COPP Most Outstanding Student Award winners announced


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 is serving as a Civic Ambassador for the Annette Strauss Institute for Civic Life where he encourages more young people to get involved in civic life. Currently, he is coordinating 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 legislate 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. 

Social Work Graduate Program among top in the country


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.

Q&A with Criminal Justice Professor Richard Hartley


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


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.


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


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


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


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


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


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. 

UTSA looks to the future during Presidential Inauguration


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


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


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


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

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


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


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, where she now works.

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


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: 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


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:

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
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


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


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


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


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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What makes UTSA unique?

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

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

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

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

What do you do in your spare time?

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

- Ingrid Wright

Alumni News: Feb. 13 declared Dieter Cantu Day!


The Bexar County Commissioners Court officially declared Feb. 13 as Dieter Cantu Day in the City of San Antonio. 

Dieter, an alumnus of the College, graduated with his degree in Public Administration. He has impacted incarcerated youths in Texas through his nonprofit organization Position of Power. 

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

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


Most Outstanding Student Award

Graduate and Undergraduate

College of Public Policy


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

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

Download application form here

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

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


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

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

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

College of Public Policy Mission:

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

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


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


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


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

-- Courtney Clevenger

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

- Courtney Clevenger

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


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

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

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

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

--Brianna Denson

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

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

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

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

--Nery Chavez

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


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

UTSA Today

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

- Anne Peters

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

Learn more about Justice Sotomayor's visit.

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

Submit nominations for the most dedicated faculty and staff at UTSA


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

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

Nominations will be accepted for the following awards:

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

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

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

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

- KC Gonzalez

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

Click here to see the story on UTSA Today.

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


by Courtney Clevenger
UTSA Today

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Celebrate Dr. King’s legacy

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

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

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

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

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

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

UTSA MLK, Jr. Scholarship

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

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

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

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

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

Institute of Texan Cultures Programming

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

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

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

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

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

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

- Courtney Clevenger

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

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

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

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

INSIGHT Into Diversity Magazine to feature Dean Rogelio Sáenz


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


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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


by Brenda Peña

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

UTSA’s first evening childcare program opens its doors


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

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

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

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

UTSA graduates a family of social workers


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

- Michelle Skidmore

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

Seven UTSA colleges receive grants to empower student success


by Nicole Duff, Office of Information Technology

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The seven colleges and their awarded projects include:

College of Architecture, Construction, and Planning

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

College of Business

  • “Return on Student Investment”

College of Education and Human Development

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

College of Engineering

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

College of Liberal and Fine Arts

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

College of Public Policy

  • “Upgrading Computing Infrastructure for Public Policy Excellence”

College of Sciences

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

View the original story on UTSA Today:

Photo courtesy of University Communications

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

Check out his story here:

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


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

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

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

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

COPP welcomes delegation of undergraduate students from Japan


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

Class projects showcase civic and community engagement


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

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

Click here to read the full story by Gilbert Garcia.

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

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

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

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

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

Click here to see the full video on YouTube.

UTSA Policy Studies Center hosts annual NALCAB Training for Latino Leaders


Article and photos by Brenda Peña, MPA

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Veterans resources available for students


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

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

GI Bill College Benefits Transfer

Higher Education Resources for Vets and Their Families

Veteran's Guide to Online College Success

Financial Aid for Veterans & Dependents

MBA Veteran Programs

Veteran's Guide to Criminal Justice

Vocational School Guide for Veterans

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

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


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

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

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

Civic Engagement class project featured in the Express-News


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

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


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

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

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

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

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

Deadline to submit is December 15. 2017.

Click here to submit poster proposal

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

View video of presentations from 2nd Binational Conference


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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Click here to read the full story on Spectrum News.

Click here to see the video on KENS-5.

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


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

Applications open for prestigious leadership development programs


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

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

CHCI has three deadlines for the 2018 programs.

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

Graduate Fellowship Program (paid nine-month fellowship)

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

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

UTSA to host Downtown Campus 20th Anniversary Celebration


by KC Gonzalez, UTSA Downtown Campus       

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

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

More details will be shared soon.

UTSA Downtown Campus 20th Anniversary Celebration

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

Photo courtesy of University Communications

View the original story on UTSA Today:

TribFest enhances civic awareness for COPP students


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

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


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

COPP Lecture Series with Dr. Corey Dolgon

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

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

About the author

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

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

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

Download flyer

Click here to learn more about the book.

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

Marcos Mendoza accepted into AmeriCorps Vista program


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Click here to read the full story on UTSA Today.

COPP wins Corporate DiversityFIRST Leadership Award


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

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

DiversityFIRST™ Award Overview:

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

Corporate DiversityFIRST Award winners are recognized for the following:

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

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


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


Visit the event page to learn more.

Download flyer

Public Administration student shares her thoughts on DACA in KLRN interview


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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

Clauswitz is a partner with the Rosenblatt Law Firm. 

Click here to see the full list of winners.

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


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

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

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

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

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

Read more in the San Antonio Business Journal.

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

Criminal justice assistant professor receives $20,000 research award


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

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

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

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

Alpha Phi Sigma holds Hurricane Harvey donation drive


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

Here’s how you can help:

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

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

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

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

Thank you for your participation.

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


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

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

UTSA offers support in Harvey aftermath


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

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

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

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

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

Donate today for alum’s Books to Incarcerated Youth project


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

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

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

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

What type of books are we seeking?

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

Books we don't need

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

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


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

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


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

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


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

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

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

Congratulations to our Dean on this significant and national distinction.

Social work student Tessa Zapata awarded Ima Hogg Scholarship


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

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

Please visit the weblink to see all 2017 scholarship recipients. 

Dean Sáenz featured in documentary “The UnAmerican Struggle”


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

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

Watch the trailer 

Sáenz: Trailer tragedy arouses absurd logic


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

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

Applications open for MOVE San Antonio fall 2017 internships


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

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

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

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

To apply, visit

For questions, please email Alyssa Pope at

To learn more about MOVE, visit

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


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

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

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

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


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

Roger Enriquez featured in WBUR radio interview on human smuggling incident


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

Click here to listen to the full program featured on

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

COPP to schedule tours for prospective students and their families


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

Tour Info

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

Map and Parking Info

Download map

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

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


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

Congratulations Clementina on your new employment!

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


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

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


"GOP Senators support Trumpcare at own peril"

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Associate Professor conducts research project in Hamburg, Germany


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

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

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


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

Read full story in San Antonio Express-News

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

College of Public Policy Abroad - students visit Spain


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

Criminal justice student Alma Zuniga shares her personal experience:

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

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

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

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

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

by Alma Zuniga

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

For more information, contact:

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

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


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

Source:  Newswise 

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

Associate Professor appointed Chair of the Department of Social Work


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

On behalf of Dean Rogelio Sáenz,

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

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

Dr. Amy Chanmugam will lead the Department of Social