SEPTEMBER 23, 2020 — Editor’s note: The following message was sent today via email from Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs Kimberly Andrews Espy to all faculty, staff and students:
2020 has been a unique time of reckoning for our country—particularly so for institutions of higher education—where the racial justice protests following the killing of George Floyd and the public health disparities highlighted by the COVID-19 pandemic are prompting deeper examination of social, economic and health inequities. UTSA was founded on the fervent belief that San Antonians deserve access to high-quality education and opportunities, and with the specific intent to advance educational attainment for Hispanic students and students from other underserved populations.
Today, I am proud to announce the launch of UTSA’s Equity Advocacy Initiative, a comprehensive university effort by faculty, students, and staff to coordinate the deliberate and focused planning needed to fulfill that promise and to create truly inclusive learning environments where our students and all members of the UTSA community can engage and thrive. These ideals have long been woven through our university’s mission and core values, and the beginnings of this initiative date back more than a year ago to the launch of the 21st Century Learning Environments Task Group in the spring 2019 semester. That task group was charged to consider what is needed to create a learning environment that encourages critical thinking, communication, collaboration, and creativity, and, most critically, acknowledges the social and cultural changes that have occurred from the 20th to 21st century and the readiness of faculty and students to negotiate adapting to these changes.
Through the Equity Advocacy Initiative, the university will develop an overarching framework for implementing the recommendations put forth by the task group and connecting their work to that of the tactical teams for Enabling Clear Pathways to Degree Completion and Increasing Inclusive Access to Higher Education in Our Communities. Collectively, this work will further define the Roadrunner student experience in and out of the classroom with an intentional grounding in diversity, inclusion and equity.
Efforts related to the initiative will be broad and highly collaborative; some are designed to support specific student populations, whereas others serve to educate and equip the larger Roadrunner community with the knowledge to enact change. Numerous activities across Academic Affairs already are underway:
Additionally, in support of the initiative, UTSA’s academic divisions and colleges are developing plans to create new and enhance existing programs to advance diversity, equity, inclusion and justice; undoubtedly, many new projects will be introduced through the initiative as our work progresses. Our intention is for this work to permeate the academic experience at UTSA—in ways large and small—to advance our destination as a model for student success. At the same time, we recognize that faculty and staff, too, can benefit from this initiative, and there will be multiple opportunities for all of us in the Roadrunner community to engage and contribute to this effort.
We know that higher education serves a particularly critical role in American society by simultaneously advancing the social mobility of individuals and promoting stability and prosperity of our communities. In times such as these, I would venture that UTSA has a special opportunity in this regard because of our home in the culturally and historically rich city of San Antonio, which has a long heritage of social activism and impact. I invite you to learn more about the initiative, including the recommendations of the 21st Century Learning Environments Task Group and the charges that have been set forth for the aforementioned tactical teams, and to get involved. As always, I welcome your feedback at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Professor Swisher is Chair of the Department of Sociology at the University of Texas at San Antonio. He received his Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. His research focuses on risk factors in adolescence and the transition to adulthood (e.g., neighborhood poverty, exposure to violence, parental incarceration) and their consequences for health and well-being across the life course. Recent work has focused on educational mobility and, in particular, challenges faced by first generation college students.Virtual Event
Join UTSA for a virtual screening of “Hap Veltman’s San Antonio Country” with the filmmaker Noi Mahoney. See the story of the extraordinary life of Hap Veltman and the nightclub that kick-started San Antonio’s gay civil rights movement. Professor Derek Robertson will lead a discussion with the filmmaker, followed by audience Q&A. Free and open to the UTSA and entire San Antonio community.Virtual Event
Join us this summer as we showcase innovative and interesting topics from each institution of the UT System. Register and JoinVirtual Event
Secure your vaccine ahead of time by registering for an appointment. Walk-in appointments will also be available while supplies last. The vaccines available are the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson/Janssen.Denman Ballroom (SU 2.01.28)
San Antonio Pride Parade featuring make-up tutorials, Peace Love Pride Wedding, special guests. More details to come.Virtual Event
UTSA Campus Recreation will be doing a giveaway in celebration of Pride Month. The first 51 patrons to come to the Rec will win a free t-shirt!Campus Rec, Main Campus
Secure your vaccine ahead of time by registering for an appointment. Walk-in appointments will also be available while supplies last. The vaccines available are the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson/Janssen.Denman Ballroom (SU 2.01.28
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.