Applications open for COPP most outstanding undergraduate and graduate student


Most Outstanding Student Award

Graduate and Undergraduate

College of Public Policy


The College of Public Policy is now accepting applications for the Most Outstanding Graduate Student and the Most Outstanding Undergraduate Student in the College. This recognition is part of the 42nd Annual University Life Awards, sponsored by the UTSA Student Government Association.

The purpose of the award is to recognize students who have built a record of scholarship, leadership, and service to UTSA, the college, and/or the community. We are especially looking for students who demonstrate a commitment to the College Mission (reprinted below).

Download application form here

In order to apply, please submit the application form, along with the following:

  • A statement (no longer than three pages double-spaced) by the student, supporting their qualification for this award.
  • A letter of support for the nomination from a faculty member in the College. This letter should briefly explain why the professor believes the student to be worthy of the award.
  • Student’s resume, including full contact information, major and grade level.


Applications may be submitted electronically to the office of the Associate Dean in the College of Public Policy at, or paper copies may be delivered to the College of Public Policy office at DB 4.110.

One winner and up to two finalists will be selected for each category; all will be recognized at a reception on Thursday, April 5, 2018, in the HEB Student Union Ballroom (HSU 1.104). The winner will be awarded a trophy, and the finalists will receive Certificates of Recognition. Previous winners are ineligible.

Please contact the College of Public Policy at 210-458-2530 if you have additional questions.

College of Public Policy Mission:

The college of Public Policy is dedicated to the advancement of salient public policy and practice through research, rigorous educational programs, service, and collaborative partnerships that contribute to the public good within a diverse society.

Criminal Justice Professor’s research on teacher victimization featured in Education Week


Criminal Justice Professor Byongook Moon has received two grants over the last couple of years from the National Institute of Justice to research teacher victimization. When teachers are the victims or physical assault, the effects can be devastating.

by Madeline Will
Feb. 6, 2018 

When Michelle Andrews leaned over to talk to a disruptive 6th grader in her class, she says the student struck her in the face, causing Andrews’ neck to snap backwards.

The 2015 incident was scary, and it also caused permanent nerve damage, said Andrews, who had been teaching for six years before the attack. The student was suspended for a week for disrespect toward a teacher—not for assault—and then returned to Andrews’ classroom in Bridgeton, N.J.

When Andrews asked her principal to permanently remove the student from her classroom, she says the principal told her to “put on her big girl panties and deal with it.” Instead, Andrews decided to press charges against the student—a move that she alleges led to her termination from the Bridgeton school district. Andrews sued the school board, claiming she had not been adequately protected after being injured, among other allegations.

She ended up settling for $197,500, but the incident left her shaken and depressed.

“I didn’t know if I even wanted to go back into teaching after all that,” she said. “I felt like I couldn’t trust the system, I couldn’t trust my administrators. I was afraid if something like this happened again, how I would react—fight or flight.”

Click here to read the full story in Education Week.

Dean Rogelio Sáenz featured on UTSA Today about the future of DACA


College of Public Policy Dean and Mark G. Yudof Professor Rogelio Sáenz talks about the future of DACA and his research on immigration and other social policy issues in Q&A.

(Feb. 16, 2018) -- Rogelio Saenz is the dean of the College of Public Policy at The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) and holds the Mark G. Yudof Endowed Chair. In 2015, he authored the book, “Latinos in the United States: Diversity and Change.” He has also authored numerous publications with emphasis on Latinos, demography, race and ethnic relations, immigration and inequality.

Saenz is co-editor of The International Handbook of the Demography of Race and Ethnicity (Springer Press) and regularly writes op-ed essays on current demographic, social, race, economic and political issues. His contributions appear in such newspapers as the Austin American-Statesman, Baltimore Sun, Dallas Morning News, El Paso Times, Houston Chronicle, New York Times, Rio Grande Guardian and San Antonio Express-News. He writes a monthly column for Ahora Sí, the Spanish-language newspaper of the Austin American-Statesman. He is also a Policy Fellow of the Carsey School of Public Policy at the University of New Hampshire.

We sat down with Dean Saenz to ask him for his perspective about the impact of DACA on public policy.

We know that you’ve been watching the status of DACA for many years now. What has surprised you the most about what you’ve seen?

The major surprise was the rapid decision that President Trump had without much of a plan for bringing forth legislation to protect DACA holders and provide them a path to citizenship, especially in a deeply divided and contentious Congress. Something that is also somewhat surprising is the large division that exists between how the general public views DACA (fairly supportive) and how Congress views the program (much divisions and great divisions not only across party lines but within the Republic party across ideological lines). DACA holders—and Dreamers, more broadly—have wide support from varied groups, including what some political pundits call the three Bs (badges, bibles and business). This broad support unfortunately is absent in Congress.

If our elected officials came to speak to you about DACA, what is the most important thing you think they would need to know, drawing on your experience as a demographer?

This is one of those policies that is a no-brainer when it comes to basic logic. Here you have young men and women who have lived in the United States for most of their lives and who went to our schools. Many are enrolled in our universities or engaged in productive pursuits due to their DACA status. DACA provided them a chance to study, to better themselves and to earn decent wages, thus giving them an opportunity to gain stability and upward socioeconomic mobility.

By taking DACA away from them, we are taking away these benefits that they had which allowed them to contribute significantly to our society. Now we are pushing them back into the shadows which will make it virtually impossible to use their skills and human capital effectively. From a cost-benefit perspective, we have made investments in educating DACA holders and stand to not gain benefits from this investment if we do not come up with a policy to protect DACA holders. In the end, we, as a country, stand to lose if we do not enact legislation to protect DACA holders and provide them a path to citizenship.

What other topics are capturing your interest right now? Is there something going on in your field that the news media isn’t reporting?

There is so much going on that is captivating my interest. As I have done for numerous policy issues including Obamacare, gentrification, political representation and immigration, I have brought in data to try to contribute to the political dialogue. The general public is often kept in the dark about public policies without the realization of how given policies impact them. In my writings for the general public, I use data—much of it census data as well as survey data—to help bring attention to public policies and to help people make sense of the debate.

Things that I am keeping an eye on are the children and parents who are coming to South Texas from Central America in search of protection from violence, the fate of the people who have recently lost their Temporary Protected Status (TPS) and the outcome of the upcoming state and national elections given the major political discord in the country.

What makes UTSA unique?

UTSA is a major, thriving Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI) with a very diverse student body including many first-generation students. This is a very special place in which we are opening doors of opportunity to transform the lives of our students and their families. UTSA is a place where we can really and truly make very favorable changes in people’s lives.

The strong linkage between UTSA and the city of San Antonio is also very special and unique—it is clear that the future of our wonderful university and our beautiful city depend on each other succeeding. As we become a Research Tier-1 institution in the very near future, we have a chance to serve as a model university that is truly engaged with its community in a demographic setting that represents the future of this country.

You lead the UTSA College of Public Policy. Twenty years from now, how would you like the college to be viewed by prospective students? By researchers across the country? By elected officials?

I would like for the College of Public Policy (COPP) to gain national and local prominence. On a national scale, I would like to see COPP become one of the leading public policy institutions in the country that carries out first-rate research to inform public policy—the place where the nation’s leading experts on public policy are housed. On a local scale, I would like to see COPP become the major venue and stimulus for engaging students, researchers and the general public in the creation and analysis of key public policies to help improve social and economic conditions in San Antonio, Texas and the state.

What do you do in your spare time?

In my spare time, I read, listen to music and do crossword puzzles.

- Ingrid Wright

Alumni News: Feb. 13 declared Dieter Cantu Day!


The Bexar County Commissioners Court officially declared Feb. 13 as Dieter Cantu Day in the City of San Antonio. Dieter, an alumnus of the College, graduated with his degree in Public Administration. He has impacted incarcerated youths in Texas through his nonprofit organization Position of Power. 

Through his grassroots efforts such as Respect Women Campaign to speak out against domestic violence and Books to Incarcerated Youth Project, Dieter is impacting the lives of many young people and minorities in the state of Texas. He is an advocate of juvenile justice reform and has been recognized for his group's charitable endeavors and his motivational talks in communities across the state. He has partnered with organizations, schools, businesses and other groups to collect books for youth in detention centers to provide access to education and inspire them to engage in higher learning. 

Dieter will give his first TEDx Talk on March 23 entitled "The Child Who Believed He Could."  Learn how you can join a project dedicated to improving the lives of incarcerated youth. In Dieter's TEDxACU talk, he will discuss the difficulties facing teens in juvenile facilities. Cantu hopes to reduce the level of recidivism through his Books to Incarcerated Youth Project. Visit the following webpage for tickets:

Civic Engagement class wins 1st place in annual community impact poster competition


The Minor in Civic Engagement Class Civic Leadership Seminar, taught by Lecturer Gina Amatangelo in the Department of Public Administration, wins People's Choice Award in the annual poster competition during the 3rd Annual Civic Engagement Summit held on Feb. 8, 2018.

Each year, the Civic Engagement Summit allows UTSA to showcase Roadrunner community impact. Posters on display feature a program/project/research initiative that highlights significant community impact. Students of the Civic Engagement Minor course, Rose Tingley, Brenda Vega, and Maverick Crawford submitted a poster for their new mentoring program entitled "Civic Leadership Academy." During the fall semester, the Public Administration department introduced an opportunity to be a part of the Civic Leadership Academy through a seminar course, which is a capstone for UTSA’s new minor in Civic Engagement. The class provides students with an opportunity to visit the downtown campus and develop relationships with undergraduate students. The Civic Leadership class invited students from Lanier High School to take part in observing an actual college class, developing a sense of civic identity, participating in a scavenger hunt, and touring the campus. Their project helps prospective students in our community develop an affinity toward higher education and foster an interest in civic engagement through activities related to volunteerism and democratic participation.

UTSA Celebrates Black History Month


Throughout the month of February, UTSA will honor African-American heritage and the civil rights leaders who paved the way for racial equality.

-- Courtney Clevenger

(Feb. 2, 2018) -- As a multicultural discovery enterprise, The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) regularly engages in conversations that promote diversity and inclusion. Throughout the month of February, UTSA will honor African-American heritage and the civil rights leaders who paved the way for racial equality.

The university community is invited to join several UTSA student organizations, colleges and departments at events recognizing people, places and events that have made an impact in black history. These events are sponsored by the 2018 Black Heritage Month Student Planning Committee at UTSA, the UTSA Student Center for Community Engagement and Inclusion, the UTSA African American Studies Program and Student Union Programs and many student organizations. They include:

Nana Dijo Film Screening
Friday, Feb. 2 at 10 a.m. and 12 p.m.
McKinney Humanities Building (MH 3.04.06), UTSA Main Campus

Nana Dijo: Irresolute Radiography of Black Consciousness is a film screening and discussion with multidisciplinary artist Bocafloja.

The Defamation Experience
Monday, Feb 19, 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Student Union Retama Auditorium (SU 2.02.02), UTSA Main Campus

Join this interactive play that is a courtroom drama and the audience is the jury. Discussion and will follow.

Pizza and Research: From Slavery to the Sidelines: A Socio-Historical Analysis of Black Athletes
Tuesday, Feb. 20, 12 p.m.
John Peace Library Assembly Room (JPL 4.04.22), Main Campus

Langston Clark, UTSA assistant professor in the Department of Kinesiology, Health, and Nutrition will discuss exploring the historical context for the role of black athletes in contemporary social movements.

Panel Discussion: African American Fraternities and Sororities
Tuesday, Feb. 20, 5 p.m. to 6 p.m.
Student Union, Mesquite Room (SU 2.01.24), UTSA Main Campus

The UTSA African American Studies program invites speakers from the leading African American Fraternities and Sororities for a panel discussion of the history of each organization and to enlighten the audience about the community service, academic purpose, professionalism and ethical roots of each group.

11th Annual African American Studies Symposium
Thursday, Feb. 22, 11:30 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Student Union, Denman Room (SU 2.01.28), UTSA Main Campus

The theme of this year’s symposium is Black & Brown Futures. The free event will give UTSA students and the community the opportunity to meet and hear national scholars talk about current research and academic trends relevant to the lives of African Americans in the United States.

Black Heritage Banquet
Monday, Feb 26, 6 p.m.
H-E-B Student Union Ballroom (HSU 1.104/1/106), UTSA Main Campus

Students are invited to a semi-formal, dinner banquet with an awards presentation and dancing. Keynote speaker will be San Antonio City Councilman William Cruz Shaw. Tickets must be purchased by Feb 19 at Roadrunner Express. UTSA students are $15 and guests are $20.

Black Professionals Panel
Wednesday, Feb 28, 7 p.m.
Student Union Denman Room (SU 2.01.28), UTSA Main Campus

This panel discussion includes professionals from various careers and fields talking about maintaining a black identity in professional spaces.

Other events that celebrate Black History Month include The Will To Adorn, an exhibit on African American dress and the aesthetics of identity at the UTSA Institute of Texan Cultures (ITC) now through March 11. The Chisholm Kid, a traveling exhibit that showcases the trailblazing black comic book character and legacy of the Chisholm Trail, will be on display at the ITC through April 1.

The UTSA Libraries invites students, faculty and staff members, alumni and visitors to browse through its extensive African American databases, Research Guides and Archival Collections. The community can also view the library's digitized San Antonio Black History Month Collection. Learn more at UTSA Libraries.

- Courtney Clevenger

Master of Social Work student reflects on her experience at the MLK March


Brianna Denson, a student of the Master of Social Work program, says this time around, she felt more than just another member in the crowd at the Martin Luther King, Jr. March held on Jan. 15, 2018.

Being born and raised in San Antonio, it was sort of an obligation to attend the march each year. This year marks the 3rd time I have participated in the march, and each time that I have participated, it seems as if the crowd has grown exponentially. What was different this time around since I have attended, was that I marched with the university amongst peers who a lot of them were experiencing the march for the first time. Although quiet in chants and clamor, there was an abound amount of curiosity and anxiety about what we were actually doing.

Having just returned from the Civil Rights and Social Justice Trip where we stood in the very church where Martin Luther King gave his last speech, to ground zero where young children and college students just like us protested through the streets of Alabama, and to the very balcony itself at the Loraine Motel where MLK was assassinated, it all felt so surreal. This time marching, I felt as if I was marching in the right direction towards becoming the change that I have vowed since the trip to be a part of creating, than just another member in the crowd.

Another thing that I was glad to see was the diversity of those who were marching, and the causes we were marching for. Not only were there black people marching for the freedom and recognition of black lives, but we marched along Mexican Americans hopeful for freedom and equality for Mexican American lives, LGBTQ representation, Women representation, Native American Representation, and so on and so forth. Although we all marched side by side with privileges that our elders and ancestors marched for to obtain, I, myself have recognized this privilege, and realize that I’m still not comfortable in the world until my privilege becomes a reality for every oppressed group still fighting in the world. This is why I march, and will continue to take action and be a voice of change in my community.

--Brianna Denson

Nery Eduardo Chavez, a junior who is majoring in Global Affairs at UTSA, says the MLK march was an empowering experience for him. Chavez, the new student organizer for Texas Rising, finds it imperative to continue to fight for social justice.

Attending the MLK March was an empowering experience. Coming together with the San Antonio community to keep the memory of the Civil Rights era alive was very powerful.

Having just returned from the UTSA Student Leadership Center’s Civil Rights and Social Justice Trip, images of Diane Nash, Dolores Huerta, Martin Luther King Jr., and many others raced through my head as we [San Antonio] marched to capture their fearlessness and resilience.

