Professor Heywood Sanders named interim chair, Department of Public Administration

06.11.18

Professor Heywood Sanders assumes the role of interim chair of the Department of Public Administration, effective May 15, 2018. He replaces Professor Christopher Reddick who served as chair form 2008 to 2018.
Sanders is a national expert in convention center industry and economic development. He has a distinguished service record and brings a significant amount of administrative experience to the table.

Heywood Sanders' research work focuses on publicly-funding convention centers and the politics of urban development. His newest publication, Convention Center Follies, levels city leaders' claims that convention centers contribute to economic development. His Brookings Institution white paper, "Space Available: The Realities of Convention Centers as Economic Development Strategy", published in January 2005 continues to cause debate among hotel and tourist industries and government entities. He is currently working on an updated version of the "Space Available" paper. He also served as a co-chair of the Urban Affairs Association annual meeting, held in San Antonio in April 2014, and presented a paper on consultant studies and development politics.

Dean of the College Rogelio Sáenz thanks Professor Chris Reddick for his many contributions as Chair, including the growth of the Master of Public Administration program, the establishment of the undergraduate program in public administration, and his leadership in the National Association of Schools of Public Affairs and Administration (NASPAA) reaccreditation of the MPA program in 2013.

Sanders’ position is effective May 15 through the 2018-2019 academic year.

COPP researchers working to improve effectiveness of human trafficking investigations

05.31.18

Criminal Justice Professor and Chair Michael Smith and Criminal Justice Associate Professor and Associate Dean Robert Tillyer are conducting research to examine the strengths and weakness of current tools that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) uses in its human trafficking investigations. Researchers may be able to assist in its efforts to reduce human trafficking incidents and help victims.

UTSA professors identify strengths and weaknesses of current ICE tools to prosecute human traffickers

(May 31, 2018) -- Human trafficking has emerged in recent years as an issue of national and international concern. Each year, millions of people worldwide are forced to work for little or no pay or exploited for sex. Estimates from the International Organization of Labor places the number of trafficked persons as high as 21 million worldwide, while the U.S. government estimates that 14,000 to 17,000 people are trafficked into the U.S. each year.

UTSA professors Michael Smith and Robert Tillyer want to reverse that trend. They are conducting research to examine the analytical tools that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) uses in its human trafficking investigations and victim assistance efforts.

“ICE Homeland Security Investigations [HSI] is one of two federal law enforcement agencies charged with investigating human trafficking crimes. While the agency makes use of many different intelligence sources, we may be able to assist in its efforts by analyzing non-classified data sources to help improve the effectiveness or efficiency of human trafficking investigations or the provision of services to victims,” said Smith.

The researchers will be looking at the strengths and weaknesses of the tools that ICE currently uses. Drawing on best practices from criminology and quantitative analytics, they will provide input to ICE about how to expand their toolbox to reduce human trafficking incidents and help victims.

In the first phase of the project, the UTSA researchers will begin to identify open source data maintained by non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that could be leveraged to assist ICE HSI in its efforts to disrupt human trafficking. During this phase, the team will conduct interviews with law enforcement agencies, NGOs and other human trafficking stakeholders both in Texas and at stakeholders’ Washington, D.C. headquarters offices.

The project will conclude with a preliminary analysis plan to help ICE improve the targeting of offenders, organizations and money flow. The researchers will also provide additional resources to ICE victim support personnel in their efforts to help human trafficking victims.

- Ingrid Wright

Pathway to Health Professions program featured in San Antonio Express-News

06.18.18

(photo credit: Robin Jerstad, freelance/San Antonio Express-News)

Brianna Casiano skipped a lot of regular checkups as a kid growing up in the Harlandale Independent School District because her parents didn’t have health insurance.

Now a 19-year-old college student and aspiring pediatric nurse, she knows better than most that access to health care is limited in her part of town. She’ll be a sophomore at the University of Texas at San Antonio in the fall, working on prerequisites for nursing school, and hopes to eventually work on the South Side. Read more.

Master of Social Work degree helps employees combat child neglect and abuse

06.18.18

Social workers from Corpus Christi, Texas now have their master's degrees thanks to a federally funded program that is helping Texas Child Protective Services (CPS) employees obtain their graduate degrees in social work. Senior Lecturer Jolyn Mikow oversees the Title IV-E program funded by the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services.

The 2018 cohort is the second graduating class from Corpus Christi, Texas. Students include employees of the Texas Department of Protective and Family Services Regions 8 (San Antonio) and 11 (Corpus Christi).

The program pays the tuition in the form of stipends to enable Child Protective Services (CPS) employees obtain their graduate education.

Researchers in the department saw a need to improve child welfare in Corpus Christi, an under-served region of the state. CPS employees who obtained their Master of Social Work through UTSA are now better equipped to address child well-being and help vulnerable families. They will work toward developing solutions to reduce the rates of child abuse and neglect and help reverse child death rates.

“Given the high rates of child abuse and neglect in Texas, CPS employees need the specific education, knowledge and the skills this degree provides to effectively intervene with the struggling families,” said Mikow.

Faculty from the UTSA Department of Social Work travel to Corpus Christi, Texas to deliver the curriculum to CPS employees all year round by offering six hours of class each Monday for spring, summer and fall semesters. Like their San Antonio counterparts, the MSW students complete two 450-hour practicums during the program at community agencies such as Corpus Christi, ISD, various hospice agencies in the community, the behavioral health center of Nueces County, and Metro ministries homeless shelter services. It takes about three years for a cohort to push through the program to graduate.

The graduating class said that the one-on-one relationships and individualized student attention provided by their instructors were truly beneficial. They were able to get in depth with many subjects. The faculty bring an extensive amount of practice and research to the classroom, enabling students to empower their communities. One of the participants, who graduated at the same time as her son, also a UTSA Roadrunner, says that without the program, it would have been more challenging to further her education.

The class of 2018 developed a sense of camaraderie and built long lasting relationships with themselves and members of the community. The Corpus cohort will take what they have learned and apply the knowledge toward improving child welfare and delivering quality services to families of low resource populations. 

Dean Rogelio Sáenz is recipient of distinguished humanitarian award

06.15.18

Professor and Dean Rogelio Sáenz received the Cesar Estrada Chavez Award for his leadership in support of workers’ rights and humanitarian issues. 

Sáenz was officially honored and recognized by the American Association for Access, Equity and Diversity (AAAED) at the 44th National Conference and Annual Meeting in Atlanta on June 6, 2018. AAAED is a national not-for-profit organization with professionals working in the areas of equal opportunity, compliance and diversity. Each year, the association awards individuals and organizations for outstanding efforts to promote equal opportunity and diversity in education, employment and business.

Rogelio Sáenz, Ph.D. is a Professor in the Department of Demography and holds the Mark G. Yudof Endowed Chair. He writes extensively in the areas of Latina/os, race and ethnic relations, inequality, immigration, public policy, social justice and human rights.

"This is a tremendous honor for work in the area of social justice and the award is quite meaningful as it honors the legacy of Cesar Chavez," said Sáenz.

Master of Social Work alumni start nonprofit to furnish houses of formerly homeless veterans

06.14.18

(photo credit: VetStrong's facebook page)

Veterans are helping hundreds of recently rehoused veterans by facilitating and delivering donations of household items and furniture to furnish the homes of vets and their families. 

VetStrong aims to reduce the rates of veterans abandoning their houses due to lack of furniture and supplies. At VetStrong, the furniture items represent more than just objects. They assist in improving the quality of lives for our vets and their families so that they can successfully reintegrate back into society. VetStrong distributes furnishings to turn a house into a home. VetStrong is part of a nationwide and comprehensive referral system called TXServes that connects thousands of service members, veterans and their families access to a continuum of providers for emergency services, employment, recreation, financial capabilities, and much more. When someone reaches out for help for donation of furniture, TXServes send a request to all nonprofits who deliver this service. VetStrong can accept the request and help those in need. Businesses are also getting in on the mix. Mattress Firm has donated some mattresses and other bedding supplies for vets and their families. Thanks to the generous support of the community and city leaders, VetStrong was able to acquire the warehouse to store all their donations and assist many more rehoused vets.

VetStrong is a nonprofit organization, which seeks to provide furniture for previously homeless U.S. veterans. We are located in San Antonio, Texas – Military City, USA. Our mission is to strengthen and enrich the lives of veterans and their families by turning their houses into homes. It is a 501c3 organization spearheaded by UTSA Master of Social Work alumnus James Pobanz, other UTSA alums and members of the community. For more information about VetStrong, visit their facebook page at www.facebook.com/VetStrong18.

How can I help?

Bring your lightly used or new household items and furniture to the grand opening on Saturday, July 7, 2018 or email vetstrong18@gmail.com to let the staff know which items you would like to consider donating.

VetStrong will have its ribbon cutting and grand opening on Saturday, July 7, 2018 from 10 a.m. - 1 p.m. at 1735 Babcock Rd., San Antonio, TX 78229. Rep. Diego Bernal and Councilwoman Ana Sandoval, District 7 will be in attendance to show their support for this wondrous occasion. For more info and to find ways you can help, visit vetstrong18@gmail.com. To garnish more community support, VetStrong is asking you to bring your lightly used or new household items or furniture such as lamps, beds, couches, nightstands, linens, chairs, etc. 

Recent grad wins new iPAD for completing post-graduation survey

06.14.18

(from left to right: Lecturer and Internship Coordinator Chris Booker, Divina Rodriguez, '18, and Professor and Department Chair Michael Smith)

Divina Rodriguez, who graduated with her bachelor of arts in criminal justice in spring 2018, won a brand new iPAD for completing the department's post-graduation survey. 

The Department of Criminal Justice conducts a post-graduation survey as an effort to follow their graduates’ career paths to see what types of jobs they are obtaining. The graduates’ responses will provide the department with critical information necessary for career and academic advising and student recruitment. The survey also helps measure how well the program is meeting the needs of its students and helps determine whether the program needs improvement in certain areas.

Graduating students who complete a survey at the end of each semester have their names placed in a drawing for a special prize.

UTSA downtown students will have new housing options

06.14.18

UTSA has partnered with the DoubleTree hotel and Tobin Lofts to accommodate students' housing needs while taking classes at the Downtown Campus.

UTSA Downtown students will have new housing options

(June 12, 2018) – The University of Texas at San Antonio has partnered with the Tobin Lofts and the Doubletree by Hilton San Antonio to offer housing to students taking classes at the Downtown Campus, starting this fall. The housing options are one of many initiatives underway to provide an enhanced student experience to students in the College of Architecture, Construction and Planning, College of Public Policy and College of Education and Human Development.

“This will be the first time since the Downtown Campus opened in 1997 that UTSA has worked with residence facilities to provide students and faculty with housing options in San Antonio’s urban core,” said Kevin Price, UTSA senior associate vice president of student life, dean of students and co-chair of the Housing Task Force for the Presidential Initiative on the Downtown Campus, along with co-chair Albert Carrisalez, assistant vice president of Government Relations and Policy.

UTSA students will have the option of living at the Tobin Lofts, located at 1415 N. Main St. near San Antonio College and about 10 minutes away from the Downtown Campus by car and 25-30 minutes by VIA bus. This fully furnished, college student community includes private rooms in a number of floor plans, with access to a full kitchen.

Amenities at the Tobin Lofts include a resort-style pool, a parking garage and a 24/7 community center, fitness center, business center and study lounge. The community is also open to UTSA faculty and is pet-friendly.

Five, 10 and 12-month leases are available at the Tobin Lofts. Rates start at $585/month.

Students may also lease rooms from the Doubletree by Hilton San Antonio Downtown, which is across the street from the Downtown Campus at 502 W. Cesar E. Chavez Blvd, San Antonio.

Doubletree accommodations include one complimentary parking pass for the hotel’s covered garage, complimentary wi-fi and local phone calls, a mini refrigerator, a 50” flat panel LCD TV, free cable with 54 channels including HBO and 11 sports channels, an outdoor pool with courtyard seating, a 24-hour fitness facility, a business center, on-site coin laundry facility (with a weekly shuttle to a nearby laundromat during hotel renovations) and a Downtown hourly shuttle from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Housekeeping service will be provided at the Doubletree once each week with fresh linens and towels.

Students at the DoubleTree would lease a room from August 17 to December 15, 2018. The cost is $5,180 per semester for a King Standard Bedroom - Single Occupancy and $3,579 per person per semester for a Two Double Beds Standard Room - Double Occupancy. Students should note that the DoubleTree will be under renovations from August through December 2018.

Students who want to live at the DoubleTree in a double room with a roommate should reserve their space at the same time as their roommate. Students should contact Cherilyn Patteson in the UTSA Office of Student Life at cherilyn.patteson@utsa.edu or 210-458-4720 for assistance in finding a roommate.

Freshmen may also choose to live in one of UTSA’s Main Campus residence halls – Alvarez Hall, Laurel Village, Chaparral Village, Chisholm Hall or University Oaks – while taking classes at the Downtown Campus. There, students will have access to the Roadrunner Café and have the option of taking a free shuttle to the Downtown Campus for their block classes.

The Downtown Campus shuttle will depart at 8 a.m. on Mondays through Thursdays from the bus stop at the North Paseo Building and drop students off at the Downtown Campus in front of the Frio Street Building. It will leave the Downtown Campus on those days at 4:30 p.m. to return students to the Main Campus.

Students may also travel back and forth between the Main and Downtown Campuses using VIA Route 93. The Fall 2018 VIA student pass, which goes on sale in August at Roadrunner Express, costs $38 per semester.

