DECEMBER 16, 2022 — Marcela Ramirez, UTSA associate vice provost of Teaching, Learning & Digital Transformation (TLDT), has been awarded the Bruce N. Chaloux Scholarship for Early Career Excellence from the Online Learning Consortium, a Boston-based collaborative of higher education leaders promoting advancements in digital education.
The award recognizes educators like Ramirez who are in the early stages of their careers and have made significant contributions in online instruction. It is the latest accolade for the UTSA Department of Academic Innovation, which is furthering its reputation for sparking new classroom and curricula practices and design, pioneering educational technologies and expanding faculty development programs.
“The Academic Innovation team works closely with our partners on campus to maximize the power of a college degree and to transform the UTSA academic experience,” said Academic Innovation Vice Provost Melissa Vito. “Currently, we’re ensuring that the cutting-edge classroom technology in the new School of Data Science is ready for students at San Pedro I when it opens in January.”
The TLDT is also preparing to open its new hub, the Academic Innovation Center (AIC). Located in the Multidisciplinary Studies building on the UTSA Main Campus, the center will offer students and faculty the opportunity to experiment with new academic technologies and pioneer teaching strategies.
In the AIC, students and faculty will learn how virtual reality technology can aid classroom instruction, Adobe tools can be leveraged to build career-ready skills, and engagement strategies can result in deeper learning.
Academic innovation has been recognized for a variety of initiatives over the last several years. UTSA was highlighted in the 2022 EDUCAUSE Horizon Report for its approach to refurbishing and revamping dozens of classrooms. The project, a collaboration between academic innovation and UTSA Facilities and Business Affairs, developed four new classroom models that each featured distinctive configurations that advance hyflex learning environments, improve accessibility and expand access to digital and physical spaces.
TLDT’s Digital Accessibility team supported and enhanced digital accessibility by integrating Ally into UTSA’s learning management system. The Ally tool scans course materials and provides feedback to faculty about how to enhance their materials to be accessible to all students. Since its integration, Ally has helped expand digital accessibility for an estimated 14,391 students.
With students returning to campus after the pandemic, academic innovation documented a change in classroom behavior and the continued blurring of modalities. These changes prompted TLDT to implement several new programs to help faculty engage with students who had been isolated during emergency remote instruction, strengthen bonds between faculty and students, and help students garner career-ready skills.
The Teaching and Learning Reimagined grant supported faculty efforts to reimagine their courses across modalities—from face-to-face to hybrid to fully online teaching. Working with UTSA Student Success, the TLDT created the First-Year Student Experience and Faculty Engagement mini-grant to provide faculty with resources to engage students and connect them with their peers in nonclassroom settings.
Since 2019, when UTSA became an Adobe Creative Campus, TLDT has worked with faculty to integrate the tools into curricula to increase student engagement and digital literacy. However, the power of these tools goes beyond graphic design or video editing. According to a first-of-its-kind study by Civitas Learning, faculty’s strategic integration of Adobe tools into coursework created the broadest and deepest evidence of impact on student outcomes, including higher GPAs and stronger persistence from semester to semester.
“Academic innovation’s success is only possible because of the deep relationships we’ve formed with students and our outstanding faculty,” said Ramirez. “I’m confident that other institutions will increasingly look to us as an example of a thriving, innovative public university that prepares today’s students and tomorrow’s leaders.”
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Join the UTSA community in celebrating the life of Dr. Thelma Duffey.Aula Canaria (BV 1.328), Buena Vista Building, Downtown Campus
The proposed annual BME Research Symposium will allow students to present their undergraduate research free of charge, providing them with the opportunity to network and build their professional skills.H-E-B Student Union Ballroom 1 & 2, Main Campus
The UTSA Marches Committee, in partnership with the Cesar E. Chavez Legacy and Education Foundation, invites everyone to the 27th annual Cesar E. Chavez March for Justice. This event is in conjunction with the "Yes We CAN" food donation drive with the San Antonio Food Bank. Guests are encouraged to bring canned food items with them to the march to deposit cans into barrels before the march begins.1310 Guadalupe St, San Antonio, TX 78207
Join us to learn about how Impostor Syndrome can affect your career decisions and how you view yourself, your knowledge, and abilities. You will leave with actionable items related to implementing coping strategies for symptoms that may arise in your career development (mentally, physically, emotionally).University Career Center (S.U. 2.02.04,) Main Campus
Join UTSA librarians for this introductory workshop for early career faculty on how to build your online scholarly identity.John Peace Library, GroupSpot B
Join the conversation with Karleen Pendleton Jimenez, a professor in the Department of Gender and Social Justice at Trent University.Virtual Event
Learn to use the dynamic tool VMOCK to assist you in your job/internship search. Evaluate your resume. Get feedback on your "elevator pitch" and on how you engage in verbal communication virtually and in-person.Multidisciplinary Studies (MS 2.02.36,) Main Campus
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