As the new Student Organizer for Texas Rising at UTSA, I am bringing “The Unapologetically Brown Series” to campus to do just that, capture the fearlessness of those young leaders. “The Unapologetically Brown Series” is a creative house and street art series that intends to empower people of color communities by placing colorful illustrations with important messages in visible spaces. Just as those who lived in an era that instilled repression, they unapologetically demanded their rights and fought for justice. I find it imperative to continue their fight. 

--Nery Chavez

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor to give talk at UTSA


Sonia Sotomayor, Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court of the United States and first justice of Hispanic heritage, will engage with UTSA students about her personal journey to earning a seat on the nation's highest court.

UTSA Today

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor to visit UTSA

Justice Sonia Sotomayor will give a talk at UTSA on Thursday, Jan. 25.

(Jan. 22, 2018) -- Sonia Sotomayor, Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States and the first Latina to sit on the high bench, will give a talk at UTSA on Thursday, Jan. 25 from 10 to 11 a.m. in the UTSA Student Union Retama Auditorium (UC 2.02.02) on the UTSA Main Campus.

During her appearance, Justice Sotomayor will engage with UTSA students to answer questions regarding her personal journey – rising through the ranks of the judiciary system to the nation’s highest court.

“We are incredibly honored to host Justice Sotomayor on our campus,” said UTSA President Taylor Eighmy. “One of my strategic goals is to bring the world’s greatest minds to UTSA for the benefit of our entire community. As a first-generation college student herself, her appearance is an exceptional opportunity for our students to learn from someone who is helping shape the future arc of our country from her seat on the highest court in the land."

Justice Sotomayor was born in Bronx, New York to Puerto Rican-born parents. Her father died when she was nine years old and her mother, Celina, worked hard to raise her children as a single parent, always stressing the value of education.

A first-generation college student, Justice Sotomayor earned her B.A. in 1976 from Princeton University and her J.D. from Yale Law School in 1979 where she served as an editor of the Yale Law Journal.

From 1979 to 1984, Justice Sotomayor was an assistant district attorney in the New York County District Attorney's Office. She then moved to the private sector, where she litigated international commercial matters at Pavia & Harcourt. She rose to become a partner in the firm.

In 1991, President George H.W. Bush nominated Justice Sotomayor to the U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, and she served in that role from 1992 to 1998. She went on to serve as a judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit from 1998 to 2009.

In May 2009, President Barack Obama nominated her as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, and she assumed the role on August 8, 2009.

"Many of our students here at UTSA are the first in their families to attend college, just like Justice Sotomayor,” said Lisa Buentello, director of the UTSA Institute for Law and Public Affairs. “Her visit provides a chance for students to hear from someone who came from modest socioeconomic circumstances and has reached the very top of her profession through hard work and determination."

Justice Sotomayor is the Supreme Court’s third female justice and the first justice of Hispanic heritage. She is the author of My Beloved World, a memoir about her childhood, education and early professional life.

Attending Justice Sotomayor’s talk: What you need to know

Justice Sotomayor’s visit is open to all UTSA students, faculty and staff. Seats in the Retama Auditorium are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Doors will open at 9:00 a.m.

Bags and signs will not be allowed in the auditorium. Lockers are available for rent in the Roadrunner Express (on the Paseo) for individuals who need to stow their personal belongings.

All attendees are asked to refrain from taking photos during the event, or recording Justice Sotomayor’s talk.

Overflow viewing for Justice Sotomayor’s talk will be available in the Student Union Denman Room (UC 2.02.28).

- Anne Peters

Read President Eigymy’s reflections on Justice Sotomayor’s visit.

Learn more about Justice Sotomayor's visit.

Connect with UTSA online at Facebook, Twitter, Vimeo, Instagram and LinkedIn.

Submit nominations for the most dedicated faculty and staff at UTSA


(Jan. 10, 2018) -- It's time to nominate your outstanding staff and faculty colleagues for recognition at the University Excellence Awards ceremony. Nominations will be accepted through Feb. 16 (with the exception of the Diversity Award; see details below).

"In the short time I've been at UTSA, I have met so many dedicated faculty and staff making tremendous contributions to this institution," said UTSA President Taylor Eighmy. "I'm a strong proponent of cultivating and recognizing the excellence of our people, as they are at the heart of our efforts to achieve greatness as a university."

Nominations will be accepted for the following awards:

  • Rising Star Award (staff nominations accepted; $1000 prize)
    The Rising Star Award recognizes a new employee who has made significant contributions to his or her area or to the university community.
  • Leadership Award (staff nominations accepted; $1000 prize)
    The Leadership Award recognizes a supervisor who promotes UTSA mission and goals through actions and job performance.
  • Team Spirit Award (staff nominations accepted; $1000 prize)
    The Team Spirit Award recognizes a group of staff employees who have demonstrated exceptional ability to foster collaboration, communication and cooperation among colleagues internal and/or external to their department.
  • Extra Mile Award (staff nominations accepted; $1000 prize)
    The Extra Mile Award recognizes an individual who has performed at a level beyond normal job requirements, which has furthered the department’s and UTSA’s goals and mission.
  • Order of the Roadrunner Award (staff nominations accepted; $1000 prize)
    The Order of the Roadrunner Award is the highest honor that a UTSA staff member can receive for his or her dedication to the UTSA community.
  • Richard S. Howe Excellence in Service to Undergraduate Students Award (faculty and staff nominations accepted; $2000 prize)
    The Richard S. Howe Excellence in Service to Undergraduate Students Award recognizes a faculty or staff member who has shown exemplary commitment towards UTSA undergraduates.
  • President’s Distinguished Diversity Award (faculty, staff and student nominations accepted; $500 and $1000 prize)
    The President's Distinguished Diversity Award bestows the highest level of recognition to an individual or group that encourages the entire UTSA community to think and practice diversity and inclusion in more creative and collaborative ways. NOTE: Nomination deadline is Jan. 30.

Award recipients will be recognized at the annual University Excellence Awards Ceremony on April 19, 2018 and be presented with a monetary prize and a trophy.

The ceremony will honor recipients of the University Excellence Awards and the President's Distinguished Achievement Awards for faculty members. Additionally, UTSA employees who have reached milestones in their length of service with the university and the UT System as well as retirees from the previous calendar year will be recognized.

Supervisors are asked to provide a printed copy of the nomination forms to employees who do not have access to a UTSA personal computer.

- KC Gonzalez

Learn more about each of the University Excellence Awards or submit a nomination.

Click here to see the story on UTSA Today.

UTSA celebrates the life and legacy of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.


by Courtney Clevenger
UTSA Today

(Jan. 9, 2018) -- Roadrunner nation is coming together this month to commemorate Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy through various campus and community events. The highlight will be when Roadrunners walk together at the city’s 31st annual Martin Luther King, Jr. March.

The 2.75-mile march is scheduled at 10 a.m. on Monday, Jan. 15 and begins at Martin Luther King Jr. Academy, 3501 Martin Luther King Dr.

>> See the MLK, Jr. March route details.

A Baptist minister, King led the civil rights movement in the United States in the 1950s and 1960s, encouraging nonviolent activism to inspire and effect peace and racial equality.

“The MLK Jr. March mirrors the UTSA Roadrunner Creed to participate in and contribute to the larger community through active engagement,” said Karla Broadus, UTSA senior lecturer and director of the UTSA African American Studies program. “We at UTSA are to respect the differences in others and explore our dreams, as Dr. King encouraged.”

As San Antonio’s urban serving university, groups of UTSA faculty, staff and students participate annually in San Antonio's MLK Jr. March. Raven Douglas, UTSA Honors College senior majoring in political science from the Houston area, is proud and excited to march with her UTSA family this year.

“I consider the university's involvement a reflection of UTSA's commitment to inclusiveness, diversity and the overall betterment of our university, community, country and world,” Douglas said. “Regardless of background, ethnicity, religion or creed, Dr. King's message of peace and unity has positively impacted the larger global community. Each of us are responsible for continuing his work in some way, and I encourage all Roadrunners to get involved.”

New this year, the UTSA TRiO programs have been invited to join the UTSA delegation at the march. TRiO promotes cradle to career education by aiding high school and college students from disadvantaged backgrounds, including low-income students, first-generation college students and individuals with disabilities. This year, TRiO students will march with UTSA, including President Taylor Eighmy and his wife, Peggy. Additionally, more than 50 UTSA students who just returned from the sixth annual Civil Rights and Social Justice Experience, a five-day bus ride across the southern United States to see historical landmarks, will join the march as the final experience of their trip.

UTSA's participation in this year's MLK Jr. March was organized by the UTSA Staff Council in partnership with the university's African American Studies Program, Office of the President, Office of the Provost/Vice President for Academic Affairs, Center for Civic Engagement, the UTSA Police Dept., the Office of Information Technology, Student Government Association, Student Leadership Center and Campus Services and the Institute for P-20 Initiatives. Additionally, Broadus served on the City's MLK Jr. Scholarship Commission.

Celebrate Dr. King’s legacy

Martin Luther King, Jr. MarchMonday, Jan. 15, 10 a.m.
3501 MLK Dr., San Antonio

UTSA will offer free shuttle rides to those who register. Buses will leave Main Campus at 9 a.m. from Brackenridge Ave. Lot 1 in front of the Convocation Center and the Downtown Campus at 9:30 a.m. from the Durango Lot.

Singing for a New World: Raising Voices in the AmericasMonday, Jan 15, 11 a.m.

For the 2nd straight year, John Nix, UTSA music professor, is calling on all of America to sing “Amazing Grace” together at 11 a.m. on Martin Luther King Day. Singing for a New World: Raising Voices in the Americas is a grassroots effort that’s grown nationwide in an effort to honor Dr. King’s legacy and to spread a sense of community in the Americas. Nix encourages people to share their videos on social media, using the hashtag #AmericaSingsTogetherMLKDay2018.

Civil Rights and Social Justice Experience ReflectionTuesday, Jan. 16, 5:30 p.m.
University Center, Denman Room (UC 2.01.28), Main Campus

Students who went on the Civil Rights and Social Justice Experience will share what they learned on the trip.

UTSA MLK, Jr. Scholarship

UTSA will offer a UTSA MLK Jr. Scholarship to a graduating high school senior who lists UTSA as their school of preference on the scholarship application offered by the City of San Antonio. The deadline for submitting an application is Feb. 23, 2018. This $2,000 scholarship is supported by the African American Studies Program housed in the College of Education and Human Development and the UTSA Office of the Provost.

MLK Scholarship WorkshopSaturday, Jan. 20, 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
Frio Street Building (FS 3.403), Downtown Campus

UTSA is hosting this workshop to assist students that need additional mentoring on how to complete the application process.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Lecture SeriesWednesday, Jan. 24, 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
University Center, Retama Auditorium (UC 2.02.02), UTSA Main Campus

The UTSA African American Studies Program presents Dr. Ricky Jones, professor and chair of the Department of Pan-African studies at the University of Louisville. He will share his expertise on the impact of African American history on today’s society.

Institute of Texan Cultures Programming

Buffalo Soldier DaySunday, Jan. 14, 12 p.m. to 4 p.m.
UTSA Institute of Texan Cultures, Hemisfair Campus

An official Dream Week event, Buffalo Soldier Day celebrates the African American soldiers who scouted and settled the Texas frontier. Hands-on opportunities include packing a ruck-sack for a frontier patrol, map reading, animal tracking and more.

The Will to Adorn
Now through Sunday, March 11
UTSA Institute of Texan Cultures, Hemisfair Campus

An official Dream Week exhibit, The Will to Adorn is a student-curated exhibit documenting the personal fashion, style and adornment of San Antonio’s African American community, through interviews, artifacts, video and other media. The Will to Adorn: African American Dress and the Aesthetics of Identity," is administered by the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage.

The Chisholm Kid
Now through Sunday, April 1
UTSA Institute of Texan Cultures, Hemisfair Campus

An official Dream Week exhibit, The Chisholm Kid appeared from 1950 to 1954 in the Pittsburgh Courier, a storied black newspaper. In its pages, this Golden Age hero was portrayed as a positive black character equal to contemporaries including Buck Rogers, Dick Tracy, Flash Gordon and Hopalong Cassidy. Additional content from the UTSA Institute of Texan Cultures and Texas Historical Commission commemorates 150 years since some 5,000 to 9,000 Black cowboys began driving cattle along the Chisholm Trail.

- Courtney Clevenger

Learn more about San Antonio's MLK Jr. March.

Learn more about UTSA's participation in the march by calling the UTSA Student Leadership Center at 210-458-7967.

Share your UTSA march photos using the hashtags #UTSA, #UTSAEngaged and #UTSAMarches.

Connect with UTSA online at Facebook, Twitter, Vimeo, Instagram and LinkedIn.

COPP undergraduate students receive research awards


Two College of Public Policy students are among recipients of the Spring 2018 Office of Undergraduate Research (OUR) Scholarship Awards.

The Office of Undergraduate Research received a record number of applications and only funded 15 scholarships. Students receive $1,000 upon completion of their project and must perform research with a faculty mentor. 

Congratulations to the following public policy students who received the awards.

  • Ayesha Meghani - Public Administration
    Faculty Mentor: Dr. Patricia Jaramillo, Lecturer III
  • Amanda Mosley - Public Administration
    Faculty Mentor: Dr. Patricia Jaramillo

The Office of Research Support establishes a foundation of assistance for research-engaged faculty and students, while facilitating collaboration across all disciplines. 

Associate Professor/Demographer is co-editor of internationally-recognized social sciences journal


Associate Professor in the Department of Demography Corey Sparks assumes editorial role with Lynne Cossman of West Virginia University of the internationally-recognized social sciences journal Population Research and Policy Review.

As one of the top 20 journals in the field of population studies,Population Research and Policy Review includes articles that inform policy and program development with demographic, economic, social, political, and health research papers and related contributions based on direct scientific evaluation. The journal publishes top quality material of interest to professionals working in the fields of population and is the flagship journal of the Southern Demography Association (SDA). It is published six times a year.

Sparks was awarded the editorship after a competitive review process. After responding to a request for proposals to the SDA board, he received approval to have the editorial position at UTSA. As a co-editor-in-chief, Sparks will manage the content of the journal and oversee the peer-review process for all manuscripts.

"Demographic research often has implications for both national and local level policy discussions," said Sparks.

"Articles that combine recent population research with policy implications are the focus of this journal," he added.

With Sparks working as co-editor, Demography students get a chance to see how the review process takes place and how research gets published. Most students never get to see the internal parts of the publication process. Sparks will have a Graduate Research Assistant (GRA) who will serve as an editorial assistant for the journal.

"An added benefit of working with a GRA is that it allows students to get exposed to the research and to see what people are working on in the field," noted Sparks.

“Dr. Sparks’ effort in securing the co-editorship is in direct alignment with UTSA President Taylor Eighmy’s strategic themes of UTSA becoming a great multicultural discovery enterprise that is world engaged and provides exceptional student experiences,” said Rob Tillyer, associate professor and associate dean of graduate studies and research. “Dr. Sparks’ work will bring valuable recognition to the UTSA community regarding the excellent work undertaken by its faculty and students.” 

UTSA Policy Studies Center launches project to help District 5 residents with property title issues


by Brenda Peña

The University of Texas at San Antonio Policy Studies Center will launch a new initiative entitled Project RHEP (Roadrunners Helping with Estate Planning),which will provide District 5 residents with real property title issues and estate planning in an effort to prevent and/or resolve homeownership issues.

The UTSA Policy Studies Center, in collaboration with District 5 Councilwoman Shirley Gonzalez, Mexican American Unity Council (MAUC), National Association for Latino Community Asset Builders (NALCAB) and LiftFund, will be launching a District 5 Housing Pilot in conjunction with Project RHEP. This pilot will focus on housing investment within the District 5 community, as well as address the needs of San Antonio’s low and moderate income residents.

