NOVEMBER 16, 2020 — The nation’s public research universities have a special responsibility to serve as drivers of social mobility and economic prosperity for their home cities. This mission is particularly important for UTSA, which serves a Latino majority student population that, like San Antonio, reflects the demographic future of the United States.
Recently, UTSA became one of just five higher education institutions selected to receive the prestigious 2020 Seal of Excelencia. This national certification is awarded by Washington, D.C.–based Excelencia in Education, the recognized leader in efforts to accelerate Latino student success in higher education. It identifies federally designated Hispanic Serving Institutions that go beyond merely enrolling large numbers of Latinos and are resolute in executing a comprehensive strategy to serve and promote their success.
This certification is important to UTSA and San Antonio on a number of levels.
Most notably, it validates the intentional work that the university is doing to close the education equity gap and create bold futures for its students.
In the past five years, for example, Hispanic undergraduate enrollment increased by 31% at UTSA and the increase in bachelor’s degrees awarded to Hispanic students was 42%. These improvements can be attributed to the purposeful implementation of strategies that foster excellence—policies, practices and support that benefits every UTSA student.
The seal also reflects the dedicated efforts of scores of UTSA faculty and staff members who have worked tirelessly to remove barriers and create pathways to foster Latino student success.
Likewise, the certification amplifies the steadfast support that the university has received from the community. From the very beginning the university’s advocates have understood that a UTSA degree leads graduates to new opportunities and an improved quality of life.
As San Antonio’s urban serving university, UTSA aspires to become a Hispanic thriving research institution: a model that provides the highest quality education to advance social mobility and economic opportunities for its students and community, increase professional opportunities for its Latino faculty and staff, and generate new knowledge through its scholarly and R&D efforts to propel the industries of the future.
To realize this vision, UTSA is advancing many new initiatives this year.
One in five of this fall’s first-time, full-time Roadrunner freshmen are recipients of UTSA Bold Promise, a free tuition program for high-achieving Texans from low- and middle-income families. Seventy-eight percent of these students identify as Hispanic.
UTSA is implementing short-term and long-term strategies to intentionally recruit faculty members from underrepresented groups. This fall 22% of the new faculty members joining the university identified as Latino, a substantial increase over past years.
At the same time UTSA is designing new, comprehensive initiatives focused on equity, diversity and inclusion across the university. A dedicated team of faculty and staff are developing an innovative Common First-Year Experience focused on community, coursework and digital fluency.
UTSA is also deepening its relationships with the historically underserved neighborhoods adjacent to its Downtown Campus through its Westside Community Partnerships Initiative and Westside Community Center. As the result of several new initiatives, West Side high school students now have the opportunity to participate in more career exploration and dual-credit programs, and their parents have more access to resources to encourage a college-going culture.
UTSA was founded in 1969 on the hopes and dreams of generations of San Antonians to advance the educational attainment of Mexican Americans in South Texas. Over the past several years the university has made great strides to more deeply fulfill that important mission. The Seal of Excelencia is demonstrative of this commitment to become truly exemplary.
At the same time UTSA recognizes that there is much more work to do to intentionally serve Latino students. Not only do these efforts honor the university’s founding history, they benefit every student who enrolls at the university by raising standards of excellence across the institution. Equally as important, these critical steps are further positioning UTSA on its trajectory to become a model Hispanic Serving Institution that advances San Antonio, the state and the nation.
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.