Spotlight On: Taylor Eighmy, President, The University of Texas at San Antonio
The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) is the largest university in the San Antonio metropolitan region with four campuses across the city. In an interview with Invest:, President Taylor Eighmy discussed the impact of the pandemic, ensuring equity in San Antonio and its educational institutions, key partnerships, strategic initiatives and his outlook for UTSA in San Antonio, the country’s seventh-largest city.
Where does UTSA stand from the viewpoint of enrollment given the pandemic?
We have not seen a drop in enrollment. In fact, we’ve been fortunate enough to have thrived. Our enrollment in September 2020 went up 7% despite the pandemic. This fall, we welcomed a record freshman class of 5,500 new students. We believe it was a combination of things, such as the way we were offering our courses, working with our students to support them, and working with our faculty and staff to support our ability to deliver. We had the right blend of balancing public health protections and virtual learning opportunities. Our enrollment speaks volumes to the trust our students have in us and to their satisfaction.
How has the pandemic reshaped the learning preferences of students?
Some students live at home with family and may have risk conditions related to the COVID-19 virus. They were very concerned about protections in place on campus. Much of that concern remains to this day. We have another population of students who struggled with the online version of learning and wanted to get back to in-person, experiential learning. They missed the traditional college experience of living in residence halls with friends and attending campus events. In March 2021, in preparation of offering classes for the fall, we did a very large student survey around the modalities for offering our classes. The students voted resoundingly that they wanted flexibility in the academic programs and registered for courses that allowed the most flexibility. We’ve actually seen a selection of classes that allow the students to be in person or virtual as desired.