The UTSA Downtown Campus, located in the heart of San Antonio’s business, social and cultural scenes, offers undergraduate and graduate degree programs in the College of Architecture, Construction and Planning, College of Public Policy and College of Education and Human Development. Currently, more than one-third of UTSA’s graduate students take classes at the Downtown Campus.

Food amenities at the Downtown Campus include Subway, Pizza Hut, Starbucks, a salad bar and Provisions on Demand.

- Christi Fish

The 2017 COPP Research Report available

06.12.18

The UTSA College of Public Policy is pleased to share its 2017 Research Report. Report outlines the sponsored research, scholarly activity, research awards received, and active sponsored projects by department.

Click on image to see full report or download pdf .

2017 UTSA College of Public Policy Research Report

Criminal justice alumnus named assistant chief of police for UTSA

06.12.18

Police Chief Gerald Lewis names Captain Daniel J. Kiley, '00 assistant chief of police for the University of Texas at San Antonio. Kiley, a veteran of the United States Air Force, has an outstanding service record and has served UTSA since 1996.

(June 12, 2018) -- UTSA Police Chief Gerald Lewis has announced Captain Daniel J. Kiley ’00 has been named assistant chief of police for the university. Kiley was assigned to serve as the assistant chief of police ad interim in September 2017 after the retirement of long-time assistant chief Daniel Pena.

Kiley began his tenure at UTSA in 1996 as a state certified peace offer after graduating from the University of Texas System Police Academy. Since 2007, Kiley has served as the UTSA Police Department (UTSA PD)’s Support Services Commander. In that role, he was responsible for the management and supervision of accreditation, communications, community affairs, criminal investigations, evidence, security services, training and behavioral intervention.

Working his way up the ranks, Kiley has held numerous positions with UTSA PD including training sergeant, procurement officer, fleet management and evidence custodian. He was promoted to lieutenant in 2001 and assigned as the patrol commander until 2007 before his promotion to captain in April 2004.

Kiley’s experience in law enforcement spans 44 years. Prior to joining UTSA, he enlisted in the United States Air Force in 1974, serving in the security police career field for 21 years until his retirement as a master sergeant. While in the Air Force, he served six overseas tours and three in the continental United States. He supported Operations Desert Storm, Desert Shield and Bosnia. While in the Air Force, he earned an Associate’s Degree in Criminology from the Community College of the Air Force.

Kiley is also a UTSA alumnus. He earned a Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice from UTSA in August 2000. In February 2005, he completed the Command Staff Leadership Series at the Sam Houston State University Criminal Justice Center. Kiley is also a graduate of the 56th Leadership Command College of the Law Enforcement Management Institute of Texas (June 2007) and, in September 2008, Kiley graduated from the F.B.I. National Academy, Session 234, in Quantico, Va. In March 2011, Kiley completed the three-week Leadership in Police Organizations course sponsored by the International Association of Chiefs of Police.

Kiley received his Master Peace Officer certification in October 2005, and he obtained his Instructor Certificate from the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement Standards and Education in 2001. In 2005, he received his certification as a firearms instructor. He also holds train-the-trainer certifications from the National Memorial Institute for the Prevention of Terrorism (MIPT) for Information Collection on Patrol (July 2011) and from LSU for Campus Public Safety Response to Weapons of Mass Destruction Awareness Level (Oct 2003). In November 2007, he received his certification for Accreditation Manager Training provided by the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA).

- Melissa May

Criminal Justice professors’ research on human trafficking featured in News Radio 1200 WOAI

06.11.18

Criminal Justice Professor Michael Smith and Associate Professor Rob Tillyer are researching the roots of human trafficking and working with Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials to provide information needed to combat the problem.

Michael Smith, who heads the department, says one thing is certain, and that's that human trafficking, both for sex and labor, is directly tied to illegal immigration.

"The victims will pay to gain illegal entry into the United States," he said. "But once they are here, the traffickers then have leverage over them."

He says most Texans would be surprised at the level of human trafficking. He says it would not be surprising to learn that one of the people who mows your yard or serves you lunch in a restaurant is essentially a slave, working for a trafficking gang who exploits their labor for their own profit. Read more from WOAI.

Social Work student awarded Ima Hogg scholarship for mental health

06.11.18

(Credit: Hogg Foundation for Mental Health) Reports from 2015 show that more than 3 million Texans lacked psychiatric services. Genesis Guillen, Master of Social Work student and one of the recipients of the 2018 Ima Hogg Scholarship, hopes to reverse that trend by working toward improving the quality of mental health services in the state of Texas. 

Each year, the Hogg Foundation awards Ima Hogg Scholarships to graduate social work students who are committed to joining the mental health workforce. By investing in the education of the students, the Hogg Foundation is also investing in the future of mental health in Texas. The state of mental health is in critical condition. More than 70 percent of counties across the state did not have a single psychiatrist in residence, according to reports from 2015. Our College is proud to have Master of Social Work students who are dedicated to making a difference in the lives of people who need mental care.

Genesis will best serve those seeking quality mental health care through her compassion and persistence. "What defines me is everything that I have accomplished despite facing adversity. Adversity has made me an open-minded, persistent, compassionate, and strong-willed woman that respects human dignity and believes in social justice," said Genesis.

Click here to see the list of all the recipients.

Photo credit: The University of Texas at Austin Division of Diversity and Community Engagement.

Improving child welfare: Q&A with Jolyn Mikow

06.11.18

Senior Lecturer Jolyn Mikow, is working with Child Protective Services employees to help them attain their graduate degrees in social work.

Q&A: Jolyn Mikow, UTSA Department of Social Work

(June 5, 2018) -- Jolyn Mikow focuses on cultural issues in social work, child welfare abuse and neglect prevention and intervention, and the evaluation of social service programs. As director of the UTSA Social Work Education Program Title IV-E (SWEPT) in the College of Public Policy, she works with Texas Child Protective Services (CPS) employees who are studying to earn their master’s degrees.

We sat down with professor Mikow to talk about her work with CPS employees to reduce child deaths rates in San Antonio.

You always have lots of projects going on at once. What’s exciting you the most these days?

We are planning for the expansion of the SWEPT contract to be able to fund more CPS employees getting their graduate degree in Social Work. Given the high rates of child abuse and neglect in Texas, CPS employees need the specific education, knowledge and skills this degree provides to effectively intervene with the struggling families.

The funds provided in the form of stipends, for CPS employees committed to a career in public child welfare, are used to pay tuition & other educational costs, allowing theses employees to get their Master of Social Work degree. After obtaining the degree, these employees are contracted to stay employed with CPS for a defined period of time. Once the contract period has been completed, they can leave the agency with no repayment of the stipend.

Our students include employees of the Texas Department of Protective and Family Services Regions 8 (San Antonio) and 11 (Corpus Christi). There are more than 10 similar programs in the state of Texas at other universities and more than 100 across the nation.

What impact do you hope your research will have?

I believe promoting an educated CPS workforce will translate into lower rates of child abuse and neglect and help reverse the high child death rates in San Antonio. It is rewarding to watch the CPS students begin to grow and develop in their understanding of social works focus and knowledge about struggling high need, low resource populations.

How has your personal journey influenced your work?

I was, for more than 13 years, a CPS employee, and I earned my graduate degree with the support of this very same program in rural West Texas. I remember that the growth I experienced and enhanced skills and knowledge I gained changed how I worked my cases and saw the struggle of these families and children. It was a revelation and made me a much more effective CPS employee. That experience inspired me to get my Ph.D.

Have you had any mentors?

Yes, there was one memorable supervisor that supported me in my growth and was encouraging. Attending graduate school while working full-time with kids at home was a stretch, but she consistently encouraged me to hang in there.

What do you think is the biggest challenge researchers in your field are facing?

The biggest challenge to this program is the decreasing funding rate. Since starting, we have experienced a 50 percent decrease in funding, which translates into fewer CPS students getting their Master of Social Work degree. It has been a challenge to keep the funding up without cutting any services or student stipends. Some years, it is close and I rely on the UTSA Downtown Campus Research Service Center to work with me through the budgeting process.

Any advice for this generation of students?

Yes. Pursuing your graduate degree is worth it, even if you just go part time so you can work. It will open all kinds of doors. Your life will be richer and more rewarding for it.

- Ingrid Wright

UTSA welcomes new cohort to Pathway to Health Professions Program

05.23.18

High school students from across San Antonio will spend the summer at UTSA to participate in the Pathway to Health Professions (PHP) enrichment summer program.

PHP is a six-week program through the UTSA Policy Studies Center that provides high school students and pre-health profession college students with an education program that will assist them in becoming competitive applicants to health professional schools and programs.

“I want to be a dentist,” said Mary Ramirez, a high school sophomore participating in the program this summer. “It’s really going to help me understand what it’s going to take to achieve my dreams in the dentistry field.”

Students selected to participate in the PHP program were chosen because of their applications, outstanding recommendation letters and their captivating personal statements. Many of the participants are first-generation students and being selected for this program truly is an incredible leap for their future and the hopes of their families.

“My daughter wants to get a head start in the nursing profession," said Marco Zapata, father of a PHP student. "I know it’s hard to get into [nursing] programs, but I believe she can do it! Pathway to Health Professions is really going to help prepare my daughter into becoming who she wants to be.”

PHP’s mission not only prepares the students for a future in the healthcare field, but readies them by offering them standardized test preparation, application tutorials, financial literacy workshops and simulated interviews. Students will collaborate across multiple networks to expand their curiosity around healthcare and demonstrate the identity of a health professional.

“The Pathway program helps students become competitive applicants when they apply health professions schools,” says Natalia Garcia, senior program coordinator of Pathway to Health Professions. “It is truly wonderful to see the students, parents and UTSA come together in order for our Pathway students to achieve this goal. We are excited to start our third summer academic enrichment program."

PHP also helps students with the skills they will need to finance their education, along with credit and debt management. This program helps strengthen their professional portfolio, but more importantly, gets them on track for long-term success.

“The Pathway is not an ordinary summer experience,” said Dr. Miguel Bedolla, director of Pathway to Health Professions. "This program is actually intended to be a six-year, academic enrichment experience. PHP is designed to help each student mature from a high school student into a competitive applicant for the health professional school or program of their choice by the time they are ready to graduate from college.”

The Pathway to Health Professions summer program is June 11 to July 20 on the UTSA Downtown Campus.

- Brenda Peña

News 4 features Marcos Mendoza: recent grad reflects on his deployment and what’s ahead

05.15.18

IMG 44601.JPGGraduation is an exciting time for many, and for Marcos, the sky is the limit. Marcos, who crossed the stage at the 2018 UTSA Commencement Ceremony on May 12, talks about his journey to getting his Master's degree from the College of Public Policy, opportunities ahead, and his military experience that shaped his decision to pursue a degree in Criminal Justice in this News 4 San Antonio feature story.

Love of country and a passion for justice is what keeps Marcos Mendoza going.

Marcos graduated from the University of Texas at San Antonio with a Masters degree in Criminal Justice & Criminology. A big honor for this striving professional who started his post-high school career by joining the military in the months following 9/11.

"I felt it was my obligation to defend my country by serving in the United States Air Force after a cowardly act in 9/11."

In 2004, Marcos was deployed to Balad where he served under the 332nd Expeditionary Medical Group, providing medical treatment to injured soldiers and Marines.

When he returned to San Antonio, Marcos decided to pursue a degree in Criminal Justice at Northwest Vista College. Then, he joined the Hondo Police Department as a patrol officer.

Not long after that, he would return to UTSA to continue his education.

"As soon as I began my studies at UTSA, I set high standards for myself and immediately became engaged in my classes, student life, and community," says Marcos. "My goal was to increase my knowledge about our criminal justice policies and eventually play a role in reforming, implementing, and designing policies to better serve public safety."

Now, with his bachelor and master degrees in hand, Marcos looks ahead to the European Innovation Academy in Italy this summer, where he'll work with CEOs from all over the world to develop new business technology.

Even with all his success, Marcos doesn't lose sight of his humble childhood. His family moved to San Antonio from Monterrey, Mexico in the mid-1980s looking for a better opportunity.

"I remember my mother would stand in line during cold raining days in the Santa gift fundraiser to receive gifts for my brothers and I a week before Christmas just so we would have gifts to open for Christmas Eve," he says.

"I credit my success to the love, values, hard work, commitment, and moral support I received from my parents. I always strive to make my family proud and aspired to serve my community and country."

Story Credit: SBG San Antonio | May 14, 2018


Marcos continues to give back to his community and stay engaged with opportunities to teach the next generation of public servants and career professionals. The day before his graduation, he gave a presentation to middle and high school students representing Region 20 at the annual UTSA P-20 Parent Engagement Summit, which took place at UTSA's Downtown Camus. Educational administrators and career professionals representing various career tracks were present to provide students and parents many college and career preparatory resources. Parent engagement continues to be critical to student success.  Students had the opportunity to listen to Marcos's presentation on college life. Marcos showed images representing his college experiences and encouraged students to get involved with as many opportunities that come their way. Students were excited to learn that Marcos is a first generation student and veteran who never gave up on his dream.

He graduated with his bachelor's and master's degrees from UTSA's College of Public Policy, became of member of the Criminal Justice Honor Society Alpha Phi Sigma, traveled to Guadalajara, Mexico for the College's Study Abroad Program, worked as an Economic Development Associate for AmeriCorps VISTA, and now, plans to travel to Europe to work with business leaders from all over the world to develop new business technology.

