AUGUST 30, 2021 — Editor’s note: This story is the first in a four-part series highlighting the new Academic Success District. Part two of this series will highlight the upgraded classrooms and technology personas; Part three will highlight the new Academic Innovation center designed to support innovative instructional practices and promote collaborative learning between faculty and students; Part four will summarize the key components of the Academic Success District.
UTSA is proud to launch the Academic Success District (ASD), a forward-thinking collaboration that makes key physical spaces, resources, and programs highly visible and easily accessible for students. The ASD embodies UTSA’s long-term strategic vision to become a Hispanic thriving institution and a leading public research university, creating bold futures for the Roadrunner community by being a model for student success.
“The Academic Success District, at the academic center of our campus, represents UTSA’s culture of support and empowerment for its students, particularly our first-generation college students,” said UTSA Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs Kimberly Andrews Espy. “Various areas from across the university came together to create this exciting new initiative, showing just how important it is for us to provide the best academic experience for our students front and center.”
Inside the Student Success Center, Roadrunners will have access to several programs, including LEAD, SOAR and the Graduation Help Desk.
The ASD is a collection of advising offices, mentoring programs, upgraded university classrooms, college-specific academic support centers and other learning hubs strategically moved to ground level locations clustered around the Sombrilla at the heart of the Main Campus. By aligning these programs and facilities, students have easy access to resources that help them be successful and enhance their overall academic experience – whether they're first-gen, first-year, transfer students, or nearing graduation.
The student success hubs in the Academic Success District include the following:
The Tomás Rivera Center for Academic Excellence is located in the Multidisciplinary Studies (MS) building just off the Sombrilla Plaza. The center provides tutoring services, student success coaching, peer academic coaching, and other academic support programming.
The new Student Success Center (SSC) building is located between the Student Union and North Paseo Building. This hub is dedicated to advising services and is home to the following programs:
The Collaborative Learning Hub is a dedicated space for students to study and collaborate, located on the second floor inside the John Peace Library. Students can also work with a team of UTSA supplemental instruction staff who will support them with the tools and resources they need to be successful in challenging, high-enrollment core classes.
The Mentoring Hub, located on the ground level of the McKinney Humanities (MH) building, hosts a variety of programs dedicated to supporting first-year, first-gen and transfer student success. The hub is home to peer-to-peer First-Generation Programming, The First-Year Experience Program, Transfer & Transition Student Success Services (T2S3), the First to Go and Graduate (F2G&G) program, and more.
The F2G&G program represents a UTSA-wide culture of active recognition, encouragement and support of first-generation college students. Students are placed with trained peer mentors and faculty coaches who are also first-generation college students in what's known as the student's familia. This support system helps foster a sense of belonging that increases engagement and encourages retention at UTSA.
In addition to creating the student success hubs, several classroom upgrades were implemented in a collaboration between the division of Business Affairs and the Academic Affairs’ division of Academic Innovation. Four classroom personas, each with their own unique combination of integrated learning technologies, were developed to provide standard expectations and promote ease-of-use across different classrooms.
Each college at UTSA also has its own success center. These centers provide students with resources, programs, and services tailored to their disciplines in addition to leveraging university-wide initiatives to fully prepare students for their careers.
“The Academic Success District is the culmination of many different efforts to help students succeed,” said Vice Provost for Student Success Tammy Wyatt. “The new Student Success Center building, in particular, demonstrates how we’ve realigned and reimagined how to best serve students at UTSA.”
In September 2020, Academic Affairs announced the Academic Success District Initiative as an opportunity to more effectively utilize campus space in a manner that advances institutional objectives for student success and faculty excellence. Led by Espy and Senior Director of Space Management Joshua Gerkin, Academic Affairs (Academic Innovation, Student Success) and Business Affairs (Space Management, Facilities) worked collaboratively with faculty and students to identify and design the spaces, share resources, and move the Academic Success District from concept to completion.
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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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