Tuesday, July 17, 2018

UTSA Downtown Campus expands course schedule options

UTSA Downtown Campus expands course schedule options

(June 27, 2018) - UTSA students taking classes at the Downtown Campus this fall will have more options to optimize their course schedules and reduce the need to travel between the Downtown Campus and Main Campus to fulfill degree requirements. The curriculum enhancements are part of the Presidential Initiative on the Downtown Campus to provide a comprehensive living and learning experience to students in the College of Architecture, Construction and Planning, College of Public Policy and College of Education and Human Development.

“We are looking at all the logistics that impact the student life cycle,” said Can Saygin, interim senior vice provost for institutional effectiveness and strategic initiatives and chair of the curriculum sub-group of the Downtown Campus Task Force. “We want all our students downtown to be able to eat, sleep, study, relax and take courses on their home campus.”

As part of the curriculum changes, incoming first-year students pursuing degrees in either the College of Public Policy or College of Architecture, Construction and Planning now can enroll in a full-time schedule at the Downtown Campus. One option is registering for a block schedule according to their chosen academic pathway. The block courses are offered on a two-day schedule—Monday/Wednesday or Tuesday/Thursday—so that students might take a full courseload and have Friday off to study, work or spend time with family. The two-day course schedules optimize students’ time on campus and reduce the need to commute between campuses to attend classes on the same day.

“We’re very excited about the opportunities these changes create for the Class of 2022 students who will be taking classes downtown,” said Diane Elizondo, associate director of the First-Year Experience Program. “Each year, the university will build on course offerings with the goal that this year’s incoming students in the College of Public Policy and College of Architecture, Construction and Planning will be able to complete their degree entirely downtown — and being on one campus means they can better connect with the many rich resources in downtown San Antonio.”

In addition to the academic pathway block schedules, which are open only to incoming first-year students, the colleges have worked to increase the number of Downtown Campus courses that are offered on a two-day schedule and are open to all continuing students.

Joe DeCristoforo, university registrar and interim associate vice president for enrollment services, says the changes are a positive move to optimize the university’s classroom utilization.

“Traditionally, the classrooms at the Downtown Campus have been full at night but underutilized during the day,” said DeCristoforo. “The block schedules for incoming students and two-day course schedules will bring more students into those classrooms during the day, and likely will relieve some of the demands on classroom scheduling at the Main Campus.”

The curriculum sub-group now is looking at course offerings at the Downtown Campus for the spring 2019 semester.

“We will continue to work to identify the courses that need to be offered downtown, including those that are shared between programs, so as to maximize time and resources for this campus and our unique student population,” said David Matiella, associate dean of academic affairs in the College of Architecture, Construction and Planning.

The UTSA Downtown Campus, which serves as an intellectual gateway to San Antonio’s near westside and downtown, offers undergraduate and graduate degree programs in the College of Architecture, Construction and Planning, College of Public Policy, and College of Education and Human Development. Currently, more than one-third of UTSA’s graduate students take classes at the Downtown Campus.

- Rebecca Luther


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