Alumni from the College were also present to participate in the "Discovering Careers" Roundtable. These alums were identified as champions to discuss the relationships between education and career. In this one-on-one session, students and family members asked questions to the volunteers related to the educational requirements for their job, how they got started in their careers, and what advice they have for those who want to pursue a career in public service. 

Assistant professor applies art to research on sexual abuse and violence prevention

05.14.18

Q&A with Ingrid Wright

(May 14, 2018) – M. Candace Christensen is an assistant professor of social work in the College of Public Policy. She uses feminist research methods to explore gender-based violence prevention and response.

Specifically, her research explores sexual assault prevention and response on college campuses. She also uses arts-based research methods to raise awareness of gender-based violence.

Earlier this week, we sat down with professor Christensen to learn more about her work.

What’s exciting you the most these days?

I love using the arts in my research. Recently, I’ve been using photography to prevent campus sexual violence. I’ve been training UTSA students on how to use photographs to transform rape culture and create a campus culture of respect. This type of research is called photovoice.

Recently, student photographers helped us analyze photographs they composed, which means the participants were also researchers. We call this community-based participatory research (CBPR); the community members are the participants and trained to also be the researchers. Integrating CBPR with arts-based research methods has been very rewarding.

In 2017, my Master’s of Social Work (MSW) students recruited undergraduate students to take photographs that inspire dialogues about rape culture.

One student took a photograph of a woman wearing a short skirt, and on the woman’s thigh several words were handwritten. Below the knee someone handwrote “Old Fashioned”, above the knee “Proper”, and at the top of the thigh is the word “Whore”. This picture illustrates how we still blame victims for sexual assault. People often note what the victim was wearing and use that to explain why the violence occurred.

Another student composed a picture of a multi-colored, textured brick wall with a rusted, metal bracket inserted into the wall. The uneven bricks represented the emotional scars that a victim of sexual violence endures and the iron bracket represents the social, emotional and physical sources of support that a victim needs to heal from the violence.

What impact do you hope to see your research have?

I hope my research helps people to care about sexual violence, to see it as a problem worthy of their time and attention. I also hope that the people who participate in my research projects feel like they have developed self-awareness, knowledge of the problem, and will share their new understanding about sexual violence with others in the community.

The students who participated in my photovoice projects received a framed copy of two of their photographs. It’s my hope that these reminders help the photographers feel proud that they addressed sexual violence with expressive, meaningful images.

Last April, my MSW students curated an exhibit of 14 images (out of 50-plus photos taken by students) that was displayed in the UTSA Gallery 23. I hope that members of the UTSA community and visitors strolled through the exhibit and were moved by the powerful images the students created.

How has your personal journey influenced your work?

I have a background in the arts, and I am a survivor of sexual violence. During my first year in college, various men perpetrated multiple acts of sexual misconduct against me. I believe that most women have experienced at least one form of sexual violence.

In 1990, date rape was just barely entering the mainstream media, but it was definitely not discussed on college campuses. That has sensitized me to the problem and made me intent on addressing it through my research.

I have been involved with the arts since I was a little girl. I studied dance for decades, and I majored in drama and literature to earn my bachelor’s degree. My work represents my passion for creativity and the arts, as well as my aspiration to prevent sexual violence.

Tell us about your mentors.

I have had so many amazing mentors. They believed in my ability to accomplish whatever I chose to pursue. They conveyed this belief by learning about my aspirations, boosting my confidence when it was low, and connecting me with resources I needed to make progress toward my goals.

Second, my mentors challenged me in ways that felt supportive and resulted in my professional growth. Almost 20 years ago, I was accepted to the Harvard Divinity School after the minister of the church I was attending encouraged me to apply for the program. Unfortunately, I didn’t have the confidence to follow through on that opportunity. And my mentor, the minister, supported my decision to not take the offer.

But he told me that I needed to do more with my life. He said, “Candace, you are vivid and vital. Too vivid for the status quo.”

Those words stayed with me through my decision to pursue a Ph.D. While I didn’t take the Harvard opportunity, I believe that I have a career path that combines my passions, talents and serves a significant need.

What’s the biggest challenge researchers in your field are facing?

Community-based participatory research is time and resource intensive. Negotiating between the requirements for making tenure and developing the community relationships necessary for doing CBPR can be stressful.

Universities are increasingly moving toward a product-based reward system, where quantity versus quality is valued. CBPR researchers have to be mindful of both meeting the product-based expectations of their universities and building authentic relationships with the community.

Any advice for this generation of students?

Education is an excellent investment. Education will enhance your life in ways that you cannot predict at this point in your life. Trust that what you learn will enrich your career, your relationships and your community.

A need for a new and broader way of studying crime

05.14.18

In his op-ed for the San Antonio Express-News, Criminal Justice Assistant Professor and Criminologist Dylan Jackson says a multidisciplinary approach to criminology research is key to finding meaningful solutions to preventing violence and reducing recidivism.

In the wake of tragedy, such as the recent shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, the issues of crime and violence become especially salient in the public consciousness.

Among the scientists working to prevent violence and improve criminal justice responses to crime are criminologists. No doubt, criminological scholarship has the potential to influence policies that can enhance public safety, promote social justice and even reduce the billions of dollars spent each year on various criminal justice expenditures.  Read more.

COPP students shine at the Annual Student Recognition Awards Ceremony

05.03.18

The College of Public Policy recognized and honored its most outstanding and talented students at the annual Student Recognition Ceremony on April 30, 2018.

The COPP Student Recognition Ceremony awards students for the academic achievements throughout the year in the areas of research, scholarship, and leadership. Below are the recipients:

First Name Last Name Award
Amanda Mosley Office of Undergraduate Research Grant Winners
Ayesha Meghani Office of Undergraduate Research Grant Winners
Judith Jones Archer Fellow
Caitlin Caswell Archer Fellow
Raymond Banks Archer Fellow
Josh Barrera Bush School of Government and Public Service for a Master’s of International Relations for Fall 2018. He was also given a $3,000.00 scholarship.
Caitlin Caswell Juanita Firestone Endowed Scholarship Recipient
Angela Lazo-Ramos Canseco Scholarship Recipient
Alejandra Gonzalez Canseco Scholarship Recipient
Maria Arroyo Canseco Scholarship Recipient
Heather Walchar The Gunn Family Endowed Scholarship in Social Work Recipient
Oluwabunmi Adenuga The Gunn Family Endowed Scholarship in Social Work Recipient
Kamera Griffin The Gunn Family Endowed Scholarship in Social Work Recipient
Stephanie Barrera Border Patrol Agent Ricardo Salinas Criminal Justice Memorial Scholarship Recipient
Wendy Trotter Border Patrol Agent Ricardo Salinas Criminal Justice Memorial Scholarship Recipient
Branden Dross Dominion Rotary Club Past President's Fund Scholarship Recipient
Rex Brien Dominion Rotary Club Past President's Fund Scholarship Recipient
Araceli Castaneda Ruben Munguia Endowed Scholarship Recipient
Rex Brien Lauren Miller and Steven Douglas Walthour Endowed Scholarship Recipient
Jose Contreras Lauren Miller and Steven Douglas Walthour Endowed Scholarship Recipient
Samantha Metayer Lauren Miller and Steven Douglas Walthour Endowed Scholarship Recipient
Matthew Martinez Samuel A. and Pamela R. Kirkpatrick Endowed Presidential Scholarship Recipient
Porsche Harris Gloria Gleen Reedy Endowed Scholarship for Social Work
Jessica McCann Gloria Gleen Reedy Endowed Scholarship for Social Work
Muntasir Masum COPP Student Research Paper Competition Winner - Doctoral
Paul Gray COPP Student Research Paper Competition Winner - Masters
Josh Barrera COPP Student Research Paper Competition Winner - Undergraduate
Marcos Mullin Jane Findling Award
Andrea Ramos Fernandez Jane Findling Award
Stephanie Barrera COPP Most Outstanding Undergraduate Student Finalist
James Rivera COPP Most Outstanding Undergraduate Student Finalist
Maverick Crawford COPP Most Outstanding Undergraduate Student Winner
Brenda Arellano COPP Most Outstanding Graduate Student Finalist
Jeremiah Rivera COPP Most Outstanding Graduate Student Finalist
Daniela Salinas COPP Most Outstanding Graduate Student Finalist
Marcos Mendoza COPP Most Outstanding Graduate Student Finalist
Marissa Hinton COPP Most Outstanding Graduate Student Winner
Andrew Vasquez 3MT Competition Finalist
Andrew Vasquez submitted Research Paper
Carrie Robbins submitted Research Paper
Jeongsoo Kim submitted Research Paper
Colton Daniels submitted Research Paper
Stephanie Hernandez submitted Research Paper
Genesis Guillen Hogg Scholarship Recipient
Bricio Vasquez AAHHE Fellowship
   

Three COPP students selected for the prestigious Archer Fellowship Program

05.03.18

Three talented COPP graduate students will spend the 2018 summer semester in the nation's capital to gain more knowledge about the federal policy making process.

Congratulations to the following graduate students who are 2018 fellows of the Archer Graduate Program in Public Policy:

Judith Jones (Master of Social Work)
Judith has received several scholarships including the World Foreign Affairs Council and she has presented at the National Research Symposium at Texas A&M San Antonio on "Women and Workplace Stress." Judith has been featured in Our Kids Magazine and she is active in community collaborations. Her current mission is to address the affordable housing crisis in America. Judith is a Policy Research Intern at the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine. Her work will focus on the well-being of military families. 

Caitlin Caswell (Master of Social Work)

During her time as an educator through Teach for America, Caswell became passionate about addressing the inequities in America's public education system. After graduating from UTSA, Caswell hopes to earn a doctorate in social policy and eventually work in a nonprofit or governmental agency to advocate for policy that promotes educational equity, especially for children of marginalized communities. Caitlin secured an internship with the Alliance for Excellent Education. She is a policy and advocacy intern.

"I am so excited to use this opportunity in DC to learn about the federal policies that effect my clients as a social worker and to gain experience advocating for policies that are more equitable," said Caswell. 

Raymond Banks (Master of Public Administration) 

Raymond is interested in serving his community at the local, state, or federal level. He secured an internship with the U.S. Department of Defense.

Students intern at a place of their choosing based on their own professional and academic goals and interests. 

The Archer Center's Graduate Program in Public Policy was established in 2010 by The University of Texas System as a way to bring graduate and medical students interested in policy and politics to our nation’s capital to learn about the federal government and public service. Learn more about the current 2018 fellows.

Restoring Justice: Q&A with Lecturer Robert Rico

05.03.18

(May 2, 2018) -- Robert Rico is a lecturer in the UTSA Department of Criminal Justice and the assistant director of the Office of Community and Restorative Justice in the College of Public Policy.

Rico specializes in restorative justice and police-community relations. His work advances policing methodologies by using restorative justice and community policing philosophies. He co-authored the book “Restorative Discipline and Practices” with Dr. Gayle Lang.

We sat down with professor Rico this week to learn about his work in restorative justice.

Can you tell us about the pathway that led you to UTSA?

Growing up on San Antonio’s west side, social and economic conditions shaped my life. Some of my childhood friends dropped out of school and eventually got involved with the criminal justice system.

I decided that education would be a pathway that would lead me to better opportunities. I’m a first-gen graduate of UTSA.

You always have lots of projects going on at once. Can you talk about your research in restorative justice?

My journey in restorative justice (RJ) began during my career in law enforcement. I felt that traditional punitive justice does not allow offenders the opportunity repair the damage done.

As a juvenile investigator from 1994 to 2000, it was clear to me that some of the youth who were committing crimes were reoffending. The same names appeared on the reports. They were being prosecuted but their behaviors didn’t change. Somehow, we expected a different result from punishment.

I needed to change the way I did policing. Something about the traditional justice process didn’t feel right to me. I thought there had to be another way other than punishment to hold people accountable for their actions—an intervention.

During my tenure as a police officer, I developed and served as program coordinator of the Restorative Justice Program of Kendall County. In the fall of 2012, I spearheaded and was a field consultant for a restorative justice pilot program at Edward White Middle School here in San Antonio. This program planted the seed in bringing restorative justice practices to Texas public schools. Most recently, I led the effort to bring restorative justice processes to UTSA to supplement student conduct policies.

Criminal law is not strictly black and white. Restorative justice is about making things right and, as a peace officer, I found a relational avenue that permitted offenders and victims to come together for a peaceful dialogue to help resolve problems.

How has your personal journey influenced your work?

My love and passion for policing allowed me to build supportive relationships and appreciation for all people. Through my experiences in law enforcement, I developed my passion for teaching criminal justice theories and practices. It is my desire to reinforce the importance of high moral standards and doing the “right thing” in criminal justice professions.

Who are your heroes?

I thank and honor my mother for the wisdom and values I have gained. She would always tell me to be kind to others and respect living things. Even though our family didn’t have much, she would always help people in need of food or clothes. Her parental warmth and discipline assisted me through difficult times in my life. She helped me to become the person I am today and gave me a sense of purpose in my life. I’m truly grateful for all she did to raise me.

What do you like to do in your free time?

Mostly, I like to spend time with my wife and three-year old daughter. Being a father brings me so much joy. When I’m free from my father duties, I like to read professional journals on criminal justice and restorative justice. I also volunteer my time to professional associations and train others in restorative justice practices. For fun I enjoy music, dancing, roller-skating and biking.

What is the one thing going on in your field that nobody’s talking about?