Latinos are more likely to be denied credit at higher rates and are less likely than other households to receive down payment assistance from family members due to a lack of intergenerational wealth transfers. Today there is a projected 26 percent gap between Latino homeownership and non-Latino homeownership rates. According to Roger Enriquez, Associate Professor of Criminal Justice and Director of the Policy Studies Center, “Councilwoman Gonzalez is tackling housing issues with a laser focus and we want to help remove some of the barriers to homeownership in her district.”

With this in mind, Project RHEP will pair UTSA students with a licensed attorney to receive simple estate planning information, such as information regarding Wills or so-called Deeds on Death. Participating students will become certified Notary Public in the state of Texas and will receive one-on-one training to help prepare simple estate planning documents. Project RHEP will also assist in identifying resources for residents who may have complex concerns, such as title clearing and rehab loans. UTSA will also provide a resource guide to help residents avoid the common pitfalls that create clouds on marketable title to real property.

The goal of Project RHEP is to initiate a housing revitalization strategy that addresses the needs of prospective and existing residents. This District 5 Housing Project is an effort to encourage equitable investment in housing and planning that allows long-time District 5 residents to stay put, while also attracting new residents to benefit from the revitalization of the housing project.

The UTSA Policy Studies Center a resource to any person or entity that shares the goal of enhancing the quality of life of historically underserved populations. 

More information about the UTSA Policy Studies Center can be found at their webpage

Contact Information: Roger Enriquez, (210) 458-2691 or

UTSA’s first evening childcare program opens its doors


Master of Social Work student Daniela Salinas along with advocates and members of the UTSA organization called Students Raising Children, led the initiative to start an affordable evening child care program for students taking evening classes at UTSA's Downtown Campus. On January 5, 2018, the program opened its doors with 13 kids enrolled. Students Raising Children partnered with La Trinidad United Methodist Church to provide the childcare services.

Click here to read the full story in the San Antonio Express-News.

Pictured in the above photo is Exzentrius Sturdivant with his daughter. Exzentrius is a Master of Public Administration alum and master's student in the Urban and Regional Planning program offered at UTSA's downtown campus.

Photos by Edward A. Ornelas/San Antonio Express-News

UTSA graduates a family of social workers


(Dec. 15, 2017) – When the more than 2,500 University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) graduates cross the stage this weekend at Commencement, the occasion will be a family affair for William and Amber Peters.

The husband and wife, who met in 2016 and fell in love while taking classes together at UTSA, are both earning their degrees from the UTSA Master of Social Work (MSW) program. They are following in their family’s footsteps. Amber’s mother Victoria Hudson ’11 and her twin sister Crystal Johnson-Bryant ’13 also received their master’s in social work from UTSA.

Amber didn’t plan to go back to school after earning her bachelor’s in communications. While working as a college advisor, she had a change of heart. William got his bachelor’s degree in social psychology and wanted to help people more.

“I had a light bulb moment, and I knew social work was my calling,” said Amber.

Victoria was a strong influence on her daughter’s decision to pursue her master’s in social work.

“I shared with her stories about my and Crystal’s journey while studying in the UTSA Master of Social Work program,” said Victoria.

Amber and William say they feel honored and blessed to be able to continue their family’s legacy. Amber adds that having a strong support system is extremely fulfilling.

“The networking possibilities have increased,” said Amber. “With Crystal’s help, I secured an internship that inspired me to provide services for pediatric cancer patients and their families.”

To this family, social work is more than just a job.

“We all have a passion for serving,” Hudson said. “I used to bring my children around my area of work, and they would help me at the homeless shelters for veterans, so they grew up developing a sense of empathy and humility when helping those less fortunate.”

Amber, William, Victoria, and Crystal knew the MSW program within the UTSA College of Public Policy would prepare them with the skills to be culturally competent practitioners. They realize that together they can maximize the impact of their work with vulnerable and diverse populations.

“My cultural competence teacher Jésus Ortega, LMSW prepared me to be equipped to work with diverse populations,” said Amber.                                                                             

Ortega, an adjunct professor who went through UTSA’s MSW program at the same time as Victoria, talked to his students about the multidimensional perspective the program offers.                                                                                                                      

“My professor talked about gender groups, racial groups, people with different economic backgrounds, and individuals with disabilities and how we would be working with clients from various experiences and circumstances,” Amber said.

“My course incorporates ethnographic perspectives in working with clients/client systems,” Ortega said. “It is important that students engage in critical self-reflection, incorporating an integrated understanding of one’s own personal and cultural values and beliefs and attention to social and economic justice, critical inquiry, and professional competence, and formulate a plan to engage in life-long learning toward cultural proficiency.”

Victoria is currently the director of social services at Morningside Ministries in San Antonio. Crystal is an organ transplant social worker at University Hospital’s Adult Transplant Center. William recently finished his advanced internship at Communities in Schools (CIS) San Antonio at Montgomery Elementary School. He plans to become a school social worker.

After graduation, Amber plans to work as a social worker at University Hospital’s Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Department. She thinks it would be wonderful and unique experience if she could work alongside her husband, twin sister and her mother in a clinical setting as licensed clinical social workers where they each focus on providing a well-rounded array of services to help families, groups and organizations and to advocate for the human rights of vulnerable populations.

“I admired the family’s work and commitment for social work’s values of social justice, service and competency,” said Ortega.

- Michelle Skidmore

In second picture to the right:  From left to right: Crystal Johnson-Bryant (twin sister) and Victoria Hudson (mother)

Seven UTSA colleges receive grants to empower student success


by Nicole Duff, Office of Information Technology

Seven colleges at The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) have received a boost to help students succeed. The UTSA Office of Information Technology (OIT) awarded approximately $150,000 in grants to the colleges through its Academic Support Solutions Fund. The awards, which range from $5,000 to $15,000, will help subsidize the costs of initiatives to empower student success at the Main and Downtown Campuses.

The OIT Academic Support Solutions Fund is maintained by the Automated Services and Student Access charge and is designed to provide UTSA colleges with financial assistance for projects aimed at improving student life at the university. This mandatory student fee helps ensure the upkeep of the technology infrastructure and electronic resources.

Last summer, OIT extended a call for proposals (CFPs) by way of its Faculty Advisory Committee. The committee members distributed the CFPs throughout their respective colleges to provide interested faculty and staff an opportunity to receive support for student-centered projects that aligned with at least one of the themes outlined in the UTSA strategic plan.

“This is our second year utilizing a call for proposals process,” said Vanessa Hammler Kenon, assistant vice provost for Information Technology. “We are always happy to assist in whatever way possible to ensure UTSA students succeed.”

OIT received more than 20 proposals from several departments, nearly doubling the number of proposals submitted last year and reflecting OIT’s effort to increase faculty collaboration. Out of the proposals submitted, 15 were selected to receive funding, based on a unanimous decision of the Faculty Advisory sub-committee.

“I continue to be amazed at the knowledge base of our UTSA students,” said Kenon. “The insight they bring to the process when they sit down with OIT staff to review the proposals is remarkable.”

In addition to providing students with cutting-edge technology, the awarded projects will further equip them with the technological, critical thinking skills and experiential learning needed to succeed.

Some of the awarded projects will enable UTSA students to gain experience in mobile app creation and familiarize them with innovative technology such as smartboards and drawing tablets, which are widely utilized at peer institutions and in today's workforce.

“I think it is a great idea to make these funds available for small student-focused projects which support UTSA’s vision,” said Dan Smolenski, UTSA computer science computing manager. “The OIT Academic Support Solutions Fund is a good way for the faculty and staff that work closely with students and know their needs to get projects funded, which directly supports the students. This in-turn helps to increase our retention and graduation rates.”

The seven colleges and their awarded projects include:

College of Architecture, Construction, and Planning

  • “Building Performance Measurement and Multi-Layer Mixed-Reality Visualization Equipment”

College of Business

  • “Return on Student Investment”

College of Education and Human Development

  • “Mobile Apps: Acquiring the Skills and Dispositions for 21st Century Learning and Teaching”

College of Engineering

  • “Development of Technological Corrosion and Materials Test Site for Student Advancement”
  • “Advancing Computing Resources for Deep Learning Education and Research in Brain Computer Interface”

College of Liberal and Fine Arts

  • “Psychology Doctoral Computing Resources Refresh”
  • “UTSA Goes UN: Empowering Our Students to Become Global Citizen”
  • “Upgrading Technology in the Graduate Anthropology Lab: Part 2”
  • “Developing a Digital Studio by Increasing the Availability of Interactive Technology (Smart Boards, Drawing Tablets, Software) to Prioritize Student Marketability)”
  • “Expansive Possibilities: Exploring the Digital Humanities through The Black Speculative Arts Digital Archive”

College of Public Policy

  • “Upgrading Computing Infrastructure for Public Policy Excellence”

College of Sciences

  • “Testbed for Unix and Network Security Research and Education”
  • “Enhancing the Academic Experience for Environmental Science Majors at UT San Antonio through The Upgrading of the GIS, Environmental Statistics, and Environmental Assessment Computer Classroom”
  • “System Support for Education and Research in Big-Data Application with Non-CPU Devices”
  • “Security Course Virtualization”

View the original story on UTSA Today:

Photo courtesy of University Communications

Demography alumni’s research on Hurricane Maria’s mortality estimates receives national coverage


Two UTSA alumni Dr. Alexis Santos-Lozada, a Pennsylvania University professor and Dr. Jeffrey Howard independent researcher from the Applied Demography program published a study on mortality estimates related to Puerto Rico's death toll from Hurricane Maria. The Hurricane devastated Puerto Rico, but the government there reported a death toll lower than what the Santos' and Howard's study suggests. It estimates that the death toll could be 10 times higher than the government's official count.

Their work received national coverage from CNN and the New York Times. 

Click here to read the article from the New York Times.

Public Administration student Clinton Dean featured in UTSA’s Commencement Spotlight


Public Administration student Clinton Dean will be celebrating academic and professional achievements when he graduates in December.

Clinton Dean is the second College of Public Policy student to be featured in UTSA's MEET A ROADRUNNER Commencement Edition this year.

Check out his story here:

Demography student Jewel Barnett, ‘14 featured in UTSA’s Commencement Spotlight


UTSA's Meet a Roadrunner Commencement Edition featured Demography student Jewel Barnett and five other students graduating in December. Jewel hopes to impact policy with her research on food insecurity.

Click below to see her video as she shares her story about her journey at UTSA from recovering from addiction to attaining a doctoral degree.  Jewel is a first-generation student whose research focuses on food insecurity and health as it relates to childhood obesity outcomes.

Click here for the full story on the UTSA Commencement webpage.

Click here for more information about the Applied Demography degree program. 

COPP welcomes delegation of undergraduate students from Japan


Last month, Dr. Hironori Ito, dean of the graduate school of social and cultural science at Kumamoto University in Japan, brought a delegation of undergraduate students to visit UTSA to explore graduate opportunities. Students met with faculty and administrators in the College to learn more about public policy programs.  Japanese visiting students also had a chance to sit in a public administration class to listen to student presentations for the course Non-Profit Organizations taught by Lecturer Steven Sano, MPA. Sano invited special guest Ms. Kim Arispe, Financial Capacity Programs Manager from Family Services Association to assess the students' nonprofit projects.  After the class was over, the Kumamoto group engaged in a meet-and-greet with Sano's public administration students, who were eager to share their experiences at UTSA.  Everyone had a great time while partaking in some snacks and Mexican pastries. Afterwards, they visited with student leaders at the UTSA 1604 campus to have a discussion on social issues on campus and community engagement. The delegation of Japanese students are political science majors who have an interest in public policy and demography.

Class projects showcase civic and community engagement


End of the semester projects address local issues affecting the community such as climate change, income disparity, domestic violence and Texas gerrymandering.

On Nov. 28, Dr. Francine Romero's Foundations for Civic Engagement class presented "Climate Change on Trial, the Case for a San Antonio Heat Island Policy."  Students introduced two policies: cool roofing and the expansion of San Antonio's current tree ordinances. Mr. Douglas Melnick, City of San Antonio's Chief Sustainability Officer, served as the witness for the prosecution, and Ms. Cara Tackett, Senior Vice President of Pape-Dawson Engineers, Inc. served as the witness for the defense in the mock trial.  The class also invited members of the community to act as jurors to weigh the risks and benefits and decide which policy should take effect.  Their project was the featured in Gilbert Garcia's column for the San Antonio-Express News.

Click here to read the full story by Gilbert Garcia.

From Nov. 28 -29, three Master of Social Work classes presented forums and panel discussions to engage the community on pressing issues.  On Nov. 28, The Communities and Practice class presented a forum called "Unmasked: Beyond the Chair" to educate beauty professionals on how to spot signs of domestic abuse when dealing with their clients. The forum calls for not just stylists, but the community to become aware of resources to help victims of abuse.  This project received extensive coverage on KENS-5 and Spectrum News.

Click here to see the video on KENS-5.
Click here to see the video on Spectrum News.

On Nov. 28, Adjunct Professor Rev. Peter Bauer, LCSW and his Master of Social Work Advanced Policy & Advocacy class presented a panel called "It's Not on MY Map." Panelists who participated were Richard Montez, former candidate for San Antonio City Council, District 5 and Director of Members Services for the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities; Patti Radle, former San Antonio Councilwoman; Rep. Diego Bernal, Texas State Representative for District 123; Queta Rodriguez, veterans service officer for Bexar County, and Matthew Martinez, Ph.D., research analyst at Rice University and graduate of the UTSA Applied Demography program. Over 150 people attended the event hosted by the YWCA on San Antonio's westside. This project outlined the equity impacts in San Antonio's most vulnerable zip codes. Panelists explored solutions for improving equal opportunity in housing, economic mobility, education, and other areas for greater success for all residents.  Attendees asked questions and shared their own concerns on what is happening in their communities. 

Click here to see the webcast streamed by NowCast SA
Click here to read more information on the class project "It's Not on MY Map."
Click here to see the San Antonio Population Characteristics by Zip Code.
Click here to view press coverage from the Huffington Post on this topic.

On Nov. 29, Rev. Peter Bauer, LCSW adjunct professor and his Advanced Social Work Policy Class held a panel discussion on Texas gerrymandering and voter suppression called "Take Your Vote Back." Panelists included Texas State Representative Diego Bernal; Executive Director of MOVE San Antonio & UTSA Public Administration Alumnus Drew Galloway; Interim Lead Organizer of COPS/Metro Walker Moore; St. Mary's University Political Science Professor Dr. Arturo Vega; and St. Mary's University School of Law Professor Albert Kauffmann. Panelists addressed the passing of the voting rights act and how it affected minorities in Texas, what can be done to increase voter participation, redistricting, and implementing policies to include more underserved populations in voting in Texas such as the homeless and those living in poverty. 

Click here to see the full video on YouTube.

UTSA Policy Studies Center hosts annual NALCAB Training for Latino Leaders


Article and photos by Brenda Peña, MPA

What makes a good leader? From bringing people together to building key relationships, leadership comes with a wide-range of qualities. However, in the Latino community, leadership is so much more than overcoming obstacles; it’s about one’s heart, passion and motivation.

This past November, the National Association for Latino Community Asset Builders (NALCAB) visited the University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) downtown campus for their annual Colegio Community Economic Development Fellowship Training. NALCAB is a nonprofit organization who represents and serves geographically diverse nonprofit organizations that are providing community development to help build our nation’s Latino communities. The UTSA Policy Studies Center is proud to showcase these opportunities that help give voice to Latino leadership.

