The region was studied with regard to housing stock, public services, infrastructure and public utilities that will need to be improve and expand to accommodate the influx of new residents.
Lloyd Potter, Alfredo Zavla- Van Petten, Carlos Valenzuela, Sara Robinson. Partners include the Institute for Demographic and Socioeconomic Research, City of San Antonio, and AVANCE. “Wintergarden Head Start Community Assessment Project” . This survey framework reviews and documents the unmet need of early childhood services in the San Antonio community. The survey has impacted policy of the city with respect to the Head Start program and with regard to unmet child development needs in low income areas of San Antonio. The study also infomed the city Pre- K 4 San Antonio program to establish a city funded early child development program for all of San Antonio.
Zenong Yin and Meizi He. Partners include the Department of Health and Kinesiology, city of Shanxi China, and the International Diabetes Federation. “Pathway to Health: A Lifestyle Intervention to Prevent Diabetes for Shanxi Evergreen Service.” . This engaged scholarship was focused on community- based interventions to prevent diabetes and to apply community educational health outreach strategies in Shanxi, China.
Francine Romero and Rosamaria Murillo. Partners included the College of Public Policy, the City of San Antonio’s Animal Care Services and a neighborhood association. A project to study and prepare recommendations to address the incidence of stray animals in certain San Antonio poor neighborhoods. The aim was to connect with residents and educate them about low cost services to solve the homeless pet population. The city has since made drastic strides in reducing its severe stray animal population in these neighborhoods.
Part B Question 7 (Community Voice): In the previous year, the San Antonio community has been posed with serious growth challenges in the surrounding counties of South Texas due to the energy exploration in the Eagle Ford Shale region. This has led to much community discussion about not only keeping pace with infrastructure growth and
investment, but also the risks of horizontal drilling and fracturing industry practices on the environment. UTSA has stepped in as the lead authority in scientific, academic, and policy research being undertaken on this very pressing topic.
Community meetings are being led by the Institute for Economic Development (IED) and the Department of Urban and Regional Planning.
The IED, led by Robert McKinley, publishes annual economic impact studies documenting the growth and impacts of shale development. Related topics include labor market assessments sought by public and higher education partners to respond to workforce needs, also transportation assessment sought by the affected counties and state agencies to respond to infrastructure needs, and a health care study sought by area hospitals to respond to needs from the population growth. All these studies impacted public policies and planning by partners and stakeholders in the Eagle Ford region.
Likewise, the Urban and Regional Planning Department, led by Dr. Richard Tangum, has been working with municipalities and communities affected by their proximity to the oil exploration. As boom- towns, they mostly lack planning and governing skills to manage growth and the many public infrastructure demands. Dr. Tangum has engaged community leaders along with his architecture capstone students to devise community vision plans, land- use plans and infrastructure project technical assistance.
The transformative impact of Eagle Ford development to- date exceeds 116,000 new jobs and $61 billion of new economic output, and UTSA has been called upon as a trusted partner and provider of research, policy advisement, technical assistance, and convener of community stakeholders to address many prescient issues affecting the lives and futures in this region.
One of the cornerstones of UTSA’s history has been its continuous mission to provide local access to superior education. The university and leadership have continually pushed to make the public university a centerpiece of the community that is highly accessible to the members of entire community.
“As a comprehensive metropolitan university, UTSA’s future depends on a reciprocal partnership with the community,” our former President said in a news conference in 1991 at the Institute of Texan Cultures (UTSA’s downtown public
museum). “UTSA wants to reach out the community with more programs and services,” he said. “The campus at Interstate 10 and Loop 1604 West is nearly 20 miles from downtown, a situation that has been a barrier to some people who would like to interact with the city’s only public four- year university.” The early work and bold statements by our leadership established a foundation of community engagement and reciprocity that continues in today’s environment.
The commitment to engagement and reciprocity was manifested in establishment of the UTSA Downtown Campus in 1997, which since has grown to serve over 6,000 students in the urban core. The Downtown Campus is a major testament to the institutional commitment made in partnership and major co- investment with many institutional and private resource partners advocating for the benefit of the San Antonio community.
The diverse demographics of San Antonio today reflect the makeup of the U.S. forecast for 2040, which presents a living laboratory for Hispanic higher education attainment, and full inclusion in the new economy and leadership. UTSA is on the cusp of graduating our 100,000th student as a young institution, the primary source of an educated workforce and
community engaged leaders. Through our community engagement, UTSA will continue as a leading transformative partner to fulfill the aspirations we share with our community. Our new quest is to achieve Tier One status as a research intensive, community engaged, Hispanic Serving Institution.
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