I would like to see inclusive forums for discussing criminal justice policy. People from all backgrounds need to be part of the dialogue to help develop commonsense criminal justice policies. There needs to be more discussion on reducing the racial and ethnic disparities in the criminal justice system. These disparities occur at different levels of the justice system and are at times based on discretionary decisions made by criminal justice practitioners. These actions foster public mistrust and none are more effected than police officers. It is difficult for law enforcement to build relationships and collaborate with the communities they serve if they are not trusted and misunderstood.

- Ingrid Wright

Alpha Phi Sigma host career panel with international security organization

05.03.18

The Criminal Justice National Honor Society Alpha Phi Sigma hosted a networking event with the American Society of International Security (ASIS) to present opportunities for criminal justice and cyber security students to explore careers in security management and law enforcement within the public and private sector. Almost one-hundred participants attended the event at the UTSA Downtown Campus on April 10.

Henry Meade, Lecturer III in the Department of Criminal Justice and Advisor for Alpha Phi Sigma invited his class along with students from the UTSA College of Business Cyber Security program to listen to a panel of experts talk about their job missions and security partnerships. They also had the opportunity to network one-on-one with representatives from employers such as the FBI, Covergint Technologies, Texas Biomed, Securitas, City of San Antonio, USAA, Accenture, Randolph Air Force Base, and others.

“It’s vital to provide our students an opportunity to recognize the numerous other job opportunities that a Criminal Justice education can provide,” said Meade.

“By APS hosting ASIS, we were able to give our students a glimpse of how private and public sector institutions work together in securing our homeland. The same students who attended this evening also participated in a “game day” observation with the San Antonio Spurs Security Team."

“This first hand observation was intended to give our students a understanding of the magnitude of preparation the private sector security and public law enforcement are involved in while securing a NBA game," Meade added.

Dionne Davila, Career Counselor for the University Career Center at UTSA, talks about how students benefit from meeting potential employers.

“The purpose of this career exploration event is to get employers in front of the students. The representatives are in the position to be able to teach students the importance of marketable skills and selling themselves.”

Alex Johnson, San Antonio Police Department (San Antonio Free Fear Environment) SAFFE Officer, facilitated the event and introduced the guests in attendance. Mark Hammergren, Security Management Professional and Regional Vice-President for the San Antonio ASIS chapter, talked about the benefits of being a member. ASIS has partnerships with private and public sector employers. He encouraged students to join the organization to build connections with key professionals in the industry. ASIS offers certifications to help members gain a competitive edge in the marketplace and to enhance their career and earning potential.

Criminal Justice Department Chair Michael Smith attended the event, welcomed ASIS members and encouraged students to soak up as much knowledge from this experience as they can. He says these types of exploration events are paramount for professional advancement and for helping students uncover the steps needed to craft their careers.

Students listed to a panel of experts talk about how they got started in their careers. Employers talked about the day-to-day duties on the job and gave advice for those seeking careers in security. One of the members of the panel, an immigration representative from Covergint -- a service based organization that works with universities, healthcare, life safety systems, and infant abduction systems, stressed the importance of having mentors. He also mentioned employees in the security profession should keep up with the ever-changing industry due to advancements in technology. Criminal Justice Alumna Nishita Maliek, who graduated with her BS in Criminal Justice and Master’s of Science in Criminal Justice & Criminology, was present in the audience. She works as an Investigator with Keypoint Government Solutions. She gave advice to the students, telling them to take advantage of these types of opportunities. After the end of the panel session, students had a chance to speak to the security professionals individually.

“I was very pleased that UTSA students had the chance to see the valuable career of a criminal justice degree,” said Criminal Justice and Public Administration student Maverick Crawford, III. “I learned how ASIS works continuously to secure our nation with various programs and agencies.”

ASIS has been in existence since 1955. It is the world’s largest membership organization for security management practitioners. ASIS has hundreds of chapters across the world with members representing a wide array of industries in the public and private sectors.

Policy Studies Center welcomes new students to the UTSA Pathway to Health Professions summer program

04.25.18

High school students and their parents gather for orientation to get valuable information on what to expect for the six-week enrichment summer program.

High school students from across San Antonio gathered early this month for the Pathway to Health Professions (PHP) orientation. PHP is a program under the UTSA Policy Studies Center that provides high school students and pre-health profession college students with an education program that will assist them in becoming competitive applicants to health professional schools and programs. The orientation provides valuable information for students participating in PHP and insight into what to expect this summer as they participate in this six-week experience.

“I want to be a dentist,” says high school sophomore, Mary Ramirez. “ It’s really going to help me understand what it’s going to take to achieve my dreams in the dentistry field.”

Students selected to participate in the PHP program were chosen because of their applications, outstanding recommendation letters and their captivating personal statements. Many of the participants selected are first generation students and being selected for this program truly is an incredible leap in the right direction for their future and the hopes of their families.

“My daughter wants to get a headstart in the nursing profession,"  says Marco Zapata, father of PHP student.  "I know it’s hard to get into [nursing] programs, but I believe she can do it! Pathway to Health Professions is really going to help prepare my daughter into becoming who she wants to be.”

PHP’s mission is not only to prepare them for a future in the healthcare field, but readies them by offering them standardized test preparation, application tutorials, financial literacy workshops and simulated interviews. Students will collaborate across multiple networks to expand their curiosity around healthcare and demonstrate the identity of a health professional.

“The Pathway program helps students become competitive applicants when they apply health professions schools,” says Natalia Garcia, Senior Program Coordinator of Pathway to Health Professions. “It is truly wonderful to see the students, parents, and UTSA come together in order for our Pathway students to achieve this goal. We are excited to start our third summer academic enrichment program soon!"

PHP also helps students with the financial skills they will need to finance their education, along with credit and debt management. This program helps strengthen their professional portfolio, but more importantly, gets them on a track for long term success.

“The Pathway is not an ordinary summer experience,” says Dr. Miguel Bedolla, Director of Pathway to Health Professions. "This program is actually intended to be a six-year, academic enrichment experience. PHP is designed to help each student mature from a high school student into a competitive applicant for the health professional school or program of their choice by the time they are ready to graduate from college.”

The Pathway to Health Professions summer program will occur June 11 to July 20. To learn more about the Pathway to Health Professions program please visit their website and Facebook pages.

-- by Brenda Peña, MPA

Q&A with Criminal Justice Professor Richard Hartley

04.16.18

Criminal Justice Professor Richard Hartley specializes in the administration of justice and criminal court processes. He talks about his federally funded project involving veterans treatment courts and the impact he hopes he research will have in the future.

Q&A: Richard D. Hartley, UTSA Department of Criminal Justice

(April 12, 2018) -- Richard D. Hartley is a professor in the UTSA Department of Criminal Justice who specializes in the administration of justice, namely decision-making practices surrounding criminal court processes. His research has been funded by federal and local agencies and by private foundations such as the National Institute of Justice, the Bureau of Justice Statistics, the American Statistical Association, the Texas Access to Justice Foundation and Bexar County.

We sat down with Professor Hartley recently to learn more about his international collaborations and the outlook of the criminal justice industry.

What’s exciting you the most these days?

I am very excited that I am at a stage in my career where I have had some time to engage in original data collection on several projects as well as engage with other scholars outside the United States on international collaborations. For example, I have worked with international colleagues to administer a social science survey to university students in the United States and Malaysia regarding cultural and demographic differences in involvement in crime. I have also collected data on judicial sentencing decisions for convicted drug traffickers in one provincial court in Spain and presented findings from my research in Colombia, Canada and Scotland.

Currently, I am involved in a federally funded, mixed-method evaluation of veterans treatment courts (VTC) that involves court observations and in-depth interviews with participants across eight VTC programs in three different states. Having the time and opportunity to collect original data allows for exploration of research questions that most often cannot be answered by using government, or other official, data sources. Finally, international collaboration allows for exploration of different approaches to crime and justice and offers a unique perspective in how to examine future research questions.

What impact do you hope your research will have?

I hope that my research findings have advanced our understanding of the correlates of court decision-making practices and uncovered contexts in which decisions at earlier stages (bail, type of attorney, prosecutorial charging and bargaining) have the potential to condition formal legal outcomes. The research questions my colleagues and I investigate concentrate on exploring and uncovering disparities in sentencing practices, with a focus on individual decision-makers such as prosecutors and judges.

Theoretical developments in courtroom actor decision-making have utilized a wide range of perspectives, and the majority of existing studies have regressed case and defendant characteristics along with process variables on sentencing outcomes, mainly the decision to incarcerate and the sentence length decision. As such, my research is theoretically grounded and attempts to more fully understand and advance explanatory models of court processes and decisions.

In recent years, my co-authors and I have also employed multi-level, multivariate, models to tackle several conceptual and methodological issues that have not been fully explored in previous sentencing research. These studies have attempted to more fully operationalize empirical tests of contemporary theoretical perspectives. Finally, I have also attempted to bridge theory and practice through evaluation research aimed at establishing evidence-based findings to inform criminal justice system policy and practice.

How has your personal journey influenced your work?

I am a first-generation graduate who grew up on a farm, so I understand the value of a good work ethic. I believe that hard work and dedication is the key to achieving your goals.

Thomas Edison said that success is 10 percent inspiration and 90 percent perspiration. I think about how hard my parents and grandparents worked to provide a better life for their children, and that makes it very easy for me to go to work at an institution of higher education every day and try to make an impact through teaching and research.

What is the one thing going on in your field that nobody’s talking about?

Research on crime and justice is rapidly becoming more interdisciplinary. I think that we are not yet fully aware of the potential this can have for advancing our understanding of crime etiology and the data it may provide to inform adoption of more effective criminal justice system responses.

Having said that, I think that there is not enough discussion of the scientific rigor of some of these recent studies. If cross-disciplinary studies are not including relevant variables that have been empirically supported by existing criminological research, the conclusions from them are meaningless. I always emphasize the concept of GIGO (garbage in, garbage out) to my students; if you put garbage into statistical models, you get garbage out!

What do you think is the biggest challenge researchers in your field are facing?

In the last decade, the general public has been more supportive of smart solutions to crime prevention and the administration of justice, but the powers that be are still beholden to special interests. Therefore, we do not always implement smart policy or programs that will have long-term community benefits. Instead, we opt for quick fix or myopic solutions that continue to give us the same result and end up costing taxpayers more money in the long run. This historical amnesia is not the case in every jurisdiction across the country but, in general, characterizes crime and justice policy at the national level.

What would you say to a student who is interested in entering your field?

Honestly… Forget everything you think you know about criminology and criminal justice. Chances are that this knowledge was acquired from television crime dramas or the local news which presents a distorted view of crime and misrepresents the criminal justice system. If you want to examine phenomena in crime and criminal justice, you need to learn how to think critically about them.

UTSA has recently focused on enhancing students’ skills in analyzing and interpreting data thereby enhancing the use of logic, reason and inference in decision-making. Increased quantitative literacy can make students better consumers of information and more valuable employees regardless of the field in which they choose to work. Criminology and criminal justice involve gathering information from multiple sources. If you want to move up in the field, you are going to need to be adept at collecting, interpreting and utilizing factual information to make decisions.

- Ingrid Wright

Criminal Justice Alumna is finalist in H-E-B Excellence in Education Award

04.16.18

Criminal Justice Alumna Angela Pichardo is one of eight San Antonio teachers who have received $1,000 from H-E-B after being nominated by her district.

“I thought instead of intervention, what I’d like to do is prevention,” said Pichardo, who was observing the jail as a student pursuing a criminal justice degree at the University of Texas at San Antonio. She decided to become an elementary school teacher.

Fast forward 19 years to Thursday, April 5, 2018, when the STEM teacher at Southwest Independent School District’s Bob Hope Elementary School learned she’s a finalist for the H-E-B Excellence in Education award.

Read more on mysanantonio.com/

COPP Most Outstanding Student Award winners announced

04.09.18

Maverick Crawford, III and Marissa Hinton represented the College of Public Policy as its most outstanding students. They were officially recognized at the Student Government Association's 42nd University Life Awards Ceremony on April 5.  Other winners from COPP included Marcos Mullin and Andrea Ramos Fernandez, who both recipients of the Jane Findling Award for their individual achievements throughout the 2017-2018 academic year. The Jane Findling and Golden Feather Awards were among the highest honors presented at the awards ceremony.


Maverick Crawford
Maverick Crawford graduates this May with a double major in criminal justice and public administration and a minor in Civic Engagement. Maverick overcame a challenging background and has turned his attention to helping young people succeed. He gives back to his community through his volunteer work with UTSA's Autism Research Center, Bexar County Juvenile Probation, and Any Baby Can. He also enjoyed interning with the United States Pretrial Services. He says that his internship allowed him to see how the system works toward taking non-punitive approaches to deal with defendants while holding them accountable for their actions. He participated in a group project called Civic Leadership Academy as part civic engagement capstone course. This project aimed to help students at Lanier High School navigate through the college and financial aid application process. His group's project won the People's Choice Award during the poster presentation at the 3rd Annual UTSA Civic Engagement Summit. Maverick plans to pursue a career in restorative justice and make a difference in the lives of people in his community.

Marissa Hinton
Marissa Hinton is a graduate student studying criminal justice & criminology. She holds a 4.0 GPA and is slated to graduate with her master's degree in the summer of 2018. Marissa was awarded for her outstanding academic achievement while pursuing her graduate degree in Criminal Justice & Criminology. She conducted research related to victimization and success among high-risk youth. She worked as a research assistant in the Criminal Justice Department with several faculty. This includes her work with Dr. Richard Hartley on the role of San Antonio’s Veterans Treatment Courts and her volunteerism with Professor Robert Rico’s Criminal Justice Summer Camp. She has a journal article forthcoming and will graduate this summer. She plans to use her research and education to advance the welfare of others, particularly at-risk youth who were involved with crime as a victim and an offender.