Leaders from around the U.S. are chosen to participate in the Fellowship in efforts of providing a platform for their organization and to learn the importance of their leadership within the Latino community. Each member has an opportunity to speak about their experiences within their organization, as well as obtain new knowledge of how they can continue to make a difference. NALCAB gives members the opportunity to learn from other Latino leaders in order to help enhance their expertise and gain professional insight.

“Leaders bring people together,” says Roger Enriquez, Associate Professor and Director at UTSA’s Policy Studies Center. “They have the ability to influence people to achieve their goals. We value these qualities here at UTSA and are proud to continue the drive for Latino leadership.”

UTSA public administration professor, Dr. Kandyce Fernandez, shared valuable insight with her presentation, “Panarchy Ecosystems for Change,” which challenged members to think vividly about their communities and the obstacles they face. This discussion unraveled a unique conversation about macro and micro issues that the Latino community experiences, highlighting the importance of Latino leadership, education and impactful strategic plans in order to help communities thrive. Dr. Fernandez’s presentation also helped highlight the definite need for advocacy work to help influence the enhancement of these changes so that Latino communities can prosper.

Thrive Advisory, LLC CEO, Lupita Gonzalez, presented “Leadership in Nonprofit Organizations.” This presentation opened the conversation about leadership adaptation, self-awareness, and in some cases, the lack of Latino leadership within communities.

Latino leadership is necessary for community development. Although obstacles are inevitable, overcoming them with culturally sensitive leadership is what makes a positive impact on the Latino community. It is important that as we continue to come together to value the education and advocacy necessary to help all future Latino leaders to succeed.

To learn more about NALCAB and the Colegio Fellowship Training, please visit their website at

The UTSA Policy Studies Center helps provide insightful and educational opportunities to students and professionals. To learn more about upcoming events click here.


First picture: Thrive CEO, Lupita Gonzalez, discusses nonprofit leadership with NALCAB members.
Second picture:  Dr. Kandyce Fernandez (center) poses with Director of Training and Development, Carol Rodriguez (right), and Program Coordinator, Natalia Chaves (left), of NALCAB
Third picture: NALCAB member, Rodolfo Rodriguez, presents his Latino community initiatives.

Veterans resources available for students


The Center for School, College & Career Resources helps the military community by providing valuable college and career resources such as military education benefits and guidebooks on transitioning to civilian careers.

Below are some guide books from trusted publishers on financial aid, the GI Bill, tuition top-up and civilian careers.

GI Bill College Benefits Transfer

Higher Education Resources for Vets and Their Families

Veteran's Guide to Online College Success

Financial Aid for Veterans & Dependents

MBA Veteran Programs

Veteran's Guide to Criminal Justice

Vocational School Guide for Veterans

The UTSA Veterans Website is also a great source for prospective and enrolled student veterans and their families. 

Dean Rogelio Sáenz op-ed “Latinos and the Matter of Arms” published in Ahora Sí newspaper


Dean Rogelio Sáenz contributes monthly op-eds for the Spanish-language newspaper of the Austin American-Statesman. His latest is titled "Latinos and the Matter of Arms."

His op-ed talks about the recent brutality that occurred in Sutherland Springs and how Latinos feel about the possession of weapons.  

Recent surveys repeatedly find a low percentage of Latinos who have a gun in the home. The most recent survey in 2016, the General Social Survey conducted by the National Opinion Research Center, found that 16% of Latinos reported having a gun at home, compared to 42% of Anglo-Saxons and 18% of African-Americans.  Read more.

Civic Engagement class project featured in the Express-News


Students of the Foundations for Civic Engagement (PAD 2073) presented the case for a San Antonio heat island policy on Tuesday, Nov. 28, 2017 in the form of a mock trial. PAD 2073 is an undergraduate course taught by Associate Dean and Associate Professor Francine Romero and is offered under the College's Bachelor of Public Administration program.  Gilbert Garcia, columnist for the San Antonio Express-News, wrote a recap of the activities. Click here to read his column titled "UTSA class puts climate change on trial."

Call for Posters Submission open for 3rd Annual Civic Engagement Summit


Students, faculty, and staff have an opportunity to showcase their community and/or research projects.

UTSA’s Center for Civic Engagement 3rd Annual Summit will be held on February 8, 2018. We’re excited that this year’s theme is “Exploring the Civic Identity of San Antonio."  A huge feature of the summit is the showcase all of the Roadrunner community impact during our poster session.

We are looking for a program/project/research initiative that highlights a significant community impact.

We will host our official poster session and ice cream social at 1:30 PM at the HEB UC Ballroom 2, where posters will be judged by participants and designated judges for amazing prizes!

Submit your information and photos using the link below, we will take care of the poster layout for uniformity of the posters presented.

Deadline to submit is December 15. 2017.

Click here to submit poster proposal

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact the Center for Civic Engagement. They are available by email at and by phone at 210-458-2277.

Assistant Professor Heidi Rueda is a co-author of Disability, Intimacy, and Sexual Health


The book offers a comprehensive research and interviews with social workers to explore how sexuality intersects with disability.

From left to right: Julie Gutin, managing editor of NASW Press; Heidi Rueda, UTSA Social Work assistant professor; Cheryl Y. Bradley, NASW Press publisher

National Association of Social Workers (NASW) Member and Assistant professor of social work Heidi Rueda and her coauthors, Kristen Faye Linton and Lela Rankin Williams, have taken a deeper look into the micro, meso, and macro systems that affect the lives and relationships of people with disabilities. In their book, the authors examine the complex intersection of disability and intimate relationships attending to individuals with disability form ages birth to older adulthood. The disabilities can be psychiatric, intellectual, learning, neurological, or physical in nature. Society tends to view sexual behaviors among people with disabilities as problematic or that those with disabilities have no sexual feelings or desires, and this book helps social workers meet the needs of this diverse population and influences policymakers, academia, and practitioners to advocate for healthy sexual relationships of people with disabilities.

"As I was working on the book project, I was diagnosed with the disability of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome," said Rueda. "This has really impacted my life as I work daily on my recovery and opened my heart to individuals with all types of disabilities."

Disability, Intimacy, and Sexual Health: A Social Work Perspective (2017) was published by the NASW Press, a leading scholarly social work publisher.

For more information on the book, please visit  the NASW press webpage:

Enrollment for childcare program at UTSA Downtown Campus takes place Nov. 29 - 30


The UTSA Students Raising Children organization is conducting open enrollment for children ages 1 to 12 years old.

Open enrollment will occur in front of Starbucks in the Frio St. Commons Bldg. on Nov. 29 from 4 p.m. - 7:30 p.m. and on Nov. 30 from 4 p.m. - 6 p.m.  If you are a student parent needing childcare, please bring your ID and schedule for spring 2018 semester.  Students Raising Children (SRC) partnered with La Trinidad Methodist Church to provide affordable and quality child care from 3:30 p.m. until 9:30 p.m. for UTSA students taking evening classes. For more information, please contact Daniela Salinas at or call her at (210) 379-3596. 

View video of presentations from 2nd Binational Conference


Click on event page for photos and video of presentations from 2nd Binational Conference, Nov. 15-16.

Master of Social Work students are training hair stylists to recognize signs of domestic abuse


A group of Master of Social Work students in the Advanced Communities Class taught by Lecturer Elizabeth Cruz, are empowering hair stylists to help victims of domestic violence.

Their class project is entitled Unmasked: Beyond the Chair. Their project is aimed to help and prepare beauty professionals identify victims of domestic abuse and provide them with community resources and support. 

"I am very proud of the students in the Advanced Communities Class," said Cruz, who presented the idea of the community project to her students.  

"After I presented the idea, the students just ran with it," said Cruz.  "The goal is to empower beauty professionals to provide individuals who experience domestic violence an additional layer of support," she further explained.   "We are mobilizing students to making a real impact in the community."

The class will host a community forum for beauticians and the public next month, on Tuesday, Nov. 28 from 6:30 p.m. - 8:30 p.m. at New Life Ministries of San Antonio to educate beauty professionals on signs of domestic violence and to raise awareness about domestic abuse. The community will have a chance to learn valuable resources and ways to provide support to victims of domestic violence. 

The students are currently raising funds to present a training program for local beauticians that will teach them the necessary skills and tools to help clients who may be victims of domestic abuse.  "We believe this curriculum can be a very powerful tool because of the relationship between beauticians and their clients," said Devon Bailey, master of social work student in the advanced communities course.  

"This curriculum would help victims of domestic violence by allowing them to share intimate conversations, often uncomfortable, and connect them to resources so they know they aren't alone," explained Bailey.  

"For a person experiencing intimate partner violence, just knowing they have another ally in their corner could make a huge difference."

If you would like to help the UTSA Social Work Community Practice class diminish the cycle of domestic violence, visit to donate toward their initiative.

Click here to read the full story on Spectrum News.

Click here to see the video on KENS-5.

Watch Kill It to Save It: An Autopsy of Capitalism’s Triumph over Democracy


In case you missed the special lecture on Oct. 19, you can view the recording online.  Click below to watch.

Applications open for prestigious leadership development programs


The Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute (CHCI) and the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU) are seeking applications for their congressional as well as federal and corporate paid internship programs.

CHCI develops the next generation of Latino leaders and is one of the nation's most prestigious programs for Latino youth. CHCI provides programs to explore public policy and leadership in Washington, D.C.  These vital opportunities empower Latinos for professional achievement and open doors for careers in public policy.

CHCI has three deadlines for the 2018 programs.

Type of ProgramWho is eligible?Focus AreaLocation Deadline & Dates
Congressional Internship ProgramUndergraduate studentsAll majorsWashington, D.C.Summer Deadline: December 1, 2017 (June 2018 - August 2018)
Fall Deadline:  March 9, 2018 (August 2018 - December 2018)
Public Policy Fellowship Program (paid nine-month fellowship)recent college graduates who earned their bachelor's degree within two years of the program start dateAll majorsWashington, D.C.Deadline:  January 29, 2018 
(August 2018 - May 2019)

Graduate Fellowship Program (paid nine-month fellowship)

Master's degree recipientsEducation, Housing, Health, Law, STEMWashington, D.C.Deadline: January 29, 2018
(August 2018 - May 2019)

The HACU National Internship Program (HNIP) has been a premier student program for over 25 years, promoting diversity int eh federal and corporate workplace.  HNIP is seeking applicants for the spring and summer 2018 internship sessions.  HNIP provides students the opportunity to receive valuable work experience through paid internships with federal agencies and private corporations nationwide.  Applications should be submitted online.  To apply visit

UTSA to host Downtown Campus 20th Anniversary Celebration


by KC Gonzalez, UTSA Downtown Campus       

The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) is preparing to host an event that commemorates the history and impact of its Downtown Campus and offers a glimpse toward its future. The program on Monday, Nov. 13 will feature panel presentations with notable guests and a keynote address by Julián Castro, former mayor of San Antonio and secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The event will culminate in an evening celebration. All components of the event are free and open to the public.

Twenty years ago this fall, UTSA opened the doors of its Downtown Campus. The establishment of a campus in the heart of the city signified the university's commitment to the community, bringing access to high quality college education and career advancement opportunities to diverse populations in the downtown area. In addition to honoring its past, the Downtown Campus anniversary program will explore future opportunities for UTSA to serve as a model urban-serving university and contributor to San Antonio’s cultural and economic ecosystem.

More details will be shared soon.

UTSA Downtown Campus 20th Anniversary Celebration

Monday, November 13, 2017
3 p.m. Keynote & Panels
6:30 p.m. Celebration

Photo courtesy of University Communications

View the original story on UTSA Today:

TribFest enhances civic awareness for COPP students


On Saturday, Sept. 23, The University of Texas at San Antonio Student Leadership Center (SLC) took 37 students to the 7th annual Texas Tribune Festival (TribFest), in Austin. This conference aligns with the SLC's priorities for student participants by providing them opportunity to hear from, and interact with, leaders on a range of pressing issues. Attendees had nearly 50 sessions from which to choose, hearing from politicians, experts and thought leaders on a variety of topics.  Read more about experiences from public administration students.  

Special Lecture: Dr. Corey Dolgon to give talk on capitalism and the U.S. political climate, Oct. 19


Dr. Corey Dolgon, professor of sociology will talk about his recently published book Kill It to Save It: An Autopsy of Capitalism's Triumph over Democracy, Oct. 19.  

COPP Lecture Series with Dr. Corey Dolgon

Thursday, Oct. 19, 2017
6 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.
UTSA Downtown Campus, Buena Vista St. Bldg., Aula Canaria (BV 1.328)

In his recently published book Kill It To Save It: An Autopsy of Capitalism's Triumph Over Democracy, Dolgon takes a look at the phenomenon that made Donald Trump the preferred choice for many voters and shows how policy is crafted, marketed and ultimately sold or rejected.

About the author

Dr. Corey Dolgon is a professor of sociology at Stonehill College in Easton, Massachusetts and the inaugural director of the Downtown Center for Civic Engagement. He is the author of three books, including the award-winning The End of the Hampton: Scenes from the Class Struggle in America's Paradise. His prior teaching appointments include Harvard University and Clark University.

Join the UTSA College of Public Policy for this free event at the UTSA Downtown Campus in the Aula Canaria Lecture Hall located in the Buena Vista St. Bldg. (BVB 1.328). Parking is available to you at no charge in Lot D-3 under the IH-35 bridge in unmarked spaces only.

The College of Public Policy lecture series features scholars and policy analysts on a variety of major issues affecting the community, the nation and the world.

Download flyer

Click here to learn more about the book.

For questions, please email Michelle Skidmore at or call (210) 458-3213.

Marcos Mendoza accepted into AmeriCorps Vista program


Marcos Mendoza, a graduate student in the Criminal Justice & Criminology program, was selected for the AmeriCorps VISTA economic development paid internship program through the Alamo Area Council of Governments (AACOG).

Marcos will help implement economic development strategies for low-income communities in Frio and Medina counties.

AACOG partners with the Economic Development Administration (EDA) and Corporation for National & Community Service (CNCS) to provide an economic development intern for the City of Pleasanton, in Atascosa County and other economically distressed communities.

"These are the opportunities that truly signify how obtaining an education through an outstanding university like UTSA does for individuals who inspire to be community leaders to serve others," Marcos exclaimed. 

"I am committed to give my very best in serving the communities I have been assigned to and will continue to represent UTSA with honor and pride."

Dr. Jennifer Alexander, an associate professor in the department of public administration and one of Mendoza's instructors, inspired Marcos to take on many challenges.  She says he will enrich the lives of others.

"As a first generation U.S. citizen, Marcos Mendoza brings a unique vantage point to this opportunity," said Alexander.  "His participation in a variety of public organizations has given him a sophisticated understanding of how they function. He has a solid grasp on his career goals and a quiet grace that will enlarge the lives of people who work with him."

This is the second year in a row that a COPP student will intern as part of AACOG's economic development AmeriCorps VISTA internship program.

Click here to read the full story on UTSA Today.

COPP wins Corporate DiversityFIRST Leadership Award


The College of Public Policy has been recognized as one of this year's Corporate DiversityFIRST Leadership winners for commitment to the pursuit of cultural diversity and inclusion in the community and workplace.

The College received the Leadership Award on Nov. 1, 2017 at the Greater San Antonio Best Practices & DiversityFIRST Awards Luncheon at the Omni San Antonio Hotel at the Colonnade, located at 9821 Colonnade Blvd., San Antonio, TX 78230.  The Texas Diversity Council acknowledge the College for its commitment to engaging a multicultural community, addressing disparities and inequities in minority populations, and educating students to advance the public good to improve the quality of lives within diverse local and global communities.

DiversityFIRST™ Award Overview:

The purpose of this award program is to recognize individuals, community groups, nonprofit organizations, and business establishments within the legal, academic, corporate, and/or health community that have demonstrated outstanding achievements and sustained commitment to the pursuit of cultural diversity and inclusion in the community and workplace.

