Wednesday, July 6, 2022

New UTSA courses bolster critical thinking to meet grand challenges

New UTSA courses bolster critical thinking to meet grand challenges


AUGUST 25, 2021 — This fall, UTSA is launching new courses to prepare students to become civic leaders. Among them are course offerings that will provide students with more knowledge and the critical thinking skills they need to solve grand challenges such as inequality and racism to build a better community in San Antonio and beyond.

As an academic institution expressly founded to advance the education of Mexican Americans and other underserved communities, UTSA is committed to educating leaders who will strengthen their communities by fostering inclusive dialogue, discovery and innovation.

New courses at UTSA include Interpretivist History in Chicana/o Studies taught by Marco Cervantes (left); Rebellion and Resistance in Black Life Writing Since 1780 taught by Joycelyn Moody (center); and Art and Social Justice taught by Verena Gaudy (right).

“The humanities, social sciences and the arts challenge students to see beyond their own horizon, to contend with nuance, and to leverage creative expression for the public good,” said Glenn Martinez, dean of the UTSA College of Liberal and Fine Arts (COLFA). 

Between COLFA and the UTSA College of Education and Human Development (COEHD), about 100 new courses have been added for this fall semester.

The Department of Race, Ethnicity, Gender, and Sexuality Studies has launched Teaching to Power: Critical and Liberating Pedagogies (REGSS 2003). Professor Sylvia Mendoza guides students in using new theory and scholarship to advocate for a more equitable world. This course covers race and gender theories that impact the formation of American public schools.  

The class Interpretivist History in Chicana/o Studies (MAS 6103), within the Department of Mexican American Studies and taught by associate professor Marco Cervantes, is designed as part of the department’s graduate certificate for those preparing to teach Mexican American Studies in public schools and colleges. Prospective teachers critically examine the colonial histories of Latina/x/os, Mexican Americans, and Chicana/x/os in San Antonio, Texas, and the United States.

The Department of English will offer several new or revamped courses:

The class Rebellion and Resistance in Black Life Writing Since 1780 (ENG 5783.001/ENG 7083.001), led by professor Joycelyn Moody, teaches those enrolled how to discuss, read and write about race, racism, racialization, discrimination, bias, bigotry, hate and oppression. Autobiographies and other life writing by Black Americans will be explored.

Assistant professor Kerry Sinanan teaches The Black Atlantic (ENG 5053/7063). The class will impact how students read and understand literature by filling in the vital gaps about the full literary and historical context of the transatlantic slave trade. This graduate seminar allows scholars to read lesser-known accounts that detail the roots of abolition and of arguments for racial equity. The course relies on the practice known as “reading against the grain” where participants analyze the dominant reading of a text and engage in alternative or "resistant" readings.

Topics in Chicana and Native American Literature and Culture (ENG 3713), taught by associate professor Annette Portillo, will ask students to critically examine the diverse and complex identities of Indigenous and Chicana/o people. This course allows students to read testimonies, autobiographies, poetry and memoirs that underscore the legacies of colonization, displacement and genocide. These life stories become acts of survival that resist genocidal legacies and recuperate Chicana/o and Indigenous-centered epistemologies.

The class Reading Faulkner Post-Black Lives Matter (ENG 4973.001), taught by professor Jeanne Reeseman, allows those interested in the work of William Faulkner to develop research skills and to re-examine his writing in the context of the recent Black Lives Matter movement.

The Honors College will launch Art and Social Justice (CSH 1213 06 H). Those interested in the arts will learn from Verena Gaudy, a contemporary ceramics and performance artist, how those in the arts have used their work to speak out against injustices, advocate for change and honor the lived experiences of marginalized communities. Those enrolled will ultimately understand how theory becomes practice by creating ceramic bowls to benefit the charity Empty Bowls—an organization that aims to reduce hunger in local communities.

In addition to the aforementioned courses, the School of Data Science has launched an undergraduate certificate. This certification is designed for students from all academic backgrounds to build strong analytical and computational foundations which can embolden the critical thinking needed to meet grand societal challenges. Those completing this certificate will gain foundational data science knowledge and practical skills in data curation, data analytics, data visualization, data mining and machine learning.

Milady Nazir

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University of Texas at San Antonio receives ‘transformational’ $40M gift

UTSA’s Mission

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.

UTSA’s Vision

To be a premier public research university, providing access to educational excellence and preparing citizen leaders for the global environment.

UTSA’s Core Values

We encourage an environment of dialogue and discovery, where integrity, excellence, inclusiveness, respect, collaboration and innovation are fostered.

UTSA’S Destinations

UTSA is a proud Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI) as designated by the U.S. Department of Education.

Our Commitment to Inclusivity

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.