JANUARY 15, 2021 — UTSA has been awarded a three-year, $5 million grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to support the university’s community partnerships in advancing racial justice.
The grant, administered through the Mellon Just Futures Initiative, supports visionary, unconventional, experimental and groundbreaking projects that address the long-existing fault lines of racism, inequality, and injustice within democracy and civil society.
UTSA’s project—Democratizing Racial Justice—will be a transformative, community-based People’s Academies for Racial Justice. Through the People’s Academies, selected community fellows and faculty fellows will collaborate on a public-facing project each year of the grant as determined by that cohort. Grant funding will further support community dialogues with key scholars working in fields related to social justice.
The project will be led by UTSA’s Jackie Cuevas, Alejandra Elenes and Rhonda M. Gonzales.
The project was developed and will be led by Jackie Cuevas, associate professor and assistant chair of the Department of Race, Ethnicity, Gender and Sexuality Studies and director of the Women’s Studies Institute. Project co-leads are Alejandra Elenes, professor and chair of the Department of Race, Ethnicity, Gender and Sexuality Studies, and Rhonda M. Gonzales, professor and chair of the Department of History.
“These academies represent a path-making effort to bring together activist-scholars, students and community members to formulate community-centric, ethical collaborations where people of color remember histories, respond to community needs, conduct collective research and imagine thriving futures where racial justice is possible,” said Cuevas.
Project partners include the UTSA Institute of Texan Cultures, which will manage and promote an online repository of DRJ archives, including oral histories, public murals or other materials. The nonprofit Esperanza Center, led by director Graciela Sanchez, will serve as the anchor community organization for facilitating the People’s Academies. Northwest Vista College will serve as institutional partner for the companion Educators’ Academies for Ethnic Studies and Sandra Garza, coordinator of the Mexican American Studies Program at Northwest Vista College, will serve as project liaison for participating Alamo Colleges District campuses.
“Higher education plays a key role in simultaneously advancing the social mobility of individuals and promoting stability and prosperity of our communities,” said Kimberly Andrews Espy, provost and senior vice president for academic affairs. “Hispanic Serving Institutions such as UTSA can play an even larger role in addressing inequality and injustice because of our longstanding commitment to advancing educational attainment for underrepresented groups.”
Overseen by the Mellon Foundation’s Higher Learning Program, the Just Futures Initiative was launched in 2020 to address systemic inequities that disproportionately impact communities of color, as highlighted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The programs seek to improve access to and accelerate demographic transformation in higher education and to support humanities education that builds and centers more complete and accurate narratives for a fuller account of the human experience.
UTSA is one of only 16 universities in the U.S. and the only institution in Texas to be awarded a grant through the Just Futures Initiative.
“The DRJ project was conceived to leverage our department’s and UTSA’s own interdisciplinary strengths in the humanities, ethnic studies and intersectional gender studies, and then build on those strengths through the external partnerships,” said Elenes. “DRJ was developed as an academic-community collaborative—and one that will serve as a model for innovative humanities and ethnic studies education in the region.”
In total, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation is awarding more than $72 million to support multidisciplinary and multi-institutional collaborative teams producing solutions-based work that contributes to public understanding of the nation’s racist past and can lead to the creation of socially just futures.
The Adobe Creative Campus Kickoff will introduce students to Adobe software and how they can use it to both produce professional content for their courses as well as how they can create content for their side hustle. The hour-long session will teach you how to gain FREE access to downloadable software such as Photoshop and Illustrator as well as web-based programs such as Adobe Spark. Want to learn more? Contact William.Schaefer@utsa.edu.Virtual Event
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Come and meet your First-Year Experience (FYE) UPM Peer Mentor! As a first-year student at UTSA, you will be meeting with a peer mentor in your Academic Studies area. Your peer mentor is here to support and guide you academically and socially, as you navigate your first year of college. Your UPM Peer Mentor will be emailing you a unique Zoom link to their UPM Meet & Greet!Virtual Event
The UTSA Zoom license will provision your UTSA email account with a Higher ED Pro Zoom account that comes with multiple features. Join us as we review these features. including best practices, for using this software for education and think about the best way to use it in, for, and with our digital classrooms.Virtual Event
A restorative justice virtual conversation to process thoughts and emotions as our community continues to navigate the impacts of Covid-19.Virtual Event
Join us for our Spring 2022 virtual get-together where you can meet the Student Success Team, Faculty, and Peer Mentors in the College for Health, Community and Policy (HCaP). This will be a great opportunity to get connected to the HCaP community and meet other HCaP students. Plus, you get to learn about services offered through the new HCaP Student Success Center.Virtual Event
Art of Wellbeing is back for Roadrunner Days. This months focus is on vision board making, set your vision for the semester by creating a visual representation of your goals.Recreation Wellness Center, 1.806, Main Campus
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.
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UTSA is a proud Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI) as designated by the U.S. Department of Education.
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