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:
Come celebrate the doctoral students graduating this commencement season.H-E-B Student Union Ballrooms, UTSA Main Campus
Celebrate the accomplishments of the graduates of the College for Health, Community and Policy, College of Liberal and Fine Arts and College of Sciences.Alamodome, 100 Montana St, San Antonio, TX 78203
Celebrate the accomplishments of the graduates of the Carlos Alvarez College of Business, College of Education and Human Development, Margie and Bill Klesse College of Engineering and Integrated Design and University College.Alamodome, 100 Montana St, San Antonio, TX 78203
First Friday Stargazing gives anyone free access to the night sky using university telescopes and teaching equipment. Weather permitting, experienced astronomers will provide a handful of telescopes of varying designs, give training on how each operates, and point to various astronomical objects that may appear in the sky for that given time of the year. If you have a telescope and do not know how to operate it, feel free to bring it and get instructions on its use.4th Floor of Flawn Science Building, Main Campus
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