(Dec. 12, 2017) -- Seven colleges at The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) have received a boost to help students succeed. The UTSA Office of Information Technology (OIT) awarded approximately $150,000 in grants to the colleges through its Academic Support Solutions Fund. The awards, which range from $5,000 to $15,000, will help subsidize the costs of initiatives to empower student success at 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.
Last summer, OIT extended a call for proposals (CFPs) by way of its Faculty Advisory Committee. The committee members distributed 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 themes outlined in the UTSA strategic plan.
“This is our second year utilizing a call for proposals process,” said Vanessa Hammler Kenon, assistant vice provost for Information Technology. “We are always happy to assist in whatever way possible to ensure UTSA students succeed.”
OIT received more than 20 proposals from several departments, nearly doubling the number of proposals submitted last year and reflecting OIT’s effort to increase faculty collaboration. Out of the proposals submitted, 15 were selected to receive funding, based on a unanimous decision of the Faculty Advisory sub-committee.
“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 UTSA’s vision,” said Dan Smolenski, UTSA 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 seven colleges and their awarded projects include:
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