AUGUST 12, 2022 — UTSA begins the academic year with nearly 100 new full-time faculty joining its ranks. Marking another year of outstanding new hires, the tenured, tenure-track and full-time fixed-term-track faculty bring their talents from a host of prestigious institutions from around the nation and world.
Notably, within this cohort, over 75% of the tenured and tenure-track faculty received their terminal degrees from Carnegie R1 research institutions and nearly half from AAU member institutions. A few of these premier institutions include Johns Hopkins University, New York University, Penn State University, University at Buffalo-SUNY, University of California-Los Angeles and University of Florida.
Five of this year’s new tenured and tenure-track faculty hail from international universities, including Fudan University in China, HEC Paris School of Business and Iniversite de Technologie de Troyes in France, the University of British Columbia and the University of Western Ontario in Canada.
Nearly 100 tenured, tenure-track and full-time fixed-term-track faculty joined the UTSA community this academic year.
“We are pleased to welcome such a large cohort of new accomplished educators to our UTSA community,” said Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs Kimberly Andrews Espy. “The expertise of these new faculty members, who are at the forefront of their fields, will support our students’ success through cutting edge curricula and unique learning experiences both in and out of the classroom.”
When asked why they chose UTSA, several faculty members said they were impressed by the university’s recent Tier One designation and shared excitement about working with its diverse student body.
A native of San Antonio and first-generation college student, microbiologist Diqui LaPenta decided to leave a longtime teaching position at California’s College of the Redwoods for the opportunity to join the UTSA Department of Integrative Biology as an assistant professor of instruction. With over 25 years of teaching experience, she is passionate about UTSA’s dual commitment to student success and research excellence.
“At UTSA, I can be a mentor and role model for first-generation college students who need help navigating what it means to be a college student,” LaPenta said. “I have watched UTSA grow from a few buildings to an R1-designated institution. I am also hopeful that UTSA will progress from a Hispanic Serving Institution to a Hispanic Thriving Institution, and it would be an honor to be an active part of that process.”
Several incoming faculty members were hired as a result of the programs that comprise Academic Affairs’ Strategic Faculty Hiring Initiative. These programs support additional hiring of diverse full-time, tenured and tenure-track faculty who will advance inclusive excellence at UTSA by enhancing student success, research and academic distinction.
Four faculty were hired into tenure/tenure-track (T/TT) positions under the initiative’s Accelerating Faculty Diversity Hiring Program (FDP), which provides colleges with support to hire diverse faculty who will advance inclusive excellence at UTSA. Another four faculty were hired as part of the Dual Career Academic Partners Hiring Program, which provides colleges support to address the needs of dual career academic couples by helping partners of tenure-stream faculty find academic appointments at the university.
Assistant professor Cody A. Gonzalez was recruited through the FDP to UTSA’s Department of Mechanical Engineering from Pennsylvania State University. In 2020, he was selected for the Alfred P. Sloan Minority Ph.D. Program, which supports efforts to diversify the doctoral degree-holding workforce and help change the demographics of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) faculty.
“UTSA's commitment to diversity was a strong factor in my decision to attend UTSA,” said Gonzalez. “I've been committed to diversity my entire academic career. As an Alfred P. Sloan Scholar, I've been recognized for my dedication to improving diversity and I intend to continue that work at UTSA, furthering the university goals of becoming a Hispanic Thriving Institute.”
Additionally, two postdoctoral fellows were hired under the Provost’s Diversity Postdoctoral Fellows to Faculty Hiring Program (PDPFF), a program designed to promote and nurture the work of outstanding, diverse, early-career postdoctoral scholars and prepare them for faculty positions at UTSA or elsewhere, particularly in fields where there are fewer women or members of underrepresented minority groups.
Eduardo Gandara is one of the postdoctoral fellows who will be participating in the PDPFF program within the UTSA Department of Public Health. Specializing in community-based health intervention programs, Gandara joins UTSA from UT Health San Antonio’s South Texas Area Health Education Center, where he was working with Community Health Workers and on COVID-19 related initiatives.
“I decided to come to UTSA to advance the fight on health disparities impacting Latinos and African Americans in San Antonio, South Texas and beyond,” he said. “In addition, I am passionate about training the next generation of public health professionals, especially students who may come from underserved backgrounds and who are first-generation Roadrunners.”
This year’s cohort also includes new faculty who joined the Department of Art & Art History as part of the integration with the Southwest School of Art in July.
Additionally, Alonzo M. Flowers III was hired as the new chair of the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies—the department from which he earned a master’s degree in 2007. He earned a Ph.D. in Educational Administration from Texas A&M University and most recently served as associate dean of Drexel University’s Graduate College, where he was also a faculty member in the School of Education. Flowers has a strong record of scholarship in educational leadership and diversity in STEM education.
The group participated in the New Faculty Academy: Bold Beginnings program from August 1 to 10, an intensive development opportunity designed to effectively launch faculty at the university.
The program started with an orientation to UTSA and continued with daily sessions in which the faculty learned from some of UTSA’s most innovative faculty, participated in discussions about trends in teaching and learning and the university’s knowledge enterprise, and took part in hands-on activities to help them build a toolkit of best practices for teaching and conducting research at UTSA.
With UTSA welcoming this new cohort, UTSA now has nearly 1,400 faculty members across eight colleges.
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The San Antonio Military Health and Universities Research Forum (SURF) attracts presenters from around the nation to showcase the work of students, trainees, faculty and staff. The mission of the SURF conference is to “advance research collaborations among academic, military, and industry partners to improve health outcomes and readiness.”TBD
The NHERI Summer Institute is a free event for early-career faculty, NHERI Graduate Student Council, K-12 educators from the San Antonio area, engineers, and researchers to learn more about the Natural Hazards Engineering Research Infrastructure (NHERI) community.La Villita Room (DBB 1.116,) Durango Building, Main Campus
Connect with peer mentors and fellow first-gen and transfer students, and learn how you can join UTSA's First-Gen programs for the Fall 2023 semester.Mentoring Hub (MS 2.02.02,) Multidisciplinary Studies Building, Main Campus
Building the Dual Language Leader Symposium will provide a safe space for current and aspiring leaders to learn best practices, theories, policies, and systems that support a dual language bilingual education.UTSA Southwest Campus, 300 Augusta St.
Streaming of Spray the Word that will conclude with a discussion with San Antonio's Poet Laureate, Andrea "Vocab" Sanderson.Aula Canaria (BVB 1.328,) Buena Vista Street Building, Downtown Campus
Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month at our very own street fair - Calle UTSA. We will have activities, performances, food, music, and pinatas to break open! All free to UTSA students, faculty, and staff.Student Union Paseo, Main Campus
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