Marcos Mullin
Marcos is an undergraduate student seeking his degree in public administration. He is a UTSA TOP Scholar Award recipient who is a very well-rounded student participating in multiple activities at the University and in his community. Marcos has a passion for public service. He was in intern with Congressman Lamar Smith's office and currently serves as a Civic Ambassador for the Annette Strauss Institute located on the campus of UT Austin.  As an ambassador, Marcos encourages more young people to get involved in the civic life of their communities and coordinates efforts to design, plan and implement the Careers in Politics Conference. As a member of the Student Government Association, Marcos is student leader on campus who works diligently to make sure all voices are heard in university-wide issues that affect students at both the 1604 and downtown campuses. Marcos is a UTSA Ambassador, a member of Club Rugby, the UTSA COPP Cabinet and the UTSA Catholic Association.

Andrea Ramos Fernandez

Andrea is an undergraduate student seeking her degree in Public Administration. As an undocumented immigrant to the United States, Andrea has spoken up and out for underrepresented groups and individuals who were recipients of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. She has appeared in numerous media outlets where she spoke about her personal journey coming to the United States as a child and struggling to make ends meet while pursuing her education. Andrea has lobbied to Congress to enact legislation for citizenship of DACA recipients. She is a fellow of MOVE San Antonio, a non-partisan and non-profit organization dedicated to helping young people become more involved in politics. She was a speaker during the 2017 Binational Conference with México hosted by the UTSA College of Public Policy and the Department of Social Work. She participated as a student representative on the Dreamers Panel with Rep. Diego Bernal where she spoke about the new immigration policies and its effect on DACA students. She was also a member of the UTSA student group Immigrant Youth Leadership (IYL) As a member and IYL coordinator, she presented a proposal to the University President for a Resource Center to meet the escalating needs of DACA students and to provide specific resources to help them succeed. 

Criminal Justice professor’s study on food insecurity featured in KSAT news

04.09.18

Criminal Justice Assistant Professor Dylan Jackson released new study that could link food insecurity to domestic violence. According to Jackson's 18-month-long study, in households that offered consistent access to food, only about 1 in 25 children were exposed to violence.  In households where access to affordable, nutritious food was lacking, 1 in 5 children either saw or experienced violence in the home.

To learn more, read the full story on the KSAT12 website. 

Jackson is a developmental and health criminologist who studies the link between health factors and criminal and antisocial behaviors across the life course. His work has appeared in journals such as The Journal of Pediatrics, Social Science & Medicine, Prevention Science, Preventive Medicine, Journal of Criminal Justice and Journal of Quantitative Criminology.

Professor Jackson is a recipient of the UTSA President's Distinguished Award for Research Achievement.

Criminal Justice & Criminology graduate student honored by Mayor for his service to the community

04.05.18

The Mayor of the City of San Antonio Ron Nirenberg proclaimed April 3 as National Service Recognition Day to honor all AmeriCorps VISTA and SeniorCorps volunteers for their dedication to making a positive impact in their communities.

As the proclamation states, over 325,000 AmeriCorps and SeniorCorps volunteers engage in national service at more than 50,000 locations across the country. Their work is vital to the economic and social well-being of the residents in local regions and across the nation.

Marcos was born in Monterrey, Nuevo León, Mexico and is a first-generation U.S. citizen and veteran of the United States Air Force. Last year, he was selected as an AmeriCorps VISTA through the Alamo Area Council of Governments (AACOG). As a paid economic development intern, he is responsible for implementing an economic development plan for impoverished communities in Frio and Medina Counties. AACOG partners with the Economic Development Administration (EDA) and Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) to provide an economic development intern for the City of Pleasanton, in Atascosa County and other economically distressed communities. The goal of the VISTA is to build capacity in rural, economically distressed communities to alleviate poverty and reduce unemployment.

"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 said. 

Marcos has a graduate certificate in Technology Entrepreneurship and Management. He was a member of the National Criminal Justice Honor Society Alpha Phi Sigma and will graduate this May with his Master of Science degree in Criminal Justice & Criminology. He will be traveling to Italy to represent UTSA as part of the College of Business International Immersion Program - European Innovation Academy. Marcos will have the opportunity to work closely with the top entrepreneurs and business leaders from all over the world. 


Learn more about the UTSA Criminal Justice and Criminology program.

Learn more about the UTSA College of Public Policy.

MSW students present photovoice exhibit in recognition of Sexual Assault Awareness Month

04.03.18

In order to foster a campus culture of respect, the Master of Social Work students in collaboration with UTSA student group Beaks up. Speak up. present an exhibit for the entire month of April to raise awareness of sexual violence. Opening reception is April 4 from 4 - 6 p.m. right outside of Gallery 23 in the foyer located on the first floor of the Student Union at the UTSA 1604 campus.

UTSA Master of Social Work students of the Advanced Community Practice class implemented and evaluated three photovoice projects focused on transforming rape culture. The MSW students recruited college students in the San Antonio and Coastal Bend regions of Texas. This exhibit features 14 photographs from the collection of photos taken by the recruited students. The mission of the Photovoice project is to advocate for increased awareness and response to sexual violence within the UTSA community through empowerment and respect to diversity, using symbolic photographs and fostering dialogue.

Event is free and open to the public. Anyone may view the exhibit between the hours of 8 a.m. and 5 pm Monday thru Friday.

The event is sponsored by Beaks up. Speak up. Assistant Professor Candace Christensen curated the exhibit in partnership with three MSW students (Lauren Beasley, Annette Landry, and Bea Perez).

Q&A: Dylan B. Jackson, criminal justice assistant professor

03.29.18

Dr. Dylan Jackson, assistant professor in the Department of Criminal Justice, is a developmental and health criminologist who studies the link between health factors and criminal and antisocial behaviors across the life course. He hopes his research will shed light on health, crime and criminal justice policy. Jackson was recently awarded the President's Distinguished Award for Research Achievement.

(March 29, 2018) -- Dylan B. Jackson is an assistant professor in the UTSA Department of Criminal Justice. He is a Fellow of the SLU Health Criminology Research Consortium and a research associate at the UTSA Institute for Health Disparities Research.

Jackson is a developmental and health criminologist who studies the link between health factors and criminal and antisocial behaviors across the life course. His work has appeared in journals such as The Journal of Pediatrics, Social Science & Medicine, Prevention Science, Preventive Medicine, Journal of Criminal Justice and Journal of Quantitative Criminology.

We sat down with Professor Jackson this week to learn about his research.

You always have lots of projects going on at once. What’s exciting you the most these days?

It’s certainly a challenge to narrow it down to one particular project! In general, what excites me the most is the work I am doing with members of the Health Criminology Research Consortium (HCRC) at Saint Louis University, including director Michael G. Vaughn, that explores the promotion of various facets of health during early development (e.g., health behaviors, health resources) as a crime prevention tool.

This is an area of inquiry that, to date, has largely been overlooked by criminologists. This research has a host of implications for theory, policy and health/medical practice that appeal to the public and a broad audience of policymakers and practitioners (e.g., criminal justice practitioners, social workers, psychologists, public health advocates, educators, physicians and so forth).

One project in particular aims to synthesize much of my body of work while providing a framework that can guide future research in this area. I am currently finalizing a manuscript proposing a conceptual framework that cross-fertilizes the developmental/life-course criminological paradigm with robust findings on socioeconomic and racial disparities in health. The manuscript proposing the framework should be published in the coming months.

What impact do you hope your research will have?

My hope is that my research will shed light on the interconnections between health, crime and criminal justice involvement across the life course and, in doing so, underscore that health policy and criminal justice policy are inherently intertwined.

I firmly believe that theoretical and empirical integration across the social and health sciences can revolutionize the field of criminology and enhance its policy relevance. My hope as a developmental criminologist is that we start to envision the ways that facilitating the health of children at the earliest stages of life can help to prevent crime and that we continue to take steps to promote child health, particularly among at-risk subsets of the population.

Have you had any mentors?

I am inspired most by scholars who jettison disciplinary boundaries in an effort to understand the complex origins of crime and promote social justice in every sense. In recent years, Michael G. Vaughn in the College for Public Health and Social Justice at Saint Louis University, the director of the HCRC and a Fellow of the American Academy of Social Work and Social Welfare, has been incredibly supportive of my work and has expanded my view of what the field of criminology can become in the coming years.

What is the one thing going on in your field that nobody’s talking about?

There is a lot of excellent criminological work that doesn’t get very much airtime because it is multidisciplinary and/or at the fringes of the discipline, which is unfortunate.

For instance, Graham Ousey’s (2017) recent work, “Crime is Not the Only Problem: Examining Why Violence & Adverse Health Outcomes Covary Across Large U.S. Counties”, is an excellent example of criminological research with broad, highly relevant implications for policy and social justice. Despite being published in a reputable criminological journal, it has not received the attention it deserves.

Thankfully, some multidisciplinary studies are beginning to receive more attention among criminologists in their most renowned publication outlets, including studies on the role of traumatic brain injury, neuropsychological deficits, and early lead poisoning in criminal trajectories. Even so, there has always been a certain psychological appeal to specialization and more narrowly-defined parameters for our discipline which, in my view, needs to change if we are going to make broader impacts in the real world. In the real world, our most salient problems as a nation and as a human race necessarily bleed into each other. The more fully the top criminological journals and associations embrace this reality, the more relevant our field will become to policy and social practice across sectors. We are certainly making progress as a field, but we still have a long way to go.

What do you think is the biggest challenge researchers in your field are facing?

One of the biggest challenges criminologists are facing is capturing and maintaining the attention of key stakeholders whose interests go beyond the criminal justice system. Importantly, accomplishing this task should be of great interest to criminologists, as it can help them to more effectively address the issues that deeply concern them: crime and violence.

To elaborate, social workers, psychologists, physicians (e.g., pediatricians), and public health officials regularly come into contact with people at risk of crime, involved in crime, or with a history (personally or vicariously) of criminal justice contact. Consequently, these professionals can play an important role in crime prevention and intervention efforts.

What makes your department at UTSA unique?

A number of factors make the UTSA Department of Criminal Justice unique. First, we are housed in the College of Public Policy, along with the Departments of Demography, Social Work, and Public Administration. Our connection to the Policy Studies Center and our downtown location uniquely position us to reach out to policymakers and effect change. Second, we have a highly eclectic group of scholars that embrace multidisciplinary approaches to the study of crime and criminal justice, including scholars with expertise in health, genetics, psychology, law and legal socialization, policing, victimization and more. In my view, this strengthens our department and allows our research to reach a wide audience and make a significant impact. Finally, we are a passionate, energetic and highly productive faculty whose goal is to elevate UTSA to top-tier status.

- Ingrid Wright

Four faculty from COPP earn President’s Distinguished Achievement Awards

03.29.18

This year marks the first time that COPP has had the largest amount of faculty to represent UTSA in this high-ranking distinction.

March and April is definitely award season, especially for higher education. We are proud to recognize four winners from the College who have made remarkable achievements in the areas of teaching, research, community engagement and university service.

Congratulations to the following recipients:

Community Engagement
Derek Plantenga, LCSW

Derek Plantenga, LCSW is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Social Work. His award for Community Engagement recognizes, encourages and rewards those non-tenure track faculty who are exemplary in their service and civic scholarship outside the university, providing leadership and making significant contributions to the public good. Derek Plantenga is highly sought after because of his dedication and high-quality contributions within UTSA and beyond. His contributions not only benefits the outside community but also his students. He has improved the lives of countless others and strengthened UTSA’s community relationships, with impressive and far reaching impact in San Antonio, elsewhere in south and central Texas, and with immigration-focused scholars and practitioners across the United States and Mexico. Derek strives to provide his students with the opportunity to transform themselves so they can in turn play a part in the transformation of others. Derek Plantenga will be recognized formally at the University Excellence Awards Ceremony at 2 p.m. on Thursday, April 19 in the HUC Ballroom at the Main Campus. 

Excellence in University Service
Dr. Patricia Jaramillo 

Patricia Jaramillo, Ph.D. is a Lecturer III in the Department of Public Administration. Her award for Excellence in University Service recognizes, encourages and rewards those tenured/tenure-track and non-tenure track faculty who are exemplary in their commitment to service within the university whose service has had major impact on the opportunities, lives and future of UTSA students by providing leadership in critical areas such as advising students; student, department, college and university committee service; and/or creating new student programs and opportunities.  

Since joining the UTSA College of Public Policy in 2002, Dr. Patricia Jaramillo has served as Undergraduate Advisor of Record, Internship Coordinator, and Assessment Coordinator for the bachelor's and masters programs in Public Administration. She has also served as faculty advisor to the Public Administration Student Organization.

Dr. Jaramillo was the recipient of the Regents Teaching Award in 2015 and has been active in the Academy of Distinguished Teachers. She has taught the Academic Inquiry Seminar in a course redesign year. She has actively promoted undergraduate research and recently two of her students have won UTSA undergraduate research scholarships. She has represented her college! and department in the many events and programs that support undergraduates and assist with recruiting new ones including March into your Major, UTSA Days, Countdown to College, mock college lectures, and more.

