JANUARY 25, 2022 — Through a new program known as Teaching and Learning Reimagined, the UTSA Department of Academic Innovation has awarded $200,000 in seed funding to 26 projects enabling faculty to experiment with technology and pioneer new strategies that engage students in and outside the classroom. The grants will support faculty efforts to reimagine their courses across modalities, from face-to-face to hybrid to fully online.
“Faculty support, creativity, and innovation has a direct impact on the student learning experience,” said Melissa Vito, vice provost of Academic Innovation. “Teaching and Learning Reimagined provides faculty with the time and resources needed to rethink how they approach big program changes or collaborate with each other and students.”
While these 26 projects represent a wide array of topics, each will address one or more of the following objectives:
Teaching and Learning Reimagined’s inaugural cohort of faculty members will pilot their projects through the 2022-23 academic year. They’ll receive assistance from UTSA Academic Innovation’s instructional designers and consultants to utilize a suite of tools and academic resources.
This team, led by Marcela Ramirez, interim assistant vice provost for Academic Innovation’s Office of Teaching, Learning and Digital Transformation, will share best practices related to inclusive pedagogical innovation, digital literacy and transformation and evidence-based research practices. In addition, Academic Innovation will highlight the faculty’s work and progress throughout the year.
Several of the projects tap into San Antonio’s rich history as a cultural intersection and UTSA’s connections to the local community. For example, one project puts computer engineering students and behavior analysis students together to solve real problems for children with disabilities in San Antonio. Another will examine how humor and student-choice humanize the classroom. Regardless of the topic, each of the 26 projects focuses on relevant, forward-thinking ideas that will enhance learning experiences and opportunities for UTSA students.
The program’s participants applied for tiered grants based on the scope of their work and collaboration with other faculty members. Projects that demonstrated an interdisciplinary approach within or between colleges received more significant start-up funding.
“As our recent designation as a Carnegie R1 institution demonstrates, UTSA faculty have deep expertise and recognize the impact of their work,” said Vito. “These great researchers and instructors understand that innovative course design, combined with their outstanding material advances the work of their fellow faculty members and our external partners like NASA.”
“We want UTSA to be a first choice university for students and faculty,” said Ramirez. “These projects contain a mix of elements that will benefit all students, regardless of whether they join UTSA on campus or online.”
The COVID-19 pandemic was the inspiration for many of the initiatives’ projects. UTSA faculty members realized during the pandemic that they could collaborate and connect in powerful new ways to design learning experiences.
“After almost two years into the pandemic, higher education is still coming to terms with how to operate in an environment that demands flexibility without sacrificing quality or inclusivity,” said Ramirez. “Teaching and Learning Reimagined will help UTSA continue to improve its student offerings and has the potential to help other institutions that are still trying to figure it out.”
Ramirez will share best practices related to inclusive pedagogical innovation, digital literacy and transformation and evidence-based research practices. In addition, Academic Innovation will highlight the faculty’s work and progress throughout the year.
“You can feel the momentum at UTSA,” said Vito. “Whether it’s in the classroom, in labs, or on the football field, UTSA students and faculty are quickly becoming critical parts in dreaming what’s next across a lot of different professional fields. Teaching and Learning Reimagined will help us stretch even further.”
Teaching and Learning Reimagined
Funding recipients and projects:
The Racial Justice Book Club was established at UTSA by members of the campus community to explore social justice following acts of racial violence across the nation over the last few years. We are reading The Injustice Never Leaves You: Anti-Mexican Violence in Texas by Monica Muñoz Martinez. We will meet every Wednesday in September and October at 2 pm on Zoom.Virtual Event
Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month at our very own street fair - Calle UTSA. We will have activities, performances, food, music, and piñatas to break open.Student Union Paseo
"La Plática" is a space for thoughtful dialogue to build a sense of connection among the Roadrunner Community by getting to know each other better and sharing what's on our minds and about ourselves to increase to increase awareness of diverse perspectives.Virtual Event
This September 30, the Friday Series will feature Prof. Milena Ang, who will be presenting A Tren to Nowhere: Statistic Development and the Politics of Racial, a paper co-authored with Tania Islas-Weistein where they discuss Mexico's long history of state-led development projects that contribute to economic and racial inequality. The authors argue that despite professing racial justice, official discourses surrounding the Tren Maya reproduce existing symbolic and material forms of racism.McKinney Humanities (MH 4.01.01,) Main Campus
We invite you to learn about the process of screenwriting and explore the intersection of identity and pursuing dreams from Jorge Ramirez-Martinez and Raymond Perez, screenwriters for the Selena: The Series, released on Netflix. They will discuss their careers and writing process, including how their identities as Mexican American and gay men have shaped their professional experiences.Virtual Event
Please join us in remembering those who have entered the next part of life by designing a nicho box in their memory. This workshop will provide the necessary items to create your nicho box, though please remember to bring a photo or small object that can fit in a 3.5 x5x1 inch box (small jewelry box).John Peace Library GroupSpot B, Main Campus
Come celebrate the end of Hispanic Heritage Month with La Comunidad at The University of Texas at San Antonio. We will have food, games and dancing!H-E-B Student Union Ballroom 1 & 2, 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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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.