Corporate DiversityFIRST Award winners are recognized for the following:

  •  Developing and implementing an effective equal opportunity or initiative as demonstrated by a diversified workforce in which all persons are afforded opportunities for employment and upward mobility, regardless of race, ethnic origin, gender, religion, age, sexual orientation, disability, or any other prohibited basis of discrimination.
  • Exhibiting visionary and insightful leadership to confront and resolve inequities through strategic decision-making, allocation of resources, and establishment of priorities.
  • Enhancing the quality of life of the community for the improvement of equal opportunity and for the provision of greater access to government and government services (as applicable) by multiracial and multicultural populations and increased citizen participation in government or community activities by all segments of the community.
  • Demonstrating a consistent pattern of an organizational commitment to the recruitment and retention of individuals of underrepresented populations.
  • Cultivating and promoting diversity initiatives that establish and foster a more inclusive and equitable work and learning environment.
  • Demonstrating continued corporate responsibility by devoting resources for the improvement of the community-at-large.

COPP, Social Work to host international conference, Nov. 15-16


The College of Public Policy, the Department of Social Work and the National Network of Higher Education Institutions in Social Work, have teamed up to host the 2nd Binational Conference, Mexico-United States on Nov. 15-16 at the UTSA Downtown Campus to address the transnational responsibility of social work in migratory processes with an emphasis on human rights.  Registration is free and event is open to the public.  


Visit the event page to learn more.

Download flyer

Public Administration student shares her thoughts on DACA in KLRN interview


Public Administration student Andrea Fernandez, who is also a Dreamer, recently sat down with journalist Rick Casey on KLRN's Texas Week to talk about the DACA issue.  Click on video below for the full interview.

Alumna Jessica Beemer, MPA shows exemplary leadership for Kingwood residents during Hurricane Harvey


Jessica Beemer, who graduated with her master's degree in public administration, provided immediate relief efforts to shelter residents of the Kingwood area in Houston during Hurricane Harvey.  Beemer, a 2011 Graduate Archer Center Fellow and Chief of Staff for Houston City Council Member Dave Martin, stepped up to the plate for the community of Kingwood after thousands lost their homes in the hurricane.  Council Member Martin credits her for her leadership in contacting Humble ISD to get Kingwood High School set up as a temporary shelter.  Beemer also volunteered during the clean up efforts and distributed food and supplies to those who were impacted by Harvey even while her own home and car were destroyed.  

"When I stepped off of the UTSA campus I made it my mission to change the perception of public servants," Beemer said. "I want to do good and restore people's faith in local government. I'm blessed to have the support of my amazing boss, a wonderful team, selfless first responders, and resilient community."

To see the full story, visit the Tribune Newspapers webpage.

UTSA alum Tiffanie Clauswitz, MPA ‘04 makes list of 2017 Outstanding Lawyers Awards winners


UTSA alumna Tiffanie Clauswitz, who graduated with her master's degree in public administration in 2004, is one of the San Antonio Business Journal's 2017 Outstanding Lawyers Awards recipients.  

The San Antonio Business Journal announced its 2017 class of Outstanding Lawyers Awards winners.  They were nominated by a panel of their peers, who are all former award winners themselves.

Clauswitz is a partner with the Rosenblatt Law Firm. 

Click here to see the full list of winners.

UTSA alum Daniel Mezza, MPA ‘96 moves on to new coffee venture


Daniel Mezza, who graduated with his master's in public administration in 1996, is taking a new trend to new heights with nitrogen infused coffee at his new business Puro Nitro Coffee. 

Daniel Mezza hopes he's spotted the next big thing in the world of coffee before anyone else has, and he's taking the idea to market with his new business, Puro Nitro Coffee.

The Hebbronville native began his career in the politics. He worked for various state and local representatives including positions as regional director for U.S Sen. John Cornyn and Rep. Will Hurd.  However, after over two decades in politics, Mezza was ready for a change.

"There was a point in time where I just got burned out. It’s just politics.  I felt like I had accomplished all I wanted to," said Mezza.

When he began to think of what he wanted to do next however, he found the answer was not so simple.

Read more in the San Antonio Business Journal.

Photo courtesy of Daniel Mezza
Pictured with nitro coffee in hand is Daniel Mezza (right) and his friend holding his nitrogen-infused hibiscus tea.

Criminal justice assistant professor receives $20,000 research award


Congratulations to Kellie Lynch, assistant professor in the department of criminal justice, who recently received $20,000 under the Vice-President for Research Office's Grants for Research Advancement and Transformation (GREAT) Program.

This award will support her project entitled "Threat Appraisal and Help Seeking in High-Risk Intimate Partner Violence Victims:  The Application of Protection Motivation Theory."

Social Work Associate Professor and Chair Amy Chanmugam and Criminal Justice Assistant Professor Dylan Jackson collaborated with Lynch on her project.

To see the full list of awardees of the Vice President for Research (VPR) Seed Funding, click here:

Alpha Phi Sigma holds Hurricane Harvey donation drive


The National Criminal Justice Honor Society Alpha Phi Sigma is collecting nonperishable items to help those impacted by Hurricane Harvey.

Here’s how you can help:

Donate nonperishable food items such as peanut butter, tuna, rice, water, cereal, etc., and hygiene products such as toilet paper, toothpaste, toothbrushes, shampoo, conditioner, and feminine products. 

Drop off the items in the Criminal Justice Department located inside the Durango Bldg. in room 4.112. Items will be placed in the copy room.

Deadline to donate is this Friday, Sept. 1 at noon.

For questions, please contact Alma Zuniga, Alpha Phi Sigma President at or Henry Meade at

Thank you for your participation.

COPP awards Peter Flawn Professorships to two faculty who attained significant research funding


Applied Demography Professor and Texas State Demographer Lloyd Potter and Criminal Justice Associate Professor Roger Enriquez, who is also director of the Policy Studies Center, received the Peter Flawn Professorships for a two-year period for attaining the highest amounts of new external funding during 2014-2016.   

One of the major indicators in UTSA's quest for Tier One status is the acquisition of external research funding.  The College supports these goals and is proud to recognize Professors Potter and Enriquez for their success in securing a significant amount of research funding for the University.

UTSA offers support in Harvey aftermath


UTSA offers information on how you can help UTSA students and other across the state impacted by Hurricane Harvey.

from UTSA President Taylor Eighmy, Ph.D.
Source: UTSA Today

(Aug. 28, 2017) -- Dear Fellow Roadrunners,

The devastation that Harvey brought to Texas this past weekend is of unparalleled dimension. It has tested, and will continue to challenge, the resolve of the Roadrunner community. Many families of our students, faculty and staff were directly impacted by this terrible storm and the severe flooding in South Central and Southeast Texas and the Houston region. Our thoughts and prayers are with all of those who will spend weeks, if not months, recovering from this tragedy.

During times like this, we need to come together as the Roadrunner Family to assist those whose lives have been disrupted and to provide support to those in need. UTSA stands ready to offer assistance. Here is some important information for those who are impacted, and for everyone who wants to help.  Read more.

Donate today for alum’s Books to Incarcerated Youth project


Dieter Cantu, who received his bachelor's degree in public administration, is helping troubled teens succeed by providing books to youth across Texas as a way to improve their literacy and reduce the rate of recidivism.  

The College of Public Policy has collaborated with the Terry Scholars Program to give toward the project.  You can help by donating books to the UTSA College of Public Policy, located at the Downtown Campus, 501 W. Cesar E. Chavez Blvd., Durango Bldg.  Room 4.110.  You can also drop books off in any of the collection bins placed on the 1604 campus.  

Two large barrels labeled Books to Incarcerated Youth Donation Box are located in the Commons area near Starbucks of the Frio St. Bldg.  One is located on the 4th floor of the Durango Bldg. across from the elevator at the Downtown Campus.  Other boxes will be placed throughout 1604 campus with signage.  To see the types of books Dieter needs, you can visit his website Books to Incarcerated Youth or read below.  Donations stations will remain in effect until the end of the fall semester.

For the full story on Cantu's project, watch the video on News 4 San Antonio. 

What type of books are we seeking?

Language Books
ESL-English as a Second Language
Trade Skills (Welding, Plumbing, HVAC, etc)
Test Prep Books -GED, SAT
Law Books
African American Studies
Latino Studies
Psychology and Self Help Books on social movements and autobiographies
Business. Books About Running or Starting a Business.
Dictionaries, Encyclopedias, Thesauruses
Instructional Art. Tattoo Art.
Career Choice Books
Academic Journals

Books we don't need

Hardback fiction
Romance novels
Books that contain nudity
Children's picture books
Magazines Books with written notes or highlighting
Out-of-date texts or reference books
Any books that are very old or in poor condition
Missing pages or cover Spiral or comb bound

UTSA Downtown students working to get child care (San Antonio Express-News)


UTSA Downtown campus students including social work students, who are members of Students Raising Children, partnered with La Trínidad United Methodist Church to provide child care for graduate students taking classes in the evening.   However, Students Raising Children are lining up funding and seeking to get an exemption to state licensing requirements.   Read more in the San Antonio Express-News.

Drs. R. Walter, M.Tillyer & Viglione featured in Express-News on housing policies for past offenders


Urban and Regional Planning Assistant Professor, Dr. Rebecca Walter and colleagues, Dr. Marie Skubak Tillyer (criminal justice associate professor), and Dr. Jill Viglione (former criminal justice assistant professor) published an article in Housing Policy Debate examining whether or not housing policies banning all prospective tenants with criminal records results in discrimination and violation of the Fair Housing Act.   These UTSA researchers say there is not much literature or research to show that a criminal record predicts what kind of tenant someone will be.   In the article, the researchers noted that housing is essential to reducing the risk of repeating criminal behavior.  Read more in the San Antonio Express-News.

Dean Rogelio Sáenz is recipient of the Joseph B. Gittler Award for social justice


Dean and Professor Dr. Rogelio Sáenz is the recipient of the 2017 Joseph B. Gittler Award for social justice from the Society for the Study of Social Problems (SSSP).

Sáenz received the award on Saturday, Aug. 12 at the annual SSSP conference, which was held in Montreal.

This award was established in 2007 through a bequest by Joseph B. Gittler in recognition of a SSSP member for significant scholarly achievements on the ethical resolution of social problems.

Congratulations to our Dean on this significant and national distinction.

Social work student Tessa Zapata awarded Ima Hogg Scholarship


Tessa Zapata, social work student, is one of the 2017 recipients of the Ima Hogg Scholarship.

The Ima Hogg Scholarship is a very competitive and prestigious scholarship awarded to graduate students of accredited social work programs in Texas for their academic achievement and commitment to providing mental health services after graduation.  Each year, the Ima Hogg Foundation for Mental Health awards 15 scholarships of $5,000 each for social work graduate students.

Please visit the weblink to see all 2017 scholarship recipients. 

Dean Sáenz featured in documentary “The UnAmerican Struggle”


Dean and Professor Dr. Rogelio Sáenz was a subject matter expert in the documentary film entitled "The UnAmerican Struggle: Diversity Under Attack in America." 

The film made its debut yesterday in San Antonio at the Tobin Center as part of the San Antonio Film Festival.  The documentary will show in San Antonio until Aug. 6, 2017. The film is about the resurgence of bigotry and hate and pays close attention to the struggles of immigrants, Latinos, African-Americans, transgendered individuals, and women in today's America.   Participants are experts and activists that represent key civil rights organizations including the Southern Poverty Law Center, the National Diversity Council, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and local groups, such as Black Lives Mater.  Individuals shared their personal stories and spoke on the dangers of remaining silent.

Watch the trailer 

Sáenz: Trailer tragedy arouses absurd logic


Dean & Professor Rogelio Sáenz wrote op-ed on the recent immigrant tragedy.   His commentary was featured in the Houston Chronicle.  

Tragedy struck early Sunday when dozens of immigrants were trapped in a semi-trailer truck parked in a Walmart parking lot in San Antonio.  The men, women, and children put on the rig in Laredo had been promised that their trip would include air conditioning.  Not only did they not have air conditioning, but no air to breathe or water to drink as well.  Read more.

Applications open for MOVE San Antonio fall 2017 internships


Interested students can now apply for fall 2017 internships with MOVE San Antonio.

MOVE San Antonio is a non-profit organization dedicated to engaging youth in politics.  Public Administration alum H. Drew Galloway serves as MOVE's executive director.  

Internships at MOVE are a mixture of voter registration, field work, activism, leadership & professional development, and FUN!

Applicants should be willing to commit to about 10 hours/week.

To apply, visit

For questions, please email Alyssa Pope at

To learn more about MOVE, visit

Public administration alum’s new program uses books to help incarcerated youth


Rivard Report:  Books can put incarcerated youth on a productive path 

Public administration alum Dieter Cantu founded the Books to Incarcerated Youth Project in June 2017 to make a variety of books readily available for youth at various Texas Juvenile Justice Department facilities.  Click here to read more from the Rivard Report.

Dieter Cantu, public administration alum, collects books for incarcerated youth

Brianna Diaz, minoring in Civic Engagement, enhances her service-learning skills in South Africa


Brianna Diaz, who is majoring in psychology with minors in math and civic engagement, returns from a six-week trip in Johannesburg, South Africa with a new perspective on the education system.  Brianna is a recipient of the U.S. Department of State's Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship.  As a Honors College student and UTSA Top Scholar, she immersed herself in the different cultures abroad and learned more about the history of South Africa and apartheid.  Click on the UTSA Today story to read more.

Roger Enriquez featured in WBUR radio interview on human smuggling incident


Director of the Policy Studies Center Roger Enriquez, J.D. was a guest panelist on the WBUR's radio show On Point. He participated in a conversation on the recent human smuggling activity ending in the tragic deaths of migrants inside of a tractor-trailer at a Wal-Mart in San Antonio and the impact this event has on border security and immigration policies.

Click here to listen to the full program featured on

The UTSA Policy Studies Center is housed under the College of Public Policy.  It is an interdisciplinary center that focuses on service, policy issues, and applied research in the areas of demography criminal justice, public administration and social work.  The Center's mission is to be a center of excellence through interdisciplinary applied research, training, and outreach in areas of critical importance for the local and global communities that we serve.

COPP to schedule tours for prospective students and their families


As a future Roadrunner, you may be wondering what UTSA is like.  If you are thinking about majoring in criminal justice or public administration as an undergraduate or completing graduate coursework with us, you can now contact our office to set up a tour to visit the Downtown Campus, where the majority of your classes will be held.

Tour Info

Click here to schedule a tour.  For questions, feel free to call us at (210) 458-2530 or email us at

Map and Parking Info

Download map

Don't forget to check out our student page for resources on advising, scholarships, internships, and more. Also, browse through the stories of some of our current students, faculty and alumni on our features page to see how we're shaping our local and global communities to improve the quality of lives. 

Alumna ready to begin exciting role with the San Antonio Housing Authority


Clementina Garcia,'17, Public Administration alum, is San Antonio Housing Authority's newest Board Relations Manager.  Garcia will be editing board agenda items and coordinating board and constituent meetings.  Clementina says her degree has helped her reach new heights, and she credits the faculty for inspiring her and providing professional development opportunities during her time at UTSA.  She enrolled as a non-traditional student and finished with a bachelor's in Public Administration with a double minor in Civic Engagement and Non-Profit Management in the spring of 2017.  

Congratulations Clementina on your new employment!