In the Honors College, Dr. Jaramillo has worked to support the Archer Fellowship Program which brings students to intern and study in Washington DC and has contributed to the redesign of the CityMester experience.  Her service takes many forms, from making significant contributions to university efforts, from supporting college projects and outreach, to major departmental administrative responsibility, and to her overall dedication to her students. Dr. Jaramillo will be recognized formally at the University Excellence Awards Ceremony at 2 p.m. on Thursday, April 19 in the HUC Ballroom at the Main Campus. 

Research Achievement
Dr. Dylan B. Jackson

Dr. Dylan Jackson is an assistant professor in the Department of Criminal Justice. His award for Research Achievement recognizes, encourages, and rewards those non-tenure and tenured/tenure-track faculty who who have conducted a sustained program of high-quality, high-impact research that has translated into national and international recognition and has made a substantial contribution to the faculty member's field.  

Dr. Jackson joined the UTSA faculty in 2015 just after completing his Ph.D. and hit the ground running as a researcher, focusing on advancing the Developmental/Life-Course Criminological Paradigm, a burgeoning area that assesses the role of events and developmental processes that impact offending behaviors. Since 2015, Dr. Jackson has published 33 peer reviewed journal articles (26 as primary author, six as sole author), 13 of which are deemed by the profession to be "impact" articles (in the top 20% of citations in the field). In short, Dr. Jackson has produced in two and a half years the quality and quantity of research deemed appropriate for full professor at many of UTSA's aspirant universities. Further, his focus on high-risk health behaviors, high-risk health conditions, and diminished health resources that contribute to antisocial and delinquent behaviors in youth has set him on a trajectory to bring positive international attention to the excellent research communities at UTSA into the future. Dr. Jackson will be recognized formally at the University Excellence Awards Ceremony at 2 p.m. on Thursday, April 19 in the HUC Ballroom at the Main Campus. 

Teaching Excellence
Candace Christensen

Dr. Candace Christensen is an assistant professor in the Department of Social Work. Her award for Teaching Excellence recognizes, encourages and rewards accomplished faculty whose command of their respective disciplines, teaching methodologies, communication skills and commitment to learning translate into a superior learning experience for students. These awards are aimed at faculty who maintain high expectations and standards for their students, ensuring academic rigor, while meeting the challenges of motivating students and helping them develop into educated, ethical and responsible citizens.

Dr. Candance Christensen has demonstrated a unique ability to create a transformative learning experience that intentionally extends beyond the classroom environment. She states that she sees her role as an instructor as "guiding students towards developing a critical consciousness, turning this consciousness into action beyond the classroom, and teaching students to respect their own strengths and limitations." She utilizes a wide range of teaching methods and styles -including incorporating Theatre of the Oppressed methods -in order to create an environment of active learning and openness to reflection. She brings this transformative approach into her work in the classroom, as a mentor to 36 students, a field liaison, a faculty sponsor for more than one student organization, and an advocate in the community.

In teaching a diverse set of masters-level courses, Dr. Christensen has demonstrated the ability to foster deep learning through a collaborative/constructivist teaching and learning approach. For example, in her Advanced Community Practice course, she incorporates the implementation and evaluation of a community-based participatory research photovoice project. This project, which emphasizes the power of visual storytelling, provides the opportunity for students to recruit and train participants to compose and take photos that represent community problems and strengths. The result is a transformative experience for both the students and the community.

One recent graduate of the social work program described her this way: "Dr. Christensen's constant example of service, leadership, collaborative partnerships and community service has made an impact on not only my career but that of my fellow cohort peers. Dr. Christensen has made significant contributions to the public good within a diverse society at the University, Department and community levels. She has been a dedicated advocate of multiple student programs including Students Against Sexual Assault and the Social Work Council, thus setting the standard of what an engaged professor and social worker should look like."  Dr. Christensen will be recognized formally at the University Excellence Awards Ceremony at 2 p.m. on Thursday, April 19 in the HUC Ballroom at the Main Campus. 

Social Work Graduate Program among top in the country

03.21.18

The UTSA Social Work Graduate Program cracks the top 75 in the nation, according to the 2018 U.S. News & World Report rankings. The program was ranked 91 in 2016 and rose to 75 by the U.S. News & World Report's 2018 Best Grad Schools Rankings Guide. In 2016, UTSA's Social Work program placed 5th among Texas social work graduate programs.

Social Work Associate Professor and Chair Amy Chanmugam congratulated everyone involved who helped increase the program's national visibility. "It's a pleasure to have colleagues so dedicated to building this program and its reach," she said.

"This is wonderful news regarding the quick rise of our Social Work program, debuting in the US News & World Report rankings the last time at 91 and now rising up to 75," remarked Rogelio Sáenz, dean and Mark G. Yudof professor. 

"This is a testament to the great work that everyone is doing related to the quality of research and teaching in the department. Congratulations to everyone!"

Each school's score reflects its average rating on a scale from 1 (marginal) to 5 (outstanding), based on a survey of academics at peer institutions.

Find out how U.S. News ranks social work graduate programs.

UTSA looks to the future during Presidential Inauguration

03.21.18

More than 1,300 students, faculty, staff, delegates and special guests from across the nation watched as Eighmy was formally inducted as the sixth president of UTSA.

by Courtney Clevenger

(March 21, 2018) -- The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) dreamed about its future among the stars on Tuesday at the Inauguration of President Taylor Eighmy. More than 1,300 students, faculty, staff, delegates and special guests from across the nation watched as Eighmy was formally inducted as the sixth president of UTSA. The ceremony focused on UTSA’s commitment to students and the direction and growth of the university, which since September 1, 2017 has been under Eighmy’s leadership.

>> Watch a webcast of the Inauguration.

UTSA looks to the future during Presidential Inauguration

The Inauguration was a community-wide and family affair. About 30 members of Eighmy’s family traveled from all over the U.S. to share in the special day. Guests also included San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg, former mayor of San Antonio and secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Julian Castro, and many other civic leaders. More than 50 delegates representing more than 50 institutions from around the country were present, many of whom are friends and family of Eighmy. UT System and San Antonio leaders also attended.

Jaciel Castro, the UT System’s Student Regent and the first UTSA student to serve in the role, welcomed guests and served as the event’s Master of Ceremonies. As the Student Regent, Castro was part of the hiring process for Eighmy last summer. He calls Eighmy “the president of the future.”

“President Eighmy is the ideal person to lead us in this critical time in our world,” Castro said. “He leads humbly by listening well, being present in the community and thinks ahead, already recruiting my baby daughter into the UTSA class of 2038.”

City Councilwoman Shirley Gonzales, who represents District 5, where the Downtown Campus is located, offered President Eighmy congratulations on behalf of the City of San Antonio. She said Eighmy’s vision to reimagine the Downtown Campus can help the west side begin a renaissance.

“UTSA is the gateway to San Antonio. The Downtown Campus is a gateway to the west side,” Gonzales said. “I applaud you, Dr. Eighmy, for your commitment to building the Downtown Campus and helping the children who live near it to realize their dreams to attend college is a reality.”

Next, UTSA Student Government Association President Marcus Thomas provided opening remarks. He said Eighmy’s interaction with students resonates with them. Thomas introduced a video featuring students sharing what they say stands out about Eighmy, most notably, his sincerity to help students grow and achieve their dreams.

UT System Chancellor William H. McRaven delivered special remarks, noting that one of Eighmy’s greatest strengths is his passion for student success.

“He takes aspiring young scholars and puts them on a path toward a degree, a happy career and a healthy life,” McRaven said. “He also understands and is energizes by the potential of this university and the impact it can have on San Antonio, Texas and the world.”

Notably, Carmen Tafolla, a professor in the UTSA Department of Bicultural-Bilingual Studies and 2015-2016 Texas Poet Laureate, read “Estrellas of Possibility,” the poem she wrote for the Presidential Inauguration. Her poem celebrates Eighmy’s vision to make UTSA a thriving university that promotes success.

Following the ceremonial conferring, which included fist bumps and a unique handshake between President Eighmy and Chancellor McRaven, Eighmy received a standing ovation and delivered a genuine, unscripted 38-minute speech. In what he called a celebration of UTSA students, Eighmy shared three key messages. The first one for the students: Dream big.

“Our job is to help you (students) find your dream and realize your dream,” Eighmy said. “This is your time while you’re here to realize your dream.”

Next, his message for the UTSA community: Be a leader.

“Now is your moment to lead with us, to join us as we take this institution forward,” Eighmy said.

His third message focused on the importance of the partnership between UTSA and San Antonio.

“Our mission as an urban serving university of the future is to be community-engaged and give back.”

Eighmy then invited all in attendance to volunteer during UTSA’s Day of Service on Saturday, March 24. More than 1,200 UTSA students, faculty, staff, alumni and supporters will volunteer at more than 20 service agencies across San Antonio.

The inauguration ceremony also embraced UTSA’s multicultural student population. More than 300 student musicians performed throughout the event, including a choir, ensembles, orchestra and the Spirit of San Antonio marching band. Several diverse dance groups also entertained the crowd. Additionally, guests viewed an exciting video showcasing UTSA’s diverse international student population.

Eighmy’s vision to advance UTSA as San Antonio’s model urban serving university of the future began the moment he stepped foot on campus as UTSA President on September 1, 2017. Eighmy has outlined a long-term strategy to help UTSA earn National Research University Fund (NRUF) eligibility and R1 (highest research activity) classification from the Carnegie Commission. In the fall, the UTSA President laid out several initiatives to address the highest priorities to advance his vision. He formed task forces and committees to develop innovative strategies to assure UTSA serves students and society in transformational ways. Many of those recommendations have already been set into motion.

Dean Rogelio Sáenz speaks at public briefing on voting challenges and political representation

03.14.18

Dean Rogelio Sáenz presented testimony on potential barriers to voting on March 13 as a guest speaker at a public briefing held by the Texas Advisory Committee on the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights at the University of Houston Law Center.

These barriers may have a discriminatory impact on race, color, disability, status, and national origin. Sáenz spoke on voting challenges in regards to redistricting, strict voter ID laws, high school voter registration, the underfunding of the U.S. Census 2020, focus of political representation on adult and citizenship status and other practices aimed to discourage the vote of people of color and those from low income communities.

The committee heard from academics, advocacy groups such as MOVE San Antonio, election officials, lawmakers, and voters about the challenges to voting rights and political representation.

View the webcast here.

Professors discuss new article on sexual harassment in the military for podcast

03.14.18

Social Work Professor Richard J. Harris, Demography Associate Professor Corey S. Sparks, and Daniel P. McDonald, Executive Director of Research, Development and Strategic Initiatives at the Defense Equal Opportunity Management Institute, published a new article entitled "Sexual Harassment in the Military: Individual Experiences, Demographics, and Organizational Contexts," with a podcast available from Armed Forces & Society.

The article states that sexual harassment remains a large problem within the U.S. military despite policy initiatives to reduce the persistence of the incidences. Victims have experienced career disruption, loss of motivation, loss of self-esteem, lower job satisfaction, physical health issues, and other problems. Researchers used data from the Defense Equality Opportunity Climate Survey to assess organizational climates and individual experiences of harassment. In conclusion, both organizational factors (e.g., climate and culture of the military) and individual factors (e.g., power, status) are important. However, the organizational context has less to do with unit composition and cohesion and more to do with tolerance of sexism. A focus on problem units could help in reducing the prevalence of sexual harassment, as the report states.

To learn more, read the journal article here.

To listen to the podcast, click here or download the mp3.

Armed Forces & Society (AFS) a quarterly publication with international scope publishes articles on civil-military relations, veterans, force effectiveness and diversity, military culture, officer education and training, military institutions, ethics, unit cohesion, military families, peacemaking, privatization, public opinion and conflict management.

Criminal Justice practitioner brings restorative discipline pilot project to UTSA

03.02.18

Robert Rico, criminal justice lecturer and former law enforcement officer, leads a team of professionals within various departments at UTSA to implement restorative justice, an alternative approach to misconduct that emphasizes direct dialogue between the victim and the accused. UTSA is examining restorative justice practices and how they may be integrated with the current developmental conduct process using The E.P.I.C. Journey Sanctioning Model. The E.P.I.C. model was developed at UTSA and is a holistic approach that assesses and constructs intentional personal and experiential journeys for individual students aimed at transforming decision-making patterns. Acceptance of responsibility and repairing harm are principals shared by both E.P.I.C. and Restorative Justice. Restorative justice may be used in proactive ways and in multiple settings.

In October of 2017, Rico met individually with a few stakeholders of the restorative discipline project: Associate Dean of Students and Director of Student Conduct and Community Standards, Anne Jimenez, Chief of Police Gerald Lewis, and the Associate Director of Housing & Residence Life Marietta de la Rosa. He later met with the above parties along with Interim Assistant Chief of Police Captain Daniel Kiley, the Director of Housing Daniel Gockley, and Lydia Bueno, Assistant Dean of Students and Director of the Student Leadership Center and Student Center for Community Engagement and Inclusion to discuss how the pilot program could serve as a model for student success. All agreed that utilizing restorative practices in their settings would be beneficial.

Rico has trained a few staff in utilizing restorative justice techniques. The goal is to forge a strong collaboration with stakeholders at UTSA to build upon a key theme of President Taylor Eighmy’s strategic vision for cultivating a sense of community and enriching student experiences, especially as the student population continues to grow. Rico hopes that the pilot project will minimize student conflicts over time, strengthen relationships among the student body, and improve retention rates.

