JANUARY 21, 2020 — Editor’s note: UTSA President Taylor Eighmy and Provost Kimberly Andrews Espy jointly sent this message to UTSA faculty, staff and students today.
Student success remains our top priority at UTSA, and in recent years we’ve undertaken a number of initiatives to promote academic success among our students. Today—on the first day of classes for 2020—we are introducing a new initiative that recognizes the intrinsic role that health and wellness play in a student’s academic and personal success. The President’s Initiative on Enriching Campus Wellbeing seeks to foster a culture of physical, emotional and social well-being at UTSA, for the benefit of our students, staff and faculty.
A recent study of UTSA students by the American College Health Association found that, at some point during the previous 12 months, 77% of our students reported feeling overwhelmed by all they had to do, 53% reported feeling overwhelming anxiety, and 34% reported feeling so depressed that it was difficult to function. This initiative recognizes the daily pressures our students face and the impact that well-being has on student retention, graduation, sense of purpose, faculty and staff productivity and more. It will seek to connect existing programs to coordinate a more comprehensive and holistic network of services.
Though the initiative will focus heavily on mental health at the outset, it will look broadly at eight dimensions of well-being—physical, social, spiritual, environmental, financial, occupational, psychological and intellectual—as endorsed by several leading higher education associations. Notably, this initiative will extend beyond the typical sectors of student health services and student affairs to consider how every aspect of the university—from policies and procedures to matters both in and out of the classroom—can impact overall well-being.
Through the initiative, we will model best practices among our peer institutions while also adopting a culturally competent approach that aligns with being a Hispanic-thriving institution. With a focus on prevention and early intervention efforts, the initiative will work to provide our students, faculty and staff with the tools they need for increased self-awareness and healthy lifestyle choices. National and UTSA data from ACHA’s National College Health Assessment will be used as benchmarks of our progress.
A first step of the initiative will be assessing strengths in our existing services, working to create synergies between them, and identifying gaps in current programs. One expected outcome will be enhanced training for all professional and student staff who work directly with students. In addition, we anticipate the need to create a website and awareness campaign to ensure all Roadrunners know about available resources and support services and how to access them.
⇒ Read more about the campus well-being initiative.
This initiative will be led by Vice Provost for Student Success Tammy Wyatt, who is an associate professor of health education and whose own research focuses on health issues and behaviors among young adults and college students. Co-leading the initiative with Wyatt will be Senior Vice Provost and Dean of Students LT Robinson and Director of Counseling and Mental Health Services Melissa Hernandez. Mary Diaz will serve as the third co-lead in her role as chief of staff in the Office of the President, conveying the importance of this effort as a presidential priority. This steering group is in the process of assembling a team of faculty, staff, students and community partners to plan this effort and assess its impact.
It is important to mention that there are many dedicated Roadrunners already engaged in this essential work; we are grateful for their past and continuing efforts. Just as student success is the responsibility of everyone who works at UTSA, this initiative will require commitment and engagement at every level across our campuses.
If you have ideas to share or are interested in getting involved in this effort, we encourage you to contact the steering group at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Racial Justice Book Club was established at UTSA by members of the campus community to explore social justice following acts of racial violence across the nation over the last few years. We are reading The Injustice Never Leaves You: Anti-Mexican Violence in Texas by Monica Muñoz Martinez. We will meet every Wednesday in September and October at 2 pm on Zoom.Virtual Event
In this workshop, you will learn study strategies to help prepare for midterms and tips to use during the tests! This workshop will be held in person, in the HCAP Student Success Center, with a virtual option via Zoom.HCAP Student Success Center (MS 2.02.36), Main Campus
Join us for a conversation and workshop with local San Antonio author, Anel I. Flores as we discuss her process and professional experiences in publication. As a 'banned' author, she will also offer guidance on being true to your culture and identity in the process of creation.Mesquite Room (SU 2.01.24,) Main Campus
Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month at our very own street fair - Calle UTSA. We will have activities, performances, food, music, and piñatas to break open.Student Union Paseo
In partnership with SA Digital Connects, HCAP will host a Lecture on Digital Divide in San Antonio.Riklin Auditorium (FS 1.406,) Main Campus
"La Plática" is a space for thoughtful dialogue to build a sense of connection among the Roadrunner Community by getting to know each other better and sharing what's on our minds and about ourselves to increase to increase awareness of diverse perspectives.Virtual Event
The UTSA Hispanic Heritage Month Planning Committee is hosting internationally acclaimed poet, writer, storyteller, author, and San Antonio native Dr. Carmen Tafolla. Dr. Tafolla will be sharing her experiences, inspirations, and writing.Virtual Event
The University of Texas at San Antonio is dedicated to the advancement of knowledge through research and discovery, teaching and learning, community engagement and public service. As an institution of access and excellence, UTSA embraces multicultural traditions and serves as a center for intellectual and creative resources as well as a catalyst for socioeconomic development and the commercialization of intellectual property - for Texas, the nation and the world.
To be a premier public research university, providing access to educational excellence and preparing citizen leaders for the global environment.
We encourage an environment of dialogue and discovery, where integrity, excellence, inclusiveness, respect, collaboration and innovation are fostered.
UTSA is a proud Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI) as designated by the U.S. Department of Education.
The University of Texas at San Antonio, a Hispanic Serving Institution situated in a global city that has been a crossroads of peoples and cultures for centuries, values diversity and inclusion in all aspects of university life. As an institution expressly founded to advance the education of Mexican Americans and other underserved communities, our university is committed to ending generations of discrimination and inequity. UTSA, a premier public research university, fosters academic excellence through a community of dialogue, discovery and innovation that embraces the uniqueness of each voice.