Dean Rogelio Sáenz contributes op-ed for the Dallas News on the recent request to end DACA


Dr. Rogelio Sáenz contributes op-ed for the Dallas News about Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton's and other attorney generals' request to the DACA program.  Read more from

Dean Rogelio Sáenz writes column for the El Paso Times on Trumpcare


"GOP Senators support Trumpcare at own peril"

Dean of the College of Public Policy and Mark G. Yudof Demography Professor Dr. Rogelio Sáenz discusses how working-class whites could likely lose significant ground in health care coverage if the GOP Senate plan is enacted.

To read more in the El Paso Times, click here or click link above.

Dr. Michael Smith named new chair of the department of criminal justice


Michael Smith, J.D., Ph.D. began his new role as Chair of the Department of Criminal Justice on July 1.  Dr. Smith is a former law enforcement officer and a nationally-recognized expert on racial profiling.

Michael R. Smith, Professor and Chair, holds a J.D. from the University of South Carolina School of Law and Ph.D. in Justice Studies from Arizona State University.   He holds an impressive array of experience.  Smith comes to us from the University of Texas at El Paso where he was Professor and Director for the Center for Law and Human Behavior.   He is a criminologist and a former municipal and county police officer who has served as a principal investigator on many extramural grants and research contracts over his 20-year career as a police scholar and criminal justice researcher.   With funding from the National Institute of Justice (NIJ), he led the most comprehensive investigation to date on the use of force by police and injuries to officers and citizens.  Smith is a nationally-recognized expert on racial profiling and use of force and led or contributed to large-scale traffic or pedestrian stop data analysis efforts in San Jose, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Miami-Dade County, FL, Richmond, VA, and with state highway patrol agencies in Washington and Arizona.   He is currently a co-principal investigator on an NIJ-funded, randomized controlled evaluation of a police training initiative to reduce conflict and the use of force between police and citizens.   

"I am very excited about recruiting Professor Smith to UTSA," remarked Dr. Sáenz, Dean of the College of Public Policy.   

"He brings an exceptional record of leadership and research along with an impressive record of grant funding. Professor Smith is a major addition to the Department of Criminal Justice and the College of Public Policy and I am looking forward to working with him."

Smith is invested in reinforcing the mission of the department of criminal justice in providing quality education, research and service to students, practitioners and the community.

"It is an honor to have been be selected as the new chair of Criminal Justice at UTSA," says Smith. 

 "The department has an outstanding group of faculty who excel both in the classroom and in their many research endeavors.   I am excited to be at UTSA and to help the lead the department as it seeks to strengthen its core missions of teaching, research, and service to criminal justice agencies locally and across the State of Texas and beyond."

Smith oversees COPP's largest academic program with a student body of nearly 1,000.   The Department is dedicated to delivering quality education to its students through top-tier undergraduate and graduate programs.   Faculty members teach and conduct research in a wide range of topics in criminal justice and criminology, including policing, corrections, courts, juvenile justice, forensic science, and victim services. Students who graduate from the program pursue professional careers in law enforcement, government or the private sector, and also apply for admission to law school and other graduate programs.

Associate Professor conducts research project in Hamburg, Germany


Dr. Amy Chanmugam, associate professor of the department of social work, was awarded a research stay by the German Academic Exchange Service.  She will be working on a research project related to domestic violence.

Chanmugam's research study is hosted in Hamburg, Germany by the Evalgelische Hochschule fuer Soziale Arbeit und Diakonie.   This college offers bachelor's and master's degrees in social work.  It developed out of a training program in the nearly 200-year-old children's charity called Rauhes Haus.  Rauhes Haus is a social service institution founded in 1833, which shelters and trains children; the mentally handicapped and disturbed; and the aged.   The organization also prepares individuals for social service careers.

Dr. Lloyd Potter explains reasons for Bexar County’s boost in seniors - SA Express-News


Texas State Demographer and Demography Professor Dr. Lloyd Potter describes how seniors benefit from moving to Bexar County in San Antonio.  Potter says many seniors of the age 65-74 years old have some connection to the military and that, according to some seniors, San Antonio is a good place to retire due to its low cost of living, climate, lack of state income tax, and friendly people.

Read full story in San Antonio Express-News

Public administration student lands prestigious internship w/Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute


James Rivera was selected into the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute's Internship Program (CHCI), one of the nation's most prestigious and competitive Latino leadership programs.  James will be traveling to Washington, D.C. for 12 weeks during the Fall 2017 semester and will be working in a congressional office while at the same time gaining leadership training.  

During CHCI's paid summer and semester internships, promising Latino undergraduates gain legislative experience in Washington, D.C.  They meet Latino leaders and CHCI alumni who will serve as their mentors.  These individuals come from a wide range of professional backgrounds including Capitol Hill, Fortune 500 companies, and other organizations that promote Latino education and leadership development.  Interns participate in civic engagement activities to stay socially active and take advantage of opportunities to grow their professional network.  

"This internship means that I get to experience first-hand what it's like to work at our nation's Capitol," said Rivera.  "I will be interning directly with members of Congress and gain valuable insight on what goes on in D.C."

James is a first-generation student seeking a bachelor's degree in public administration with a minor in criminal justice.  He recently traveled to Los Angeles, California, to talk to alumni and members of Communities in Schools (CIS) from around the country on how CIS has impacted his life.  CIS is a non-profit organization dedicated to connecting children and their families to basic educational and community-based resources to help students achieve success in school.   

"Sharing my story was both inspiring and motivating!"  I am so lucky to be able to give back to an organization that has given so much more to millions of students around the country."

James is the Director of Downtown Campus Affairs for the Student Government Association and was one of the UTSA students selected for Who's Who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges.  

College of Public Policy Abroad - students visit Spain


This summer marked a time to see other parts of the world to experience how public policy works on a broader scale.  A group of criminal Justice students along with one public administration student developed a deeper understanding of public policy implementation in parts of Spain.  From May 19 to May 25, 2017, students visited the premises of the Local Police Headquarters of Elche, a forensic lab, the prison, the Provincial Court of Alicante, Granada, and the Supreme Court of Madrid.   While abroad, students sat in on lectures given by various University and city officials.  The group also visited the Provincial Court in Alicante where they were given a presentation about common court cases and crime statistics in the surrounding area.   Here, students were able to make connections between the United States and Spain’s criminal justice systems.

Criminal justice student Alma Zuniga shares her personal experience:

We visited the National and Local police. The local police was interesting. We were able to visit the shooting range. I had never been in a room when a shot was fired (I guess that's a good thing), but at the local police we were with an officer who showed us firing drills. We weren't able to shoot ourselves, but it was interesting to see the officer. We interacted with the K9 unit and witnessed first-hand how they train the dogs to detect drugs in vehicles and on people. When we visited the National Police we visited their forensic lab, we saw how officers gear up for violent riots or events, and the differences between their police and ours.

We visited a prison as well. I think visiting the prison was my favorite aspect of the trip. It was so fascinating. Men and women are placed in the same prison. They sleep in different parts but they are both held in the same prison. Spain looks at the bigger picture, and I admire that. Spain allows prisoners to work their social security when they are in prison. Inmates work and earn the same wage as those outside of prison. This allows prisoners to support their families even when they are incarcerated. Spain's prison system wasn't so much for punishment but for rehabilitation. It had many programs for inmates to receive licenses once they were released. Even more fascinating, is that the Spain system allows for people to clear their crime history. If an inmate complies with certain requirements, Spain is able to erase their crime history. This allows people to start fresh. Very interesting!

We visited a university where we sat in on lecture. We interacted with 3 students from Spain and we were able to find differences and similarities in our school systems, music taste, Netflix tastes and much more. Unlike American students who pay thousands of dollars to attend the university, students in Spain only pay a $1,000/YEAR -- Not semester, per year. School is much cheaper there, but their unemployment rate is very high. They listen to music that we like, such as, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Guns n Roses, and many more.

We visited the Supreme Court, which was a beautiful sight. Many of the buildings in Spain are so detailed. Everything to them is art. We also visited the Alhamabra which is a palace in Granada. It was another beautiful sight! We were lucky enough to spot a famous singer. Ricky Martin was also touring the Alhambra at the same time we were. He had a private tour, but his tour guide was behind us. Overall this trip was wonderful, I never imagined I would be going to Spain and learning so much.

As a first-generation student I have always been so close to home. I had never been on a plane or been out of the country. If someone would have told me last year that I would be going to Spain, I would have never imagined it. This trip was full of so many firsts. I can only hope that I can be an example to my siblings and many other first-generation students. Even when things feel impossible, they are possible.

by Alma Zuniga

The College of Public Policy's study abroad experience is a great opportunity for students to develop a deeper understanding of public policy in another country, helping them to become more well-rounded graduates in an increasingly globalized world.

For more information, contact:

Roger Enriquez, J.D.
Associate Professor
Buena Vista Building (BV) 4.304
210.458.2691 voice
210.458.2680 fax

Drs. Michael Smith, Rob Tillyer and researchers at UTEP study racial bias in police stops


Does race influence how often people are stopped and questioned by police?

Source:  Newswise 

When a 2015 newspaper analysis of traffic-stop data by the San Jose Police Department (SJPD) in San Jose, California, revealed that African-Americans and Latinos were more likely to be stopped, searched or temporarily detained than the rest of the city’s population, police department officials pledged to shine a light on the matter.

In 2016, the SJPD partnered with the Center for Law and Human Behavior (CLHB) at The University of Texas at El Paso to examine the correlation between individuals’ race/ethnicity and vehicle/pedestrian stop outcomes.

Criminal Justice Chair and Lead Researcher Dr. Michael Smith collaborated with Jeff Rojek, Ph.D., the CLHB’s associate director; Robert Tillyer, Ph.D., associate dean of the College of Public Policy at The University of Texas at San Antonio; and Caleb Lloyd, a former UTEP psychology assistant professor.  Ariel Stone, a research assistant on the project, helped to code two years’ worth of data for the researchers to analyze.  Stone, a general psychology doctoral student, said she wasn’t aware of the SJPD’s disparities in vehicle/pedestrian stops until she joined the project.  Read more on Newswise

Social Work student to present research on female veteran homelessness at APHA Conference


Social Work student will present her original research on female veteran homelessness at the American Public Health Association (APHA) Conference in Atlanta this fall.  

This contributing author, journalist and advocate for homeless women veterans and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs recognize that women veterans are the fastest-growing demographic of homeless veterans in America.  Many of them are single mothers with dependent children.

Women veterans who are homeless struggle with invisibility from the general public, and are frequently under-represented in counts of the homeless.  The federal definition of homelessness, which changed in 2009 to exclude couch-surfing, also disproportionately affects women veterans, who frequently double-up with friends and family, often along with their dependent children, rather than stay in shelters or sleep outdoors.

Associate Professor appointed Chair of the Department of Social Work


Associate Professor of the Department of Social Work Dr. Amy Chanmugam's appointment will be effective July 1.

On behalf of Dean Rogelio Sáenz,

I am pleased to announce that Amy Chanmugam has been appointed Chair of the Department of Social Work effective July 1.   Amy brings strong experience including a strong research, teaching, and service record alongside an important vision for the department.  I am looking forward to working with Amy.

I would also like to take this opportunity to thank Martell for the major work that he has done in moving the department forward, increasing its research profile, and getting the department nationally ranked for the first time.   I wish Martell the best as he begins his work as the new Dean of the College of Social Work at the University of Utah in July.

Dr. Amy Chanmugam will lead the Department of Social Work

Meet a Roadrunner:  James Pobanz


by Kara Mireles, UTSA Today

Alumnus James Pobanz helps local vets struggling with mental illness

James PobanzMeet James Pobanz ’14, ’17.  This UTSA alumnus and veteran is making a difference in the lives of other local veterans.  This spring, Pobanz was offered a job at a local non-profit agency called Family Endeavors. He assists veterans and their families at the Steven A. Cohen Military Family Clinic where quality, accessible and comprehensive mental health care is provided to veterans and their families at no cost. Services are available to any person who has served in the U.S. Armed Forces, including the National Guard and Reserves, regardless of their role or discharge status.  

James Pobanz helps veterans struggling with mental illness find housing and jobs.  

“My volunteer work and the social work courses I took at UTSA prepared me to help veterans transitioning into civilian life,” said Pobanz.  “I am a veteran myself, so I understand the challenges service members face when it comes to pursuing academic and career goals."  Pobanz served in the U.S. Army for 17 years, with four overseas combat deployments during that time.  After serving in the Army, Pobanz moved to San Antonio to be closer to family.  He wanted to continue his education so he enrolled at UTSA in 2013 to earn his bachelor’s degree in multidisciplinary studies.

When he returned to UTSA to pursue his Master of Social Work degree, Pobanz made time to serve. He became involved in veteran volunteer services including the American GI Forum, where he worked with homeless veterans.  He was also a mentor for the Wounded Warrior Project and a fellow in the Veterans in Global Leadership program. The latter is run by a non-profit agency that brings together young veterans interested in global leadership opportunities.

“UTSA is very veteran-friendly. I was fortunate that people took time to mentor me during my time at UTSA,” said Pobanz. “I thought it was imperative for me to give back and help others transition into civilian life and being a full-time student."

His desire to give back happened on and off campus. As a mentor of the PIVOT for Academic Success program at UTSA, Pobanz tutored other student veterans.

In 2016, Pobanz was selected as the social work Student of the Year in the UTSA College of Public Policy.  He attributes much of his academic success to the scholarships he received as a UTSA student, opportunities like the Juanita Firestone Endowed Scholarship and the Gunn Family Endowed Scholarship in Social Work.  The scholarships enabled Pobanz to receive an education and have time to volunteer with different groups.Before graduating from UTSA, he received the President’s Volunteer Service national award for completing 281 community service hours in 2016.  

“At some point, we all need a hand up or someone just to listen.  The sense of satisfaction one gets from selfless service is immeasurable.  I hope that my example motivates UTSA students to engage in our community to become that agent of change,” said Pobanz. 

— Kara Mireles

Do you know a Roadrunner who is achieving great things? Email us at so that we may consider your suggestion for our next installment of
Meet a Roadrunner.

HACU National Internship Program offering paid internships for Fall 2017


The Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU) offers paid internship opportunities to work in major U.S. cities.  Application to apply for the Fall 2017 internships is June 9, 2017.

The HACU national internship program has been a premier student program for over 20 years, promoting diversity in the federal and corporate workplace.

To apply online, visit


  • Be enrolled in a degree-seeking program at an accredited institution in the U.S. or Puerto Rico.
  • Have completed their freshman year
  • Be an undergraduate or graduate student
  • Have a minimum 3.0 GPA on a 4.0 scale
  • Be authorized to work by law in the U.S.

HACU to host 31st annual conference in San Diego


The Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities will host the 31st Annual Conference Student Track on Oct. 28-30, 2017 in San Diego, California.

This is an opportunity to gain insight on employment opportunities and hiring trends in the federal and corporate sectors.  Participants engage in workshops addressing career, educational and leadership topics while expanding their network and meeting potential mentors and employers.  The HACU Conference brings together undergraduate students from colleges and universities throughout the U.S. and Puerto Rico representing a wide range of academic disciplines.

Limited scholarships are available for undergraduate students.  For additional info, call (210) 692-3805 or email

Submit an application on-line by June 30, 2017.  Visit

COPP students selected for Archer Fellowship


Four talented College of Public Policy students have been selected to join the Archer Center program to study public policy in Washington, D.C.

Congratulations to the following undergraduate students heading to D.C. in the fall of 2017 for the Undergraduate Fellowship Program:

  • Jamilyn Keeton (public administration)
  • Ian May (criminal justice)
  • Sara Attia (criminal justice)

Congratulations to the following graduate student heading to D.C. in the summer of 2017 for the Graduate Program in Public Policy

  • Jeremiah Rivera (Master of Public Administration)
    He has secured a summer internship with Excelencia in Education.