In 2012, Professor & University Distinguished Teaching Professor Marilyn Armour of the Institute for Restorative Justice and Restorative Dialogue at UT Austin, introduced the “restorative discipline” pilot program at Ed White Middle School, where Rico was the trainer and the consultant. The program served as an alternative to “zero tolerance” – consequences for which students receive harsh punishments, usually expulsion or suspension, for infractions of school policies. According to a second-year findings involving a three-year initiative at Ed White, truancy, bullying, in-school suspensions, and other conflicts declined by 75 percent. Other schools such as Skidmore College in New York, the University of Colorado at Boulder, Michigan State and James Madison College are also practicing restorative discipline. The Restorative Justice approach to discipline is emerging across the country in both research and application.

How will it work?

The department or organization practicing restorative discipline will assign a facilitator where all the parties involved sit in a circle. Each person holds an object or “talking piece” to indicate it is his or her turn to speak. While one person is speaking, everyone else listens without interrupting. At the end of the conversation, the offender tries to recognize how the crime caused harm and what needs to be done to repair the harm. These circles may reach a consensus based-solution that emphasizes mutual respect.

Lydia Bueno wants to train her staff to teach students how to use restorative justice in their everyday lives. For example, students are required to do a reflection in some of their involvements such as the Civil Rights and Social Justice Trip, an intensive immersion experience where UTSA students explore the ongoing legacy of the Civil Rights Movement. Sometimes in the reflections, students express differences in opinion, especially when sensitive topics arise.

“With restorative justice, students learn valuable tools such as openness and honesty when communicating,” said Bueno. “Everyone is included and treated the same.”

“Restorative Justice will bring tremendous impact to UTSA,” said Rico.

“The principles of restorative justice are very closely aligned with President Eighmy’s strategic vision to foster exceptional student experiences,” explained Rico. These principles involve inclusivity, honesty, accountability, and trustworthiness – all values that develop their sense of belonging.”

“Through the resolution of conflicts using a restorative justice approach, studies have shown that suspension or expulsion minimizes in school settings, and students feel less of an outcast." said Rico. “Rebuilding relationships among the student body, faculty members, and staff can lead to student success, inclusion and retention,” Rico stated.

The pilot program is set to roll out officially in the fall of 2019.

Learn more about restorative justice by visiting the National Association of Community and Restorative Justice.

For questions, please email Robert Rico in the Department of Criminal Justice at robert.rico@utsa.edu

COPP & League of Women Voters host judicial candidate debate at UTSA’s downtown campus

03.01.18

The League of Women Voters and the College of Public Policy partnered to host a Judicial Candidate Debate on Tuesday, Feb. 27 at the UTSA Downtown Campus in the Aula Canaria Lecture Hall. The debate featured Republican candidates vying for criminal district court judge in Bexar County. Students and members of the community gathered to hear the candidates' positions. Audience members submitted questions and Moderator Phyllis Ingram of the League of Women Voters posed questions to each of the candidates for discussion.

A group of students from Criminal Justice Lecturer Henry Meade’s class titled "Special Topics in Policing" showed up to gain knowledge about the candidates as well as learn more about the role of the criminal courts and the importance of judicial elections. 

Associate Dean and Professor Francine Romero welcomed guests and candidates to the debate, thanked the League of Women Voters for their partnership every year with the College and asked the College’s student groups to be recognized. President of the Public Administration Student Organization (PASO) Nohelia Villeda talked about the mission and role of PASO. Vice-President of the National Criminal Justice Honor Society Alpha Phi Sigma (APS) April Demendonca spoke about the mission of APS and their role at UTSA. PASO and APS members served as ambassadors for the evening by volunteering to handle various event duties such as assisting with sign in and registration for students seeking extra credit, collecting questions, keeping time, and handing out voter guides.

The candidates in attendance are representing the 187th and 226th districts. Members of the 226th took to the stage for the first half of the evening. They were David Martin, Todd McCray, Kristen Mulliner, an alumna of UTSA who graduated with her degree in criminal justice from the College of Public Policy, and Libby Wiedermann, who taught criminal justice courses for the College. 

The 187th members, Karl Alexander, Jan Ischy-Prins, Veronica Legarreta, and Virginia Maurer, discussed their positions for the second half of the evening. Each person from the 187th and 226th had one minute to give an introduction, respond to questions, and give closing arguments. Some of audience's questions sparked discussions involving the following: how judges handle cases related to unlawful possession of firearms, how the courts protect the rule of law, the importance of impartiality, and whether or not to move to a nonpartisan system for judicial elections.

APS Vice-President April Demendonca says that she learned a great deal about the candidates’ qualifications and goals.

“This experience helped me put a face to the names on the ballot.” “I got to hear their voice on what their goals were if elected.”

April added, “If it wasn’t for this event, I would not have had a chance to meet the candidates.” “Plus, it was entertaining to watch their demeanor and how they handled themselves answering questions under a minute!” 

COPP and the League of Women Voters hosted this debate to engage the community in public policy and elections. Their goal was to help Texas voters make informed decisions when casting their ballot in the joint primary election on March 6 and to provide a platform to promote civic conversations among students and the community.

The judicial elections are so important to how we live our everyday lives that we want voters to have as much information about the candidates as possible,” noted Phyllis Ingram, of the League of Women Voters.

“It is important for the UTSA College of Public Policy to host this event, since public policy intersects with fundamental issues that judges make decisions about everyday,” UTSA College of Public Policy’s Associate Dean and Associate Professor Francine Romero said.

“We hope citizens and students will take this opportunity to get to know the candidates and their positions in order to cast an informed vote prior to the joint primary election.” Romero stated.

NowCastSA livestreamed the debate. The program is available on YouTube. Click here to watch the webcast.

Public Administration students, alums inducted into distinguished Pi Alpha Alpha Honor Society

02.28.18

The Department of Public Administration recognized students and alumni for their outstanding scholastic achievements and commitment to public service during the Pi Alpha Alpha induction ceremony on Feb. 22, 2018.

Pi Alpha Alpha (PAA) is the global honor society for public affairs and administration. It recognizes outstanding undergraduate and well as graduate students in public administration, public policy and public affairs. PAA has 162 chapters at The Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs, and Administration (NASPAA) member schools. The College's Master's in Public Administration program is NASPAA accredited. 

The Department honored its members with a lovely ceremony at the UTSA Downtown Campus. Members heard from two guest speakers this year -- alums Munirih Jester and Karlerik "Erik" Naslund, MPA, both who delivered a strong message to students about why they chose to work in the nonprofit sector.

Naslund, a data analyst for student success at San Antonio College, spoke to the group about expectations after graduation. Some people expect to get a job, earn money, go on vacations, and enjoy the extra perks that go along with the career. However, he realized that public service was his main reason for working. He wanted to give back and inspire others to do the same. Jester talked about living in Brazil. Her mother was involved in neighborhood community service, which inspired Jester to get involved in her community. As a Bachelor's in Public Administration student, she interned with the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas and worked on a pilot project to expand digital opportunity for the Texas border region. As a former Google Fiber/NTEN Digital Inclusion Fellow, she used existing community resources to support computer literacy training for Connecthome participants.

Karlerik Naslund is currently enrolled in the Applied Demography Ph.D. program at UTSA, and his research interests include immigration, higher education and data science.

Munirih Jester, BPA is also a lead member of the San Antonio Digital Inclusion Alliance – a citywide coalition that aims to bridge the digital divide. Her educational background is in Public Policy, Nonprofit Management and Urban and Regional Planning.

At the end of the program, Dr. Christopher Reddick, Chair of the Department of Public Administration, announced the 2018 inductees and presented them their certificates. Pi Alpha Alpha members then pledged to uphold the highest ethical standards applying to public service and endeavor to encourage and engage in meaningful interaction with other members.

One of the inductees shares her thoughts about being a member of Pi Alpha Alpha.

"Being inducted into Pi Alpha Alpha means that all my hard work and sacrifice has paid off," stated Rebekah Lopez. "It feels gratifying to be recognized by my College and to be among people who value public service and education like I do. I hope to use this honor by extending my network for my future endeavors as a public servant." 

2018 Inductees

Bailey Carter

Morgan Chang-Johnson

Thomas Decesare

Louis Delgado

Maria Frick

Chris Garcia

Justin Garza

Briana Gonzales

Markus Gudino

Rebekah Lopez

Ayesha Meghani

Timothy Peterson

Judith Rivera

Brenda Vega

Lester Velazquez-Po

Caleb Villarreal

Lindsey Walker

Hannah Whistler

Daniel Zorrilla

UTSA hosts first SA Climate Ready Town Hall

02.27.18

By Brenda Peña, MPA

(Feb. 27, 2018) -- The first San Antonio Climate Ready Town Hall initiative took place this month inside the UTSA Downtown Campus. Numerous individuals participated in this event with hopeful enthusiasm regarding future climate change in San Antonio. The town hall represented passionate community members seeking and providing feedback in response to stated climate control initiatives. 

The Downtown Campus provided the ideal backdrop for this important event. Roger Enriquez, Director of the Policy Studies Center, which is housed under the College of Public Policy, added, "now that the Downtown Campus is reasserting itself as an integral part of the urban transformation of San Antonio, we were eager to host this event." 

The San Antonio Climate Ready initiative was created in collaboration with the City of San Antonio Office of SustainabilityCPS Energy and the UTSA Policy Studies Center. With the election of Mayor Ron Nirenberg, the city council was able to pass the initiative with the intention of actively engaging and involving the San Antonio community in the planning process. This initiative was created in an effort to support the goals of the Paris Climate Accord. 

So what is a Climate Action and Adaptation Plan? This plan is created to identify long-term climate-related impacts with a goal of helping develop strategies that mitigate emissions and help adapt communities and institutions towards current and future climate-related impacts. This initiative is more than just to eliminate greenhouse gases, but an effort to transform our community with clean energy and better prepare for the future. 

“A damaged climate can impact the priorities that matter to all of us,” says Chief Sustainability Officer of the City of San Antonio, Douglas Melnik. “Military and security, economic competitiveness, public health, infrastructure and world heritage sites can all be affected.” 

The San Antonio Climate Ready Town Hall gave a platform to those wanting to share their concern and recommendations moving forward. This was performed through group discussions and open conversation. During this time citizens shared their hopes and ideas for next steps and vision for the San Antonio Climate Ready initiative. 

“We identified three priorities at our table: education within the community, visibility of current initiatives, such as San Antonio Climate Ready events, and transportation choices of the future.” says citizen Jesse Chadwick. “We also want to identify funding and policy as a priority. By this, we mean political will and the broader participation of the community in an effort to reduce the usage of fossil fuels.” 

Next steps regarding the San Antonio Climate Ready Action and Adaptation Plan are to continue establishing committees within the community and initiate planning. More town halls and community conversations are scheduled to continue to order to help further finalize the San Antonio Climate Action and Adaptation Plan. For more information about the San Antonio Climate Ready initiative and future town hall dates please visit their website at: http://saclimateready.org/ Want a recap of the first San Antonio Climate Ready Town Hall? Visit the UTSA Policy Studies Center Facebook for footage and photos of the event. 

COPP and League of Women Voters host Judicial Candidate Debate, Feb. 27

02.26.18

Texas voters will hear directly from candidate vying to become the next local criminal district court judge.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Michelle Skidmore
February 23, 2018 
(210) 458-3213

San Antonio, TX --The UTSA College of Public Policy and the League of Women Voters are partnering to host the Judicial Candidate Debate on Tuesday, February 27, 2018 from 6 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. at the UTSA Downtown Campus, Aula Canaria Lecture Hall in the Buena Vista St. Bldg. (BV 1.328). Candidates vying to become the next Criminal District Court judge will be in attendance to discuss their positions and allow for questions from the audience.

Voters will get a chance to see what they have to say about the issues prior to the Joint Primary Election on March 6. Here are the candidates who have confirmed their attendance:

Karl Alexander Republican Criminal 187th

Joe Contreras Republican Criminal 187th

Jan Ischy-Prins Republican Criminal 187th

Veronica Legarreta Republican Criminal 187th

Virginia Maurer Republican Criminal 187th

Todd McCray Republican Criminal 226th

Joey Perez Democrat Criminal 226th

Jennifer Peña Democrat Criminal 290th

David Martin Republican Criminal 226th

Kristen Mulliner Republican Criminal 226th

Libby Wiedermann Republican Criminal 226th


The judicial elections are so important to how we live our everyday lives that we want voters to have as much information about the candidates as possible,” noted Phyllis Ingram, of the League of Women Voters.

“It is important for the UTSA College of Public Policy to host this event, since public policy intersects with fundamental issues that judges make decisions about everyday,” UTSA College of Public Policy’s Associate Dean and Associate Professor Francine Romero said.

“We hope citizens and students will take this opportunity to get to know the candidates and their positions in order to cast an informed vote prior to the joint primary election. We are excited to welcome our neighbors and friends to our beautiful campus,” Romero stated.

The primary election is Tuesday, March 6. Registered voters will narrow down on party candidates who will represent their party in the November general election. For a full list of candidates, refer to this sample ballot for the Bexar County Primary. Citizens are encouraged to early vote thru March 2. If they are not sure who to vote for, they can access the League of Women Voters Voters’ Guide.

  • What: Judicial Candidate Debate
  • When: Tuesday, February 27, 2018
  • Time: 6 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.
  • Place: UTSA Downtown Campus, Buena Vista St. Bldg., Aula Canaria Lecture Hall (BV 1.328)
    FREE PARKING available in Lot D-3 under the IH-35 bridge.
  • This event will be livestreamed by NOWCast SA. You may watch the program remotely by accessing this link: http://nowcastsa.com/blogs/webcast-judicial-candidate-debate

The College’s student organizations, The National Criminal Justice Honor Society Alpha Phi Sigma and the Public Administration Student Organization will serve as volunteers for the event.

