(Aug. 7, 2018) -- Jesse T. Zapata, senior vice provost for academic and faculty support, announces his plans to retire after 43 years of distinguished service to the university.
Considered one of the university’s founding faculty members, Zapata joined UTSA in 1976 as an assistant professor of counseling in the College of Education and Human Development. He moved through the ranks as associate and then full professor, and served in many administrative roles which have collectively shaped his legacy at UTSA.
In 1987, Zapata co-founded and served as first chair of La Raza Faculty and Administrators Association. The work of this group impacted several key programs or processes, including the creation of the university’s Tomás Rivera Center for Student Success, establishment of the Mexican American Studies program and incorporation of Affirmative Action Advocates within the faculty recruitment process.
In 1989, Zapata became the first director of the Hispanic Research Center, a multidisciplinary center that provided a vehicle for generating high quality funded research for and about Hispanics. The center generated a number of grants from federal agencies, including one the National Institute on Drug Abuse that Zapata led as principal investigator, and established a series of working papers which are available through UTSA Libraries’ archival collections.
From 1994 to 2016, Zapata served as founding vice provost for the UTSA Downtown Campus, having been selected through a national search. Under his leadership, the university’s downtown presence expanded from classes in a temporary location at Cypress Tower to a 14-acre full-service campus that houses the College of Architecture, Construction and Planning, the College of Public Policy, and three departments in the College of Education and Human Development. As the campus’ chief operating officer, Zapata oversaw the Downtown Campus Council, a cooperative model whereby representatives from Academic Affairs, Business Affairs and Student Affairs worked together to ensure students received the courses they needed and the services they deserved. Over the years, he worked tirelessly to create a community-oriented, user-friendly and caring environment at the Downtown Campus.
As top Downtown Campus administrator, Zapata established and maintained strong ties with city and community leaders and served on the boards of several non-profit organizations dedicated to improving the city’s Westside and downtown areas. Zapata also worked with city council members to help identify city bonds that are now being used to improve traffic flow and safety around the campus.
From 2000 to 2008, he served concurrently as founding dean of the College of Public Policy, during which time he brought the departments of public administration and criminal justice to the Downtown Campus and established the Department of Social Work, the Department of Demography, and the Center for Policy Studies. In addition, he led the effort to create UTSA’s Ph.D. program in applied demography, which became the first doctoral program to be offered solely at the Downtown Campus. In 2012, Zapata assumed responsibility for overseeing the academic and faculty support functions within academic affairs, including oversight of the university’s academic policies, faculty review, grievances, appointments, faculty awards and development.
“Jesse has made tremendous contributions to UTSA, to our city and communities, and to his field,” said Kimberly Andrews Espy, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs. “He is truly one of a kind, and his impact on higher education and in promoting opportunities for those underserved is deep and profound. On behalf of the entire Roadrunner family, I wish him the very best in the next phase of his service in retirement.”
In the coming year, a national search will be launched for Zapata’s replacement. In addition to his usual duties, Zapata will help with the transition and continue to work on an archival project regarding the Downtown Campus and La Raza Faculty and Administrators Association in collaboration with UTSA Libraries.
The Department of Social Work introduces new students to the Master of Social Work program.Buena Vista Street Building Assembly Room (BVB 1.338), Downtown Campus
The kickoff to Roadrunner Days, the UTSA community welcomes the thousands of students who move in to their new homes as they begin their journey at UTSA.Various residence halls, Main Campus
After a full day of moving, UTSA students and their families are invited to the party featuring food, swag, dancing and a special performance from the Spirit of San Antonio marching band.Student Union Paseo, Main Campus
This come and go session allows Roadrunners and their families to explore all the great things the UTSA Libraries offers to help students succeed. Join a group on a quest through the library for a chance at prizes and enjoy some ice cream.John Peace Library, Main Campus
Fast Action Trivia is a game where participants interact with fellow Roadrunners to test their brain skills while learning some interesting things about UTSA and have a chance to win actual cash money!Student Union Retama Auditorium (SU 2.02.02), Main Campus
This UTSA tradition is a fun, engaging opportunity for Roadrunners to learn about the facilities, recreation programs and wellness services offered at the Main and Downtown Campuses while also enjoying tons of games and activities with new and old friends.Recreation and Wellness Center Texas Room (RWC 2.214) and San Antonio Room (RWC 2.218), Main Campus
The UTSA Ambassadors are here to help students find their classes before the first day of school! Bring your class schedule to the UTSA Ambassadors table in the Student Union Ski Lodge (near Chili’s Too!), and they will help you navigate the campus to find your classes.Student Union Ski Lodge (SU 1.01.00), Main Campus
Kickback at the Union is a welcome back event for new and returning Roadrunners. Come relax and learn about the Student Union, enjoy free food, games, photo booth, and a chance to connect with each department in the Union. Arrive early for free t-shirt and stay late for a movie.Student Union Paseo and Buildings, Main Campus