UTSA Office of Information Technology Awards Nearly $150K in Grants to Seven UTSA Colleges

November 30, 2017

OIT Advisory Sub-committee

(Members of the OIT Faculty Advisory sub-committee meet to review proposals.)

Written by: Nicole Duff, Communications Specialist

The UTSA Office of Information Technology (OIT) recently awarded approximately $150,000 in grants to seven UTSA colleges through its Academic Support Solutions Fund. The awards, which range in amounts from $5,000 - $15,000, will help subsidize the costs of initiatives aimed at empowering student success at both the Main and Downtown Campuses.

The OIT Academic Support Solutions Fund is maintained by the Automated Services and Student Access charge and is designed to provide UTSA colleges with financial assistance for projects aimed at improving student life at the university. This mandatory student fee helps ensure the upkeep of the technology infrastructure and electronic resources.

This past summer, a Call for Proposals (CFPs) was sent out to the OIT Faculty Advisory Committee, which consists of representatives from various colleges across the university. Committee members disseminated the CFPs throughout their respective colleges to provide interested faculty and staff an opportunity to receive support for student-centered projects that aligned with at least one of the goals of Blueprint UTSA.

“This is our second year utilizing a Call for Proposals process,” said Vanessa Hammler Kenon, assistant vice provost for IT. “Although OIT funds are very limited, we are always happy to assist in whatever way with student success.”

In response to its Call for Proposals, OIT received more than 20 proposals from several departments across the university. This amount almost doubled the number of proposals submitted last year, reflecting OIT’s effort to increase faculty collaboration.

Out of the proposals submitted, 15 were selected to receive funding this year, based on a unanimous decision of the Faculty Advisory sub-committee. The sub-committee met earlier this month to review and vote on proposals.

Student members of the FAC sub-committee participating in the review process

(Student members of the OIT Faculty Advisory Sub-Committee actively participating in the review process.)

“I continue to be amazed at the knowledge base of our UTSA students,” said Kenon. “The insight they bring to the process when they sit down with OIT staff to review the proposals is remarkable.”

In addition to providing students with cutting-edge technology, the awarded projects will further equip them with the technological, critical thinking skills and experiential learning needed to succeed.

Some of the awarded projects will enable UTSA students to gain experience in mobile app creation and familiarize them with innovative technology such as smartboards and drawing tablets, which are widely utilized at peer institutions and in today's workforce.

“I think it is a great idea to make these funds available for small student-focused projects which support Blueprint UTSA,” said Dan Smolenski, Computer Science Computing Manager. “The OIT Academic Support Solutions Fund is a good way for the faculty and staff that work closely with students and know their needs to get projects funded, which directly supports the students. This in-turn helps to increase our retention and graduation rates.”

The colleges awarded funding this year and the titles of their projects are:

College of Architecture, Construction, and Planning

  • “Building Performance Measurement and Multi-Layer Mixed-Reality Visualization Equipment”

College of Business

  • “Return on Student Investment”

College of Education and Human Development

  • “Mobile Apps: Acquiring the Skills and Dispositions for 21st Century Learning and Teaching”

College of Engineering

  • “Development of Technological Corrosion and Materials Test Site for Student Advancement”
  • “Advancing Computing Resources for Deep Learning Education and Research in Brain Computer Interface”

College of Liberal and Fine Arts

  • “Psychology Doctoral Computing Resources Refresh”
  • “UTSA Goes UN: Empowering Our Students to Become Global Citizen”
  • “Upgrading Technology in the Graduate Anthropology Lab: Part 2”
  • “Developing a Digital Studio by Increasing the Availability of Interactive Technology (Smart Boards, Drawing Tablets, Software) to Prioritize Student Marketability)”
  • “Expansive Possibilities: Exploring the Digital Humanities through The Black Speculative Arts Digital Archive”

College of Public Policy

  • “Upgrading Computing Infrastructure for Public Policy Excellence”

College of Sciences

  • “Testbed for Unix and Network Security Research and Education”
  • “Enhancing the Academic Experience for Environmental Science Majors at UT San  Antonio through The Upgrading of the GIS, Environmental Statistics, and Environmental Assessment Computer Classroom”
  • “System Support for Education and Research in Big-Data Application with Non-CPU    
  • Devices”
  • “Security Course Virtualization”


To learn more about the OIT Academic Support Solutions Fund, click here.