For maps, visit http://www.utsa.edu/visit/downtown-campus.html
The University of Texas at San Antonio Downtown Campus is located at 501 W. Cesar E. Chavez Blvd., San Antonio, TX 78207.

Learn more about the UTSA College of Public Policy.

Learn more about the League of Women Voters of the San Antonio Area.

Connect with the College of Public Policy at Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Linkedin.

UTSA is an early voting site for the Joint Primary Election

02.23.18

Vote early in the Joint Primary Election at the UTSA Main Campus

The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) is a designated early voting site for the March 6 Bexar County Joint Primary Election. Any registered Bexar County voter may cast a ballot at UTSA Feb. 20 to March 2 in the H-E-B Student Union (formerly University Center) Bexar Room (HSU 1.102) on the Main Campus.

During the primary election, a voter will vote for candidates on either the Republican or Democratic ballot. In Texas, the voter may not vote for both Republicans and Democrats during the Primary. If the voter does not tell the judge whether they wish to vote Democratic or Republican, then the judge will be unable to provide a ballot for the voter.

The Center for Civic Engagement strongly encourages students, staff, faculty and community to stop by and make their voices heard by casting their vote at UTSA.

>> Check voter registration status and see sample ballots.

UTSA officials also encourage area residents and employees at Valero, NuStar, and other local businesses, to use this convenient early voting location. Marked reserved parking will be available for voters on the south side of the H-E-B Student Union.

Early voting times at UTSA:

Tuesday, Feb. 20 – Friday, Feb. 23
8 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Saturday, Feb. 24
8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Sunday, Feb. 25
12 noon to 6 p.m.

Monday, Feb. 26 – Friday, March 2
8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Voters will be asked to present an approved form of photo or secondary identification to vote. On Election Day, March 6, voters must vote at their designated precinct locations. Additional cities in the county are also holding elections. See sample ballots for more details.

- Maria Alejandro


Learn more about the UTSA Center for Civic Engagement.

Those who wish to vote near the UTSA Downtown Campus may vote at the Bexar County Justice Center and the Bexar County Elections Office.

The College of Public Policy and the League of Women Voters will host a Judicial Candidate Debate on Tuesday, Feb. 27 at 6 p.m. at the UTSA Downtown Campus, Aula Canaria Lecture Hall. A number of candidates are vying to become criminal district court judge in Bexar County. Voters will get the opportunity to learn more about the candidates to make informed decisions in the joint primary election on March 6.. Event is free and open to the public. Learn more.

Professor and Chair featured in the news about body camera use by police officers

02.22.18

Professor and Chair of the Department of Criminal Justice Michael Smith was recently featured in StateScoop about his expertise related to body camera use. Smith says more research is needed across agencies and in multiples setting to fully determine the impact that body worn cameras have on brutality and complaint rates.

Ever since outfitting their officers with body cameras two years ago, the San Antonio Police Department has seen a significant drop in complaints, according to records obtained this month by the San Antonio Express-News.

Since police departments first began adopting body worn cameras in response to protests against police brutality in recent years, groups around the country have sought to understand how the technology is changing the dynamic between the public and police. While it is unclear if body cameras decrease brutality or complaint rates, anecdotes suggest a civilizing effect. Only nine months after officers began using the body cameras, SAPD saw a 36 percent decrease in use-of-force filed complaints.

“We need more research on body worn cameras across many more agencies and in many more settings. For now, the weight of the evidence is that body worn cameras reduce use of force and citizen complaints,” said Michael Smith, chair of the criminal justice department at the University of Texas at San Antonio, in an interview with StateScoop.

Read more on StateScoop

Meet a Roadrunner: COPP Alumna Jessica Beemer led her community through a storm

02.21.18

Meet Jessica Beemer ’08, ’13. This Houston native jumped into action to help her community recover from Hurricane Harvey.

Meet a Roadrunner: Alumna Jessica Beemer led her community through a storm

With a bachelor’s in political science, a master’s in public administration and solid professional experience in the public sector, Beemer landed a job working with Houston City Council Member Dave Martin of District E as his North Sector Manager. In that role, she assisted with city processes and constituent services in the Lake Houston/Kingwood area.

While working for the City, the UTSA alumna developed an emergency response manual, a task that took her about a month. It included information for the Houston Office of Emergency Management, city leaders, constables, school district contacts and leaders from neighboring jurisdictions in the event she needed to make quick contact with others during an emergency.

In January 2017, Beemer became the chief of staff for Councilman Martin, serving the entire council district, comprised of Lake Houston, Kingwood, Southeast Houston and Clearlake, Texas.

Seven months later, Hurricane Harvey slammed into Houston, dumping more than two feet of rain over Harris County and registering seven-day readings of more than 40 inches. Beemer knew as chief of staff that she needed to get to work.

With others at the City, Beemer began to monitor river levels during the storm to assess the emergency. She also dusted off the emergency manual she had developed a year earlier to call upon partners that could help her provide emergency relief efforts to the Kingwood and Clear Lake communities. More than 17,500 homes were devastated by the storm.

“I’ve never prayed for rain to stop so hard in my life,” Beemer remembers while relocating to the second floor of her Kingwood home. “All I was thinking about were the senior citizens on breathing machines who couldn’t get out and people that I knew in flooded neighborhoods who had health issues. We knew we were running against the clock to coordinate rescue operations, and we did the best we could in a critical situation.”

Following the storm, the UTSA alumna remained in her district. She organized rescue operations, set up emergency shelters and distributed food and supplies to victims, independent of the Red Cross.

Once Hurricane Harvey passed, Beemer took it upon herself to print community maps and survey District E to assess the storm damage and support the clean-up efforts. She jumped into action and created a platform for volunteers to help clean up debris in the storm-ravaged community.

With surrounding roads impassable, members of the community began showing up in boats to provide evacuation support to Houston residents. Beemer helped direct them to areas of the greatest need, where they remained for several days.

To gather as many helping hands as possible, Jessica also turned to her alma mater for help.

“Being as embedded in San Antonio as I was when I was an undergraduate, interning in the commissioner’s court and going through grad school, you become part of the city and people remember you.”

Indeed, San Antonians responded. San Antonio’s Solid Waste Management crew, for example, assisted in cleaning up over 100,000 tons of debris.

“I worked very closely with San Antonio Solid Waste Director David McCary for a little over a month helping familiarize his crews with the area,” Beemer said.

San Antonio crews picked up more than 100,000 tons of debris.

Private citizens also donated time, supplies and money to help Houston’s relief efforts.

Ultimately, Councilman Martin presented a City of Houston Proclamation to honor the City of San Antonio, sharing that the recognition in large part represented the effort and commitment Beemer displayed through her selfless acts and leadership.

- Ingrid Wright

COPP students meet U.S. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi

02.20.18

College of Public Policy students got an opportunity to listen to an important discussion on tax reform policy at the San Antonio Central Library on President's Day, Feb. 19. Students heard from a distinguished panel - U.S. Congressman Joaquin Castro, U.S. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, and Executive Director of the Center for Public Policies Priorities Ann Beeson. Associate Dean and Associate Professor of the College of Public Policy Francine Romero moderated the discussion.

(Feb. 19, 2018) - WOAI News4 San Antonio

House minority leader Nancy Pelosi joined Congressman Joaquin Castro, to discuss the nation's recently passed tax bill.

Republicans say the recent tax reform bill passed resulted in one million Americans receiving raises or bonuses and more than 100 companies giving an increase in wages. But, Monday, U.S. House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi says that all only goes so far.

"How about increasing people's wages, Democrats have a better deal, it’s called better jobs, better wages, better future. How we can increase the paycheck of the American worker that is the most vital thing that we can do to grow our economy,” said Pelosi.

Monday, Pelosi along with Congressman Joaquin Castro and Ann Beeson spoke with an audience of about 50 at the San Antonio Public Library, answering questions and concerns about the bill. Castro and Pelosi say it will force millions of middle income families to pay more in taxes and paves the way for cuts to Medicare and Medicaid. Dr. Francine Romero, who moderated the discussion, posed questions to the panel from some of our own public policy students.

Read more from WOAI's recap.

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

02.16.18

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!

02.13.18

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. For these reasons, he now has his own day Feb. 13 for people to remember year after year the work he has done in his community and the many lives he impacted throughout the region. 

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: https://tedxacu.ticketleap.com/tedxacu2018/t/tedxacuorg/

Currently, Dieter works as the Lead Criminal Justice Organizer for Texas Organizing Project in Houston, TX.  

Applications open for COPP most outstanding undergraduate and graduate student

02.13.18

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.

THE DEADLINE FOR SUBMITTING APPLICATIONS IS MARCH 2, 2018

Applications may be submitted electronically to the office of the Associate Dean in the College of Public Policy at copp@utsa.edu, 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.

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

02.12.18

The Minor in Civic Engagement Class Civic Leadership Seminar, taught by Lecturer Gina Amatangelo in the Department of Public Administration, won the 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.

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

02.07.18

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 of 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.

UTSA Celebrates Black History Month

02.05.18

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

01.29.18

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

01.22.18

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.

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Submit nominations for the most dedicated faculty and staff at UTSA

01.22.18

(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.

01.10.18

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.

INSIGHT Into Diversity Magazine to feature Dean Rogelio Sáenz

01.09.18

For its March issue, INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine features Dean and Mark G. Yudof Professor in Demography Rogelio Sáenz in its special edition, "Diversity Professional Spectrum," that recognizes underrepresented deans of schools of public policy and public administration. 

INSIGHT advances the conversation on diversity and inclusion in higher education and beyond.  It is the oldest and largest diversity magazine in higher education. The magazine provides a platform for readers who want to be a part of national conversations on diversity and inclusion in academic and business environments.

Click here to view the digital issue.

COPP undergraduate students receive research awards

01.09.18

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

01.09.18

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

01.09.18

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 http://copp.utsa.edu/center/policy-studies-center/

Contact Information: Roger Enriquez, (210) 458-2691 or roger.enriquez@utsa.edu

UTSA’s first evening childcare program opens its doors

01.09.18

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

12.15.17

(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

12.14.17

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: https://www.utsa.edu/today/2017/12/story/OITgrants.html

Photo courtesy of University Communications

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

12.14.17

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

12.12.17

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

12.07.17

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

12.06.17

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

12.05.17

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

12.04.17

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 www.nalcab.org.

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

Captions: 

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

12.04.17

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
https://www.affordablecollegesonline.org/college-resource-center/gi-bill-college-benefits-transfer/

Higher Education Resources for Vets and Their Families
https://www.accreditedschoolsonline.org/resources/higher-education-for-military-veterans/

Veteran's Guide to Online College Success
https://www.affordablecollegesonline.org/veteran-college-success/

Financial Aid for Veterans & Dependents
https://www.accreditedschoolsonline.org/resources/financial-aid-scholarships-for-veterans/

MBA Veteran Programs
https://www.affordablecollegesonline.org/degrees/mba-programs/supporting-veterans/

Veteran's Guide to Criminal Justice
https://www.accreditedschoolsonline.org/criminal-justice-degree/veterans-guide/

Vocational School Guide for Veterans
https://www.accreditedschoolsonline.org/vocational-trade-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

12.04.17

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

11.30.17

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

11.30.17

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 ServiceLearning@utsa.edu and by phone at 210-458-2277.

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

11.30.17

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: http://naswpress.org/publications/Health/Disability_Intimacy_and_Sexual_Health.html

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

11.28.17

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 danielarsalinas@yahoo.com or call her at (210) 379-3596. 

View video of presentations from 2nd Binational Conference

11.20.17

Click on event page for photos and video of presentations from 2nd Binational Conference, Nov. 15-16.
http://copp.utsa.edu/binationalconference

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

10.24.17

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 https://fund.utsa.edu/project/8038 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

10.20.17

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

10.16.17

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 www.hacu.net/hnip

UTSA to host Downtown Campus 20th Anniversary Celebration

10.13.17

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: http://www.utsa.edu/today/2017/10/story/DTCcelebration.html

TribFest enhances civic awareness for COPP students

10.12.17

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

10.06.17

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)
map

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 michelle.skidmore@utsa.edu or call (210) 458-3213.

Marcos Mendoza accepted into AmeriCorps Vista program

10.05.17

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

10.05.17

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

09.29.17

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.  

REGISTER

Visit the event page http://copp.utsa.edu/binationalconference to learn more.

Download flyer

Public Administration student shares her thoughts on DACA in KLRN interview

09.29.17

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

09.14.17

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

09.08.17

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

09.08.17

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

09.01.17

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:  http://research.utsa.edu/2017/09/01/vprfunding2017

Alpha Phi Sigma holds Hurricane Harvey donation drive

08.31.17

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 almazuniga16@gmail.com or Henry Meade at henry.meade@utsa.edu.

Thank you for your participation.

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

08.30.17

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

08.30.17

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

08.22.17

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)

08.14.17

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

08.09.17

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

08.08.17

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

08.07.17

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”

08.03.17

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

08.03.17

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

08.02.17

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 http://movesanantonio.org/intern-apply/

For questions, please email Alyssa Pope at alyssa@movesanantonio.org.

To learn more about MOVE, visit www.movesanantonio.org.

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

08.01.17

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

07.28.17

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.