The Archer Center educates the next generation of leaders from Texas for local, state, federal, and international service.  Founded in 2001, the Archer Center provides talented undergraduate and graduate students from across the UT System with the opportunity to live, learn and intern in the nation's capital.  

Congratulations newest members of Phi Alpha Honor Society!


Last week, master of social work students were inducted into Phi Alpha Honor Society for excellence in scholarship and achievement.

Phi Alpha welcomed 13 members to the chapter.  Phi Alpha fosters high standards of education, promotes humanitarian goals and ideas and invites membership to those who have attained excellence in scholarship and achievement in social work.


Dr. Martell Teasley is new Dean of the College of Social Work at the University of Utah


Chair of the UTSA College of Public Policy Department of Social Work Dr. Martell Teasley will be the University of Utah's newest Dean of the College of Social Work effective July 1. 

Dr. Martell Teasley has served as Chair of the Department of Social Work for five years.  During his tenure, he has strengthened the social work program by demonstrating a commitment to preparing students for advanced culturally competent social work practice.  His efforts have resulted in the achievement of a national ranking of the program.   Enrollment in the Social Work program has increased tremendously under his leadership.

The UTSA Department of Social Work has ranked in the top 100 graduate programs in the nation and the fifth among universities in the state of Texas.

Dr. Teasley will start his new position as Dean of the College of Social Work at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City, Utah.  Since 1937, University of Utah's College of Social Work has been educating and training students to meet the needs of their communities through service, research and policy implementation.

Apply today for Summer 2017 internship in civic engagement and technology research


If you like civic engagement and technology, then this internship is for you.  The summer intern will lead research activities that will help the development of a pilot project app with the City of San Antonio.  

Undergraduate and graduate students are eligible to apply.  This internship is part of City Flag, a tech initiative that has created a revolutionary app designed to help local governments be more accessible and accountable to its citizens.  

This position is unpaid, but the student intern will get to interact with UTSA faculty, city officials and community members.  

For more information, please contact Dr. Albert Gómez, who is co-founder of City Flag. To apply, visit the handshake application.

Are children of incarcerated parents at more risk for eating disorders?


Dr. Dylan Jackson, assistant professor of the UTSA department of criminal justice, examines how poor nutrition and inadequate sleep could be associated with children of incarcerated parents.

Story by Jesus Chavez

Having an incarcerated parent takes a heavy toll on children’s sleep and eating patterns and can disrupt healthy development, according to new UTSA co-authored research.  

Published in The Journal of Pediatrics, a new study by Dylan B. Jackson, assistant professor of Criminal Justice with The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) College of Public Policy, and his colleague, Michael Vaughn of Saint Louis University, analyzed data from families involved with the nation’s criminal justice system. 

“Past research has shown that having a parent behind bars can lead to academic difficulties, behavioral problems and illicit drug use in children,” said Jackson, a developmental and health criminologist. “The developmental challenges associated with diet and sleep can now also be added to that list of associated risks.” 

In the sample that Jackson and Vaughn studied, 12 percent of the mothers and 46 percent of the fathers had experienced incarceration prior to taking a survey about their children’s sleep and eating behaviors.  The researchers paid particular attention to the sleep and eating behaviors of kindergarteners due to the developmental sensitivity of young children.

Children of incarcerated parents are more likely to experience both insufficient sleep and poor nutrition, according to Jackson.  The diets of children with incarcerated parents tended to consist of more fast food, sweets, soda and salty snacks, relative to children without a parent in prison. The risks for poor nutrition and sleep were similar whether the incarcerated individual was the mother or the father. 

“Children are the often-overlooked collateral consequences of incarceration,” Jackson said.  “We found that the probability of risky sleep and eating behaviors in children with incarcerated parents is double that of children who have had neither parent incarcerated. This is particularly worrisome, as sufficient sleep and proper eating habits are cornerstones of healthy development in children.” 

Currently, more than 2.3 million adults are incarcerated in the U.S.   Approximately one in every 28 American children has a parent in prison, which makes the findings all the more concerning. 

Jackson and Vaughn say their findings may be of particular use to service providers who come in contact with children whose families are involved with the criminal justice system, such as educators and pediatricians.   The researchers suggest that service providers proactively identify children of incarcerated parents and takes steps to ensure they are afforded regular opportunities to eat a healthy meal (particularly at school) and obtain adequate sleep. 

“We hope that our study can lead to fruitful engagement across policy arenas where the lines between criminal justice, social, public and health policy are blurred,” Jackson said.   “Our study and findings should make it clear that incarceration impacts not only the parent who is under correctional control, but also has profound and widespread effects on the health and well-being of their offspring.” 

UTSA is ranked among the top 400 universities in the world and among the top 100 in the nation, according to Times Higher Education.

Learn more about the UTSA College of Public Policy.

This story was originally posted on UTSA Today.

UTSA Demography students present research at annual PAA Conference


UTSA Demography students presented their research at the annual Population Association of America annual conference in Chicago, Illinois.  

Student and presentation titles: 

Xiaoling Liang  "Risk Factors for Depression"

Federico Ghirmoldi  "Cancer and Poverty: An Explorative Approach to the Study of Determinants of Poverty in Population Diagnosed with Cancer"

Federico Ghirmoldi  "Breast Cancer Among Immigrant Women: The Impact of Family Cancer History on Breast Cancer Prevention by Region of Birth"

Jamiko Deleveaux  "A New Era: Bahamian Emigrant Political Involvement in General Elections"

Jessica Omoregie  "Effects of Delayed Transportation on Access to Health Care for the Insulin Dependent"

Stephanie Hernandez  "Considering the limitations of dichotomizing history of HIV testing"

Daniela Krotzer  "Food Resources in Comal County: A Spatial Mismatch”

The Population Association of America (PAA) is a nonprofit, scientific, professional organization established to promote the improvement, advancement and progress of the human condition through research of problems related to human population.  PAA members include demographers, sociologists, economists, public health professionals, and other people conducting research in the population field.  

Over 50 students recognized for outstanding achievements


College of Public Policy students were officially recognized for outstanding achievements during the annual COPP student recognition luncheon at the UTSA Downtown Campus.

The following were honored for their exceptional accomplishments throughout the year:

Jamilyn Keeton BPA COSA Grant Recipient
Lea Walberg MSW COSA Grant Recipient
Lydia Royer MSW COSA Grant Recipient
Ellen Ray MSW COSA Grant Recipient
Jenna Gonzales MPA COSA Grant Recipient
Yliana Flores MPA COSA Grant Recipient
Yvette Mendez MPA COSA Grant Recipient
Salman Ali Khan Karani MPA COSA Grant Recipient
Eve Hernandez MPA COSA Grant Recipient
Stephanie Barrera CRJ/BPA Who’s Who at UTSA for 2016 - 2017
Blessing Korie CRJ Who’s Who at UTSA for 2016 - 2017
James Rivera CRJ/BPA Who’s Who at UTSA for 2016 - 2017
Odalys Vielma CRJ Who’s Who at UTSA for 2016 - 2017
Misty Green CRJ Who’s Who at UTSA for 2016 - 2017
Kierra Jackson CRJ Who’s Who at UTSA for 2016 - 2017
Lorenzo Sanchez DEM Who’s Who at UTSA for 2016 - 2017
Federico Ghirimoldi DEM Presented at 2016 Southern Demographic Association Conference
Xiaoling Liang DEM Presented at 2016 Southern Demographic Association Conference
Bricio Vasquez DEM Presented at 2016 Southern Demographic Association Conference
Sara Attia CRJ 2017-2018 Undergraduate Archer Fellows
Jamilyn Keeton BPA 2017-2018 Undergraduate Archer Fellows
Ian May CRJ 2017-2018 Undergraduate Archer Fellows
Jeremiah Rivera MPA Summer 2017 Archer Fellow Graduate
Lindsey Walker BPA COPP Scholar Fall 2016
Jennifer Gomez CRJ COPP Scholar Fall 2016
Wesley Greene CRJ Ed Whitacre Scholarship Recipient
Marcos Mullin BPA UTSA Top Scholar in COPP
Michelle Ortiz MSW Juanita Firestone Endowed Scholarship Recipient
Stephanie Gasca MSW The Gunn Family Endowed Scholarship in Social Work
Gavin Martinez MSW The Gunn Family Endowed Scholarship in Social Work
Stephanie Barrera CRJ/BPA Border Patrol Agent Ricardo Salinas Criminal Justice Memorial Scholarship
Odalys Vielma CRJ Border Patrol Agent Ricardo Salinas Criminal Justice Memorial Scholarship
Kathryn Delgado MSCJC Competitive Criminal Justice Scholarship Recipient
Miguel Gutierrez MSCJC Competitive Criminal Justice Scholarship Recipient
Kayleigh Davenport MSCJC Competitive Criminal Justice Scholarship Recipient
Jarmanese Davis CRJ Competitive Criminal Justice Scholarship Recipient
Stephanie Barrera CRJ/BPA Competitive Criminal Justice Scholarship Recipient
Nohelia Villeda CRJ/BPA Competitive Criminal Justice Scholarship Recipient
Kaylee De Tender CRJ Competitive Criminal Justice Scholarship Recipient
Jarmanese Davis CRJ The USAA Foundation Scholarship Recipient
Genesis Hernandez CRJ The USAA Foundation Scholarship Recipient
Stephanie Barrera CRJ/BPA The USAA Foundation Scholarship Recipient
Nohelia Villeda CRJ/BPA The USAA Foundation Scholarship Recipient
Odalys Vielma CRJ The USAA Foundation Scholarship Recipient
Jamilyn Keeton BPA The USAA Foundation Scholarship Recipient
Samantha Metayer MPA Dominion Rotary Club Past President’s Fund Scholarship Recipient
Gisel Prado MPA Ruben Munguia Endowed Scholarship Recipient
Jeremiah Rivera MPA Lauren Miller & Steven Douglas Walthour Endowed Scholarship Recipient
Maria Hernandez NonProfit Samuel A . & Pamela R. Kirkpatrick Endowed Presidential Scholarship Recipient
Jeongsoo Kim DEM COPP Student Research Paper Competition Winner—Doctoral
Dustin Gray MPA COPP Student Research Paper Competition Winner—Masters
Rachel Murchland CRJ COPP Student Research Paper Competition Winner—Undergraduate
Lisa Cervantes BPA COPP Most Outstanding Undergraduate Student Finalist
Alma Zuniga CRJ COPP Most Outstanding Undergraduate Student Finalist
Nohelia Villeda CRJ COPP Most Outstanding Undergraduate Student Winner
Nishita Maliek MSCJC COPP Most Outstanding Graduate Student Finalist
James Probanz MSW COPP Most Outstanding Graduate Student Finalist
Lily Tremaine MSW COPP Most Outstanding Graduate Student Winner

The College of Public Policy is dedicated to the advancement of salient public policy and practice through research, rigorous educational programs, service, and collaborative partnerships that contribute to the public good within a diverse society.

UTSA restorative and criminal justice scholar Michael Gilbert retires


After 26 years of service to UTSA, associate professor of criminal justice Michael J. Gilbert is retiring.

Gilbert joined the UTSA faculty in the fall of 1991 after a 20-year career in the criminal justice system.  He began his career as an inmate educator in military prisons, then worked for the Alaska Department of Corrections, Arizona Department of Corrections, and then started his own independent consulting business.  At age 44, he accepted a tenure-track position at UTSA. On May 31, 2017 he will officially retire at the age of 70.

During his time at UTSA, Gilbert has demonstrated that he has a lifelong curiosity about the human condition, particularly in relation to creating safe, just and equitable communities.  His academic career has been largely devoted to the study and advocacy of community justice and restorative justice, two relations-driven approaches to preventing crime and attaining justice that have proven to be effective alternatives to traditional criminal justice systems.

In 2012, he developed and has since served as director of the UTSA Office of Community and Restorative Justice housed within the Policy Studies Center under the College of Public Policy.

"Mike is a phenomenal colleague, a serious researcher, and the kind of teacher that makes an impression on his students," shared Policy Studies Center director Roger Enriquez.  "Whenever I run into an alum in the community, the first person they ask about is Dr. Gilbert!  It's uncanny because they almost universally say the same thing: 'Dr. G's class was tough but I learned so much!'"

Gilbert is known for his rigorous, effective teaching and for recognizing and fostering potential in students beyond what's reflected in their grades.  His professional experience has allowed him to bring real-world scenarios into the classroom, breathing life into the theories he covers in his courses.  A core concept of his teaching philosophy is helping his students become respectful, kind, thoughtful, ethical and caring leaders who believe that everyone, even the worst criminals, have the ability to change for the better if they want to.

When Gilbert joined UTSA in 1991, the criminal justice program had about 200 students and only four faculty members.  Today, the Department of Criminal Justice has roughly 900 students taught by 15 faculty, making it the largest department within the College of Public Policy.

Gilbert has played a valuable role in the Department of Criminal Justice, contributing scholarly research in his field while displaying excellence in teaching and empowering communities to resolve conflict through open dialogue.  He also has influence in public policy matters by providing a voice in the national conversations on restorative justice.

“Mike made a substantive and significant contribution to the Department of Criminal Justice and UTSA during his 26 years of service,” Interim Chair of the Department of Criminal Justice and Associate Dean for Graduate Studies and Research Dr. Rob Tillyer said.  “Mike’s commitment to students and the program has been exemplary and impactful.  His work in studying, developing, and promoting restorative justice practices has contributed to his national reputation as an expert in this domain and highlights his passion for the topic. Mike was a valuable member of our department, and he will be sorely missed.”

Dr. James Calder, Professor in the Department of Political Science & Geography under the UTSA College of Liberal and Fine Arts, has known Gilbert since 1991 when he joined UTSA, and has admired him for his expertise and altruistic personality.

“I have known Mike since he came to UTSA.  We had also worked together on a consulting project shortly before that time, and from that experience I learned that he was a perfect fit for UTSA’s position on corrections and juvenile justice.  Mike has always been a dedicated teacher and corrections expert, a devoted humanitarian, and one who values the personal and professional rewards that come from developing equally committed and passionate students. We will miss his enthusiasm and his warm personality.  Good luck Mike in all your future ventures.”

Gilbert has played an instrumental part in this growth and reflects on his time at the university.

"The thing that has been remarkable about UTSA to me is that it has changed so much over the years and that change has been managed in a very constructive way.  I feel very blessed to have been able to find a professional home like UTSA that supported the kind of work that I wanted to do and provided a very good environment for me to do it in."

Gilbert goes the extra mile in his role as a faculty member and has served as a leader and mentor to his students throughout the years.

“Dr. Gilbert is one of the most well rounded professors at UTSA, and it is sad to see him go - but he deserves to relax,” said Nishita Maliek, criminal justice & criminology graduate student.  “He not only has a Ph.D., but also has practical experience which makes him so valuable to UTSA. He is extremely humble, and has always tried to help his students in any way. It was an honor to be in his class.” 

Dr. Fabian Romero, former student of Gilbert’s, who is currently a Statistician-Demographer for the U.S. Census Bureau, says that Gilbert helped him in reaching his full potential and working in a career that fulfills him.

“You keep making a difference every day touching students' lives and by promoting restorative justice.  At least with me, you really caused a big impact in my life.  Without your mentoring, I wouldn't have been so successful at UTSA, and I wouldn't be living in Washington doing what I love.”

In the coming years, Gilbert plans to focus more of his energy on the activities of the National Association of Community and Restorative Justice, a non-profit organization he founded in 2013 that is on track to making an important and lasting impact on national and international justice reform.

