Campus Experience Task Force

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UTSA recently completed its yearlong strategic plan refresh process, outlining its continued efforts in transforming the institution into a leading Hispanic Serving, public research university. The refresh resulted in affirming destination one and modestly refining destinations two and three. 

Destination three now specifies that UTSA will be an innovative place to work, learn and discover. As a result of these updates, the university has launched a task force to lead the effort toward achieving the destination’s goals to enhance the campus experience for faculty, staff and students, both in-person and online.

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Goals

The Campus Experience Task Force has three clearly defined goals that will guide its work.

  • Identify best practices that promote an exceptional campus experience
  • Develop flexible work arrangement guidance
  • Optimize academic course and program modality

Task Force Membership

Members of the task force represent areas across campus that work toward improving the campus experience for students, faculty and staff.

Executive Sponsors

Veronica Salazar, Executive Vice President for Business Affairs and Chief Enterprise Development Officer

Heather Shipley, Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs

Task Force Co-chairs

Mary Hernandez, Senior Associate Vice President for Administration and Operations

Katie Meersman, Assistant Vice Provost for Academic Operations and Strategic Initiatives

Task Force Support

People Excellence, led by Kay Madden, Associate Vice President

Space Management, led by Josh Gerken, Associate Vice President

Institutional Research & Analysis, led by Steve Wilkerson, Senior Vice Provost and Chief Analytics Officer

Task Force Members:

Member

Area

Albert Carrisalez

University Relations

Amy Fritz

Staff Senate

Aydan Villarreal

Student Government Association

Giselle Torres Villarreal

Student Government Association

Barbara Smith

Student Success

Chelsea Trotter

President’s Division

Dan Gockley

Student Success
Traci Guinn

ADA and Accessibility

Eric Brey

College Deans

Jenell Bramlage

University Technology Solutions

Jessica Vela

Office of Research

Liz Rockstroh

Business Affairs

LT Robinson

Student Affairs

Nikki McGovern

Athletics

Rebecca Anderson

Advancement & Alumni Engagement

Rica Ramirez

Faculty Senate

Sheri Hardison

Financial Affairs

Wenbo Wu

Chairs Council


Working Groups

To complete its work, the Campus Experience Task Force was divided into four working groups, each focused on an important aspect of the campus experience.

  • Wellbeing and Community
    Identify best practices for promoting an exceptional campus experience, including strategies for fostering employee and student success and enhancing collaboration and engagement in the “new normal.”

  • Flexible Work Playbook
    Identify best practices for a work modality playbook, including 1) job aids and resources to facilitate decision-making for assigning the appropriate work modality, 2) review of the out-of-state work exemption request process, and 3) resources to support employees based on work modality.

  • Value Proposition
    Develop an inventory of “perks” of working and learning at UTSA, including 1) recommendations to promote them effectively and 2) other potential “perks” that should be explored.

  • Academic Experience
    Assess student needs and expectations for program and course modality alternatives and support services


Timeline

The task force conducted their work over the fall 2023 semester and presented their preliminary recommendations to the Executive Sponsors in December 2023. Each working group was charged with making recommendations that fell into three categories: low-hanging fruit, mid-range goals and long-range goals.​

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During the spring 2024 semester, the co-chairs deduplicated, organized, prioritized, and socialized the recommendations, and various project teams were developed.

Currently, the task force co-chairs are engaging individuals and offices on campus who would be responsible for implementing the recommendations and/or are undertaking related work.  


Recommendations

Academic Experience

...

Course Offerings

Recommendation: Offer core and high-demand courses in multiple modalities, as appropriate.

Planned Actions:

  • Continue to offer courses in multiple modalities.
  • Remove the “online hybrid” modality beginning in spring 2025.
...

Advising Enhancements

Recommendation: Hold regular meetings between academic advising and departments to get timely updates on course offerings, catalog changes and input on course sequencing.

Planned Actions:

  • Leverage Associate Deans Council on Undergraduate Studies to facilitate communication among advising, departments, and college curriculum committees
...

Communication and Collaboration

Recommendations:

  • Improve the onboarding experience for students through online orientation.
  • Host more information sessions by different academic units (e.g. Libraries, student success centers) to make students aware of available resources.
  • Host events to connect faculty and students in order to foster good relationships beyond the classroom.

Planned Action: Leverage Ruby Tuesday group to identify communication improvements related to existing resources (e.g. First-Year Journey Working Group).


Employee Experience

...

Roadrunner Experience Website

Recommendation: Create a centralized hub for accessing information on benefits and perks.

Planned Actions:

  • Create new Employee Success website.
  • Link to existing Student Success and Faculty Success websites.
  • Expand UTSA Discount Program.
  • Develop communication campaign.
  • Facilitate vendor request process to establish new discounts.
...

Employee Success Center

Recommendation: Create a gathering space to connect employees with professional development, EAP, wellness and other resources.

Planned Actions:

  • Combine Talent Management and Wellness into a new area of People Excellence called Employee Success.
  • Expand the Wellness Champions program.
  • Offer regular programming, such as financial planning presentations, coaching/mentorship, leadership development, social events and more.
  • Connect with existing efforts, such as the UTSA Thrive initiative, campus well-being, etc.
...

Flexible Work Modality Resources

Recommendation: Develop job aids and streamlined processes to support flexible work.

Planned Actions:

  • Create a work modality review matrix to help leaders determine work modalities.
  • Update the Out-of-State Work Exception Request process.
  • Develop best practices for setting up hoteling stations, standard equipment for hybrid and remote employees, telecommuting agreements, space use and assignment, etc.
...

Enhanced Infrastructure and Services

Recommendation: Create a seamless experience for students and employees.

Planned Actions:

  • Engage study to explore options for optimizing parking spaces, parking permit options and improving traffic flow.
  • Explore enhanced transportation options to travel between campuses, such as The Little Runner.
  • Assess additional opportunities for single sign-on and wi-fi connectivity.
  • Assess expanded dining options across all campuses, with options to meet dietary needs.
...

Placemaking and Programming

Recommendations: Create an employee/student experience that is unique to UTSA.

Planned Action: 

  • Create and promote gathering places throughout campus, in connection with the Placemaking Council.
  • Explore more holistic/extended orientation and onboarding for both employees and students.
  • Offer cross-campus training on virtual, hybrid and in-person events for a consistent high-quality event experience.


Share Your Thoughts 

Although the task force has presented its final recommendations, we are still accepting ideas or suggestions to help improve the campus experience for students, faculty and staff. All Roadrunners are welcome to share their ideas with the task force co-chairs or complete the survey below. 

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Questions or Feedback

If you have questions or would like to share feedback throughout this process, please contact CETaskForce@utsa.edu.