Downtown Campus initiatives
In the spring of 2018 we launched an initiative to focus on the student experience at our Downtown Campus. Much progress occurred during this initial phase, which is now coming to a formal close as certain efforts become operationalized and others evolve into more focused initiatives.
As we look toward the start of the fall semester in just a few short weeks, I’d like to share some updates on the current status of this work. All the efforts described below reflect the fundamental notion that UTSA is one university with multiple campuses, cohesively working toward our bold vision for the future.
Downtown Student Services
Key to our student success goals is ensuring that the student services we offer are appropriately tailored to the specific needs of each campus. Work over the last 15 months laid the groundwork for some significant enhancements to services at the Downtown Campus that are now coming to fruition:
- The Downtown One Stop Enrollment Center, Fiscal Services and Campus Services offices moved to their new location on the second floor of the Frio Street Building for easy and convenient access for students. Additional support and counseling for veterans and military affiliated students will be available in the Downtown One Stop by January 2020.
- The UTSA Police Department moved to a highly visible area on the first floor of the Frio Street Building as part of a strategy to increase accessibility at the Downtown Campus. They are available 24/7/365, and can be reached at x4911 for emergencies, or x4242 for non-emergencies. The department is working on strategic plans to enhance the safety and security needs of the Downtown Campus as it grows over time.
- A new combined space for Student Health Services, Student Disability Services and Counseling Services is currently under renovation on the first floor of the Buena Vista Building and will be open by the first day of classes in August.
- We launch our new VIA U-Pass program this fall, which will provide transportation between campuses for all members of the UTSA community.
- Construction has started on a new Campus Recreation Center to be located on the first floor of the Frio Street Building. The center, which will provide state-of-the-art equipment for our downtown students, is scheduled to open in October.
As a result of recent reorganizations within our Academic Affairs and Business Affairs areas, several efforts included in the first phase of the Downtown Campus initiative have now been formalized under the ownership of particular divisions:
- The Division of University Planning will provide management for UTSA’s capital building projects, including the School of Data Science/National Security Collaboration Center, Cattleman’s Square and the eventual new interdisciplinary building housing UTSA’s expanded business education and career engagement programs.
- The Division of Strategic Enrollment will oversee our efforts to increase enrollment at UTSA, and is responsible for working with the academic college deans to develop specific plans that leverage the assets at our Downtown Campus.
- Furthermore, the Division of Academic Innovation is working with faculty and academic leadership to accelerate our efforts to increase academic offerings through the use of online pedagogy. For example, this fall, it will be possible to meet UTSA’s core curriculum requirements entirely through online offerings, supporting the goal of full-time study at our Downtown Campus.
- The Urban Education Institute is now fully operational under the College of Education and Human Development and will be retired from active initiative status. Oversight of the UEI falls to Margo DelliCarpini in her role as Vice Provost for Strategic Education Partnerships.
We still have much work to do to achieve our vision for the Downtown Campus. Several initiatives launched over the last year advance projects that have a significant impact on the campus’s physical development, academic offerings and student support services. They include:
- Campus Master Plan
- School of Data Science
- National Security Collaboration Center
- Expanding Business Education and Career Engagement to the Downtown Campus
- Human Health
- Parking and Transportation
- Cattleman's Square
- San Antonio Workforce
On the Horizon for 2019-20
This coming academic year we will launch several new efforts to deepen our relationship with the neighborhoods surrounding the Downtown Campus, such as an initiative dedicated to creating connections with the West Side community, and establishing a new Community Relations office within University Relations.
At a broader level, this fall we’ll launch a new initiative on advancing institutional effectiveness focused on maximizing our human, fiscal and physical resources to generate innovative excellence across all our campuses
No doubt this will be another exciting year as we continue to gain momentum as a result of all you do for UTSA. Thank you for your hard work, as always, and enjoy these last few weeks of summer!