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Faculty Seed Grants

The UTSA Westside Community Partnerships (WCP) is a presidential, placed-based initiative, which aims to address the most tenacious challenges to the heart of San Antonio’s Mexican American working-class community. Despite suffering from pervasive patterns of structural violence, including racial segregation, educational neglect and political disenfranchisement, the Westside continues to be a source of pride for the community, producing leaders, artists, visionaries and professionals. The WCP Presidential Initiative aligns closely to two UTSA destinations: 1) to be a model Hispanic-thriving institution; and 2) to become a premiere urban-serving institution of the future.


Rationale

UTSA’s mission statement reflects not only its mission to education and research, but also to community engagement and service. As a university started by legislators to serve the needs of San Antonio community, the largest city without a public university at the time (1969), UTSA has strived to collaborate with community stakeholders with a sense of shared destiny and commitment to improve our region. UTSA’s commitment to becoming a model Hispanic-thriving university where our Hispanic students can excel and lead is fundamental to UTSA’s strategic vision. (UTSA, 2020) To fulfill the role, we should aspire to accomplish the following: 

  • Support the cultivation of Latino thought leaders who can propel San Antonio’s 21st-century economy forward. 
  • Authenticate UTSA’s mission to reflect, serve and collaborate with San Antonio, a growing city that reflects the demographic future of the United States. 
  • Enhance UTSA’s goal to be a model for student success, supporting efforts to recruit, retain and graduate all students. 
  • Expand partnerships and collaborations with the local business community—particularly minority-owned businesses—further integrating UTSA into the cultural fabric of San Antonio. 
  • Engage a deliberate dialogue with community members to maintain strong relationships that allow for an open exchange of input and ideas about the university’s involvement. 
  • Raise institutional profile for scholarship contributions to support Hispanic students from entry to graduation. 

An urban-serving university is more than just a university located in an urban area. According to the Coalition of Urban Serving Universities, of which UTSA is a member, to be urban- serving means to be seen as, an institution “whose physical presence is integral to the social, cultural, and economic wellbeing of the community” in which the university is located. (Friedman, et al 2014) Four elements inform the work of an urban-serving university: 

  • Student access and success: A focus on expanding access to higher education within the community, and support programs that maximize student success; 
  • Use-inspired research: Scholarship that is guided by the potential use of its results, and strives to respond to problems or needs of the community; 
  • Meaningful community partnerships: Connecting community organizations and businesses to the wealth of the university’s human, intellectual, technological and economic resources; 
  • Economic development: Leveraging the university’s assets as a catalyst for growth in the community. 

In an effort to reach both these destinations, the WCP is accepting proposals from non-tenured, tenured or tenure-track faculty members for the following initiatives: 1) a seed grant program to incentivize community-engaged research and partnerships in the WCP footprint; or 2) the creation of a scholar-in-residence (SIR) program whereby a UTSA faculty member shall be appointed as (SIR) to publish and give lectures to the community on matters of interest to the Westside.


Seed Grants

A faculty member(s) can apply for one of five $5,000 grants for research projects in their respective field as long as the investigator(s) can demonstrate that the project is likely to catalyze and support meaningful community and academic engagement across research spectrum to improve bienestar of WCP residents. (Bienestar, means community wellbeing and encompasses health, education, neighborhood environment and economic security.) 

The objectives for the seed grant program are 1) to build both community and academic capacity for engaged research; 2) to foster preliminary work that leads to larger research projects that improve WCP bienestar; and 3) to enhance networks and infrastructure for engaged research. 

The success of seed grants is measured quantitatively as follows: 1) subsequent external funding applications made and/or awarded; and 2) number of peer-reviewed articles published. The qualitative outcome measures are: 1) development of critical data for policy advocacy; 2) building community interest in and capacity for research; 3) improving reputation and brand of UTSA; 4) developing new research directions for faculty; and 5) develop student research and educational opportunities. 

The criteria for applying are as follows: 

  1. Applicant(s) must be a member of the faculty (NTT, TT or T) at UTSA; and 
  2. Must partner with a Westside non-profit, school, or small business. 
  3. Preference will be given to partnerships that exhibit clear potential for external funding. 

Scholar in Residence (SIR)

A tenured faculty member can apply for a $10,000 grant to become a Westside SIR in their respective field as long as the investigator can demonstrate that the project is likely to catalyze and support meaningful community and academic engagement across research spectrum to improve bienestar of WCP residents. (Bienestar, means community wellbeing and encompasses health, education, neighborhood environment and economic security.) 

The objectives are to: 1) foster a vibrant intellectual community of scholarship for the benefit of UTSA and residents of WCP; and 2) enhance community networks for engaged research. 

The success of (SIR) program is measured quantitatively as follows: 1) number of lectures or performances given to WCP constituencies; 2) number of peer-reviewed articles authored or grants submitted related to residency; 3) amount of media coverage during residency. The qualitative outcome measures are: 1) creation and/or dissemination of new knowledge that affects WCP; 2) building community interest in and capacity to address SIR topics; 3) improving reputation and brand of UTSA; 4) developing new research directions for SIR faculty; and 5) develop student research and educational opportunities. 

The criteria of a research proposal are as follows: 

  1. Must be a tenured member of the faculty at UTSA; and 
  2. Respective field must be oriented toward the enhancement of the quality of life of WCP residents. 
  3. Preference will be given to SIR that exhibits clear potential for external funding 

Submission Process

For immediate consideration, please submit your application electronically using the link below. Review of applications will begin on November 5, 2021 and continue until funds ae exhausted. The proposals will be reviewed by the WCP Advisory Committee starting on November 8, 2021 with awards being announced shortly thereafter. Funds shall be disbursed in accordance with university policies on compensation. Funding may be used for summer support. Further terms and conditions apply and can be found in the Notice of Award (NOA). 

Each research proposal should include the following: 

  1. A description of the research project/importance of topic. 
  2. A rationale for the project as related to the enhancement of Westside community. 
  3. A narrative of the research methodology/data gathering procedures. 
  4. A brief outline of faculty expertise/capability to complete the project within the timeframe as well as the benefit of the project to the researcher and UTSA. 
  5. A detailed budget stating exactly how the grant is to be expended (faculty salary support may be budgeted). 
  6. A rationale for the budget. 

Interested faculty can apply here.


Important Notes

Due to limited funds, faculty can be awarded a seed grant or scholar in residence but not both.