Reorganization of community services units
As you all know, Vice President for Community Services Jude Valdez is retiring this summer after nearly 40 years of service to UTSA. I hope you will all join me in thanking Dr. Valdez for his remarkable dedication and advocacy. I especially am grateful for his efforts in helping UTSA realize its aspiration to earn a prestigious Community Engagement Classification from the Carnegie Foundation in 2015.
UTSA’s commitment to serving our local community is integral to our vision as an urban serving university of the future. To succeed in this endeavor, UTSA must be fully woven into the very fabric of our city, applying the talents of our people and our research prowess to help solve San Antonio’s grand challenges.
I believe that the best way to achieve this synergy is by integrating our community services functions within our academic, student development and research enterprises. Realigning our community engagement efforts into our core as a student-centric university will realize benefits on all fronts – fueling transformational student experiences as well as enhanced opportunities for all our community partners.
To that end, I’m happy to announce that, as of today, our community services units have moved under the following areas:
- The Institute of Economic Development will report to Interim Vice President for Research, Economic Development and Knowledge Enterprise Bernard Arulanandam.
- The Institute of Texan Cultures and Office of Extended Education will report to Interim Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Mauli Agrawal.
- The Institute for P-20 Initiatives will report to Interim Vice President for Strategic Enrollment Lisa Blazer.
- The Downtown Campus Special Events office will report to Vice President for Student Affairs Sam Gonzales.
- The Center for Civic Engagement will report to Interim Vice Provost and Dean of University College Heather Shipley.
- The Mexico Center will report to Dean of the College of Liberal and Fine Arts Dan Gelo.
This reorganization does not involve changes in staffing, only reporting lines to the vice presidential and decanal levels. This will allow for greater connectivity and collaboration throughout our organization, enabling our hardworking faculty and staff in each of these areas to benefit from the infrastructure and expertise we have in place within academic affairs, research, strategic enrollment and student affairs.
Just as important, these changes enable employees in these areas to make valuable contributions to shaping the goals and outcomes of their new units, enhancing the impact they can have on UTSA’s upward trajectory in pursuit of our six visionary themes.
All those within the affected units were apprised of these changes last evening, and welcomed to their new areas by their respective vice presidents or deans. As a cost saving measure, we will not be refilling the position of Vice President for Community Services.
I am truly enthused about this next step in UTSA’s evolution as San Antonio’s university, and look forward to building on the outstanding programming, research and partnerships we provide to our city. I am confident that these efforts will only continue to grow and flourish, and I am thankful for all the passion and energy I see among all those talented employees working to maximize UTSA’s positive impact in San Antonio.