“Mike Gilbert is one of the nation’s leading figures in the area of restorative justice, an approach to criminal justice that reflects his belief in social justice,” said Dean of the UTSA College of Public Policy and Mark G. Yudof Endowed Professor Dr. Rogelio Sáenz.  “We will miss Mike tremendously, and I am grateful for everything that he contributed to UTSA and the College of Public Policy.”

In honor of Gilbert's service to UTSA, the College of Public Policy is hosting a retirement reception at 3 p.m. on Wednesday, April 26, 2017 in the Southwest Room (DB 1.124) at the Downtown Campus.  Those wishing to attend should RSVP to or 210.458.2535.

By Michelle Skidmore with contributions from Jesus Chavez, KC Gonzalez and Sarah Soulek

Community, students, and faculty participate in engaging discussion with key immigration advocate


Courtesy of IBC Bank, the College had the opportunity to host Mr. Ali Noorani, Executive Director of the National Immigration Forum, an advocacy organization promoting the value of immigrants and immigration to discuss his new book titled "There Goes the Neighborhood: How Communities Overcome Prejudice and Meet the Challenge of American Immigration.  

College of Public Policy students, faculty, and members of the community were invited to sit down with Mr. Noorani and engage in open dialogue about what really drives America's ongoing immigration debate and the cultures and values that define America.  

Click here to read more about Ali Noorani's new book.

Ali Noorani's new book There Goes the Neighborhood

COPP recognizes most outstanding students


Nohelia Villeda, COPP Scholar and dual major in criminal justice and public administration, won the most outstanding student award in the undergraduate category. 

Lily Tremaine, social work student, received the most outstanding student award in the graduate category.  Students were recognized at the 40th Annual SGA University Life Awards.


UTSA MPA alumna Colleen Swain featured in the Sombrilla


Colleen Swain, MPA is World Heritage office director and is passionate about enhancing the experience for visitors to San Antonio.  Check out her story in the Spring 2017 issue of the Sombrilla Magazine.  

Story by Michelle Mondo

Colleen Swain MPA '04 prepares for the future by highlighting the city's past

Criminal Justice Summer Camp, June 5


The Department of Criminal Justice is accepting applications for the 2017 Criminal Justice Summer Camp for rising high school juniors and seniors.  For more information, visit their department page.  Check out the new E-brochure!

Students get career advice from one of HUD’s former key leaders


Former Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Jaime Castillo talks to public administration students about how he developed his career and offers advice for students who want to craft their own profession in public policy.

Jamie Castillo, who met with public administration students at the UTSA Downtown Campus, spoke about his career starting as a newspaper reporter, which led to a major role in public affairs.  He emphasized the importance of flexibility in career development.  He also talked about one of HUD's initiatives in expanding broadband infrastructure for underserved communities.  At the end of the session, Jaime opened it up for questions from the students.  Students asked him what he feels are major pubic policy concerns in San Antonio related to infrastructure and human capital.  Students were very pleased to make a connection with Castillo and get sound advice as they navigate through their studies in the growing field of public administration.  

Policy Studies Center host 1st “Latino Path to Power and Prosperity” Symposium


The UTSA Policy Studies Center in partnership with public agencies invite prospective participants to its first ever statewide working symposium to establish equitable public policies that contribute to the economic vitality and mobility for Latino families.

On May 4-5, 2017, at the UTSA Downtown Campus, participants will gather together to address public policy concerns affecting the growth and financial well-being of Latino families.  Panelists will address social issues focusing on education, labor/employment, housing, and health and human services while critically discussing the impact of local and state public policies on these major areas.  

While Latino advocates have made policy achievements, there is still a need to invest in schools, increase jobs and wages, increase homeownership, and improve health and neighborhood environments to help strengthen Latino families and provide pathways to economic mobility.

Symposium deliberations will include the following topics:

  • Political Power
  • Applied policy analysis support across issues
  • Pro-active development of policy proposals (state and local)
  • Communications network that informs, educates, and supports organized advocacy

Symposium participation is limited.  Acceptance will be based on multiple criteria including but not limited to geographical and Latino-based advocacy/non-profit service issue experience.  For more information, please visit

COPP student survey available


COPP undergraduate and graduate students are encouraged to complete a survey about their college experience.  The survey should take between 5-7 minutes to complete and asks for your opinion on a variety of topics including University program specific services and potential barriers to graduation.  For undergraduates, you must be a declared major in Criminal Justice or Public Administration.  For graduate students, this includes students pursuing degrees in Applied Demography, Criminal Justice, Public Administration, and Social Work.

Complete the survey for a chance to win $100 Amazon Gift Card.  Thank you for your participation.

UTSA researchers and educators present op-ed in Express-News on UTSA presidential candidate search


Roger Enriquez, J.D., Director of the Policy Studies Center and Associate Professor in the Department of Criminal Justice, along with faculty in the College of Education and Human Development Dr. Enrique Alemán Jr., Dr. Lilliana Patricia Saldaña and Dr. Vangie Aguilera, for the Express-News, discuss the UTSA Presidential Search and voice concerns about Latino(a) representation of the committee.

Visit the San Antonio Express-News to read full article, written on behalf of La Raza Faculty and Administrator Association.

Francine Romero writes op-ed on Edwards Aquifer recharge protection (Express-News)


Dr. Francine Romero, Associate Dean for the UTSA College of Public Policy and the Chair of the Conservation Advisory Board, write op-ed on securing the protection of the Edwards Aquifer into the future through the approval to purchase land or easements that prevent development.

To read the full article, please visit the San Antonio Express-News webpage.

Social Work Lecturer is recipient of UTSA’s distinguished award for teaching excellence


Derek Plantenga, Social Work senior lecturer is recipient of the UTSA President's Distinguished Award for Teaching Excellence.

This award recognizes, encourages, and awards superior classroom teachers who possess pervasive caring, communication skills, and commitment to the learning process.  Derek acknowledges his responsibility in motivating his students and assuring the relationship of the subject matter and attitude toward the total development of the student. Awardees will be officially recognized at an awards ceremony on April 13, 2017 from 2 p.m. - 3 p.m. in the H-E-B University Center Ballroom with simulcast to the Downtown Campus in the Meeting Assembly Room (BV 1.338)

Congratulations, Derek!

(photo credit:  Cindy Perez) (from left to right:  College of Public Policy Dean Dr. Rogelio Sáenz, Social Work Senior Lecturer Derek Plantenga, Social Work Department Chair and Professor Dr. Martell Teasley)

COPP students among UTSA selection of Who’s Who


Students named to Who's Who were selected for this award based on their academic achievement, leadership, and membership in extracurricular activities and organizations.  In addition, they show potential for continued success.  They join an elite group of students from more than 3,500 institutions of higher education.  UTSA students will be honored at the Who's Who Banquet on Saturday, April 8.  For more information and for the full article, visit the UTSA Collegiatelink webpage.  

Winners from the UTSA College of Public Policy are the following:

  • James Rivera (Criminal Justice and Public Administration)
  • Stephanie Barrera (Public Administration and Criminal Justice)
  • Lorenzo Sanchez (Demography)
  • Odalys Vielma (Criminal Justice)
  • Misty Green (Criminal Justice)
  • Blessing Korie (Criminal Justice)
  • Kierra Jackson (Criminal Justice)
  • Jennifer McKay (Non-Profit Administration and Leadership)

Dr. Lloyd Potter interviewed by News Radio 1200 WOAI about the fast growth of Bexar County


Dr. Lloyd Potter, Texas State Demographer and Professor of Demography at the UTSA College of Public Policy, talks to WOAI in a radio interview about the real growth occurring in Bexar County.  "Texas continues to lead the nation in terms of population growth, and a lot of that is being driven by immigration, but we also have a very healthy natural increase, meaning more births than deaths," Lloyd Potter told News Radio 1200 WOAI.

Read more:

Criminal justice lecturer Robert Rico writes book chapter on restorative discipline practices


Criminal Justice Lecturer Robert Rico is one of the authors of the book Restorative Discipline Practices:  A Journey in Implementation by a Community of Texas Educators.  The book provides stories by authors from diverse backgrounds including classroom teachers, university professors, community leaders, criminal justice professionals, and school administrators.  Rico wrote a chapter entitled "Restorative Justice Outside of the Schools:  A Police Officer's Perspective." 

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He also was one of the panelists of a dynamic team of restorative justice practitioners during the SXSW event in Austin.  The panel served as a platform to present valuable information to school administrators, educators of K-12 children, communities, churches, school administrators, juvenile justice officials and other law enforcement personnel.  Restorative Justice is an alternative form of traditional discipline systems of "zero-tolerance" policies.  It promotes positive classroom management and advocates for equitable and fair policies to reduce the school to prison pipeline.  

Click here for more information on the SXSWedu panel. 

The book is available for purchase from this website:

COPP and League of Women Voters host District 5 Candidate Forum


The San Antonio City Council has reached a record number of candidates running for the District 5 seat. Find out their stance on the local issues prior to the general election.

Event is free and open to the public. Parking available in Lot D-3 under the IH-35 bridge in unmarked spaces only.

For maps, visit

Event sponsored by the UTSA College of Public Policy and the League of Women Voters in collaboration with student groups Alpha Phi Sigma and PASO.

For questions, please email or or call 210-458-2530

Eventbrite listing

Criminal Justice student selected for 2017 FBI San Antonio Citizens Academy


Nishita Maliek will have the chance to get an inside look at the FBI operations and learn more about federal law enforcement.

FBI Citizens Academy programs are engaging six-to-eight week programs that give business, religious, civic, and community leaders an inside look at the FBI.  Classes meet in the evening at FBI field offices around the country.  The mission of the FBI Citizens Academies is to foster a greater understanding of the role of federal law enforcement in the community through frank discussion and education.  Candidates are nominated by FBI employees, former Citizens Academy graduates, and community leaders.  Participants are selected by the special agent in charge of the local FBI field office. 

"When I was notified that I was accepted into this Academy, I was so taken and honored," Nishita Maliek said.  "It seems that the FBI wants a very diverse group of individuals to be a part of this program and learn more about what the FBI does," she said.

Public Administration student accepted for paid internship with COSA Office of Sustainability


Public Administration undergraduate student Lisa Cervantes was accepted for a one year paid internship with the City of San Antonio's Office of Sustainability - a position usually reserved for graduate students.  The UTSA Public Administration department is dedicated to enriching students' experiences in and outside of the classroom.  The expansion of community and civic engagement opportunities helps provide internship and career endeavors for students enrolled in the College of Public Policy.

Gina Amatangelo, lecturer in the department of public administration, requires her class enrolled in PAD 1113 to attend a government meeting or campaign event and write a reflection paper.  Lisa Cervantes along with Francisco Barajas, were featured in SA Tomorrow's video that captured the community information meeting in which residents get a chance to provide public input related to the SA Tomorrow Comprehensive Plan.

Criminal justice student is recipient of the prestigious Ed Whitacre Scholarship


Criminal justice student Wesley Greene is one of the recipients of the prestigious Ed Whitacre Scholarship. Thanks to the AT&T Foundation, nine students each received $10,000 and two students of the Alamo Colleges each received $5,000.00.  You can view the full release from the San Antonio Chamber Foundation for more information and to see the list of all the winners.

Dieter Cantu goes from juvie to Peace Corps


Dieter Cantu graduated with a degree in public administration in 2015.  He continues to soar higher reaching new goals and inspiring youth to realize their full potential.

Click to read full story on how Cantu goes from being a juvenile offender to aspire to become a diplomat.

by Richard A. Marini
San Antonio Express-News 

Public administration students and alumni inducted into 2017 Pi Alpha Alpha Honor Society


Students of UTSA's BPA and MPA programs became a part of the 2017 distinguished Public Administration Honor Society Pi Alpha Alpha.  Members were recognized for their outstanding academic achievements.

Dr. Christopher Reddick, Chair of the Department of Public Administration, announced the 2017 inductees and presented them their certificates.  Guest speaker for the evening was Mary Peters, MPA.  Mary Peters, outstanding alumna of the MPA program and associate director of operations for the South-West Texas Border Small Business Development Center (SBDC) at the UTSA Institute for Economic Development, briefly spoke about how she developed her career, the role of a public administrator, and what being a public administrator means to her and what it can mean to the members of Pi Alpha Alpha.

Pi Alpha Alpha members pledged to uphold the highest ethical standards applying to public service and endeavor to encourage and engage in meaningful interaction with other members.

2017 Pi Alpha Alpha inductees

The 2017 Inductees

Walter A. Baker (COPP Scholar)
Stephanie A. Barrera
Mercedes D. Dawes
Clinton P. Dean
Sharon L. Frey
Jeanetta M. Hernandez
Maria D. Hernandez
Marco A. Hinojosa
Salman Ali Khan Karani
Emma Caris Longoria
Yvonne Masters
Sheerann M. Moulton
Melissa Rodriguez
Stephanie R. Schoenborn
Ana M. Swan
John J. Tekus
Enrique A. Trevino
Stephanie Trujillo
Nohelia Villeda (COPP Scholar)
Richard C. Wygle

Outstanding alumna

Mary Peters, MPA

UTSA faculty are helping public authorities update their housing policies


UTSA faculty are helping public housing authorities update their admission policies for individuals with criminal records.  The goal is to help reduce recidivism and remove barriers to successful reentry for former inmates through assisted public housing, while also keeping tenants and property safe.

"Public housing authorities, and even many private housing providers, use criminal background checks in admissions criteria," said Rebecca J. Walter, Ph.D. UTSA assistant professor of Urban and Regional Planning.  "In light of new direction from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, however, many scholars and housing providers are examining the role of these criminal background checks in the process."

The Fair Housing Act, enacted in 1968, protects people from discrimination when renting, buying or securing financing for housing. In 2016, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) issued guidance to public housing authorities (and housing providers in the private market) across the country to revisit the use of criminal records for admitting tenants.

In a new paper, Walter and her co-authors, Jill Viglione, Ph.D., and Marie Skubak Tillyer, Ph.D., from the UTSA Department of Criminal Justice, outline steps that public housing authorities can take to balance compliance with the Fair Housing Act with the need to keep their tenant population safe.

According to the researchers, many public housing providers are still using admissions criteria borne out of the tough-on-crime policies of the 1980s.  These "one-strike" policies made it difficult for individuals with criminal records to reintegrate into society, which is why the federal government has since advocated a "second chances" approach.

"Obtaining stable housing is a critical need for individuals returning from incarceration to the community," Viglione said.  "As a result of not finding housing post-release, individuals returning to society can face obstacles like residential instability and frequent moves, which have been linked to a likelihood to reoffend."

In addition, because black and Hispanic men are overrepresented in the U.S. prison system, denying housing based solely on criminal history could result in discrimination and violate the Fair Housing Act.

The researchers say that housing agencies should develop policies that consider a range of factors related to recidivism when making admission decisions, rather than simply relying on whether or not an applicant has ever been involved in the criminal justice system.

"We recommend that admission policies take into account the extent of criminal history, including types of crime and length of time since last conviction," Tillyer said.  "It is also important to consider employment status, family support and participation in treatment and rehabilitation programs."

The researchers point to a successful two-step admissions policy created by the Housing Authority of New Orleans as a model other public housing authorities could seek to emulate.  In 2016, the New Orleans authority enacted new policy that eliminated a ban on providing assisted housing to people with criminal records and instead focused on a process that reviewed each applicant on an individual, case-by-case basis.

UTSA is ranked among the top 400 universities in the world and among the top 100 in the nation, according to Times Higher Education.

- Jesus Chavez


The project is related to an ongoing research initiative at UTSA studying effectiveness of social services and resources helping former jail and prison inmates successfully reenter society.

Learn about UTSA Urban and Regional Planning, based in the College of Architecture, Construction and Planning.

Learn about the UTSA Department of Criminal Justice, based in the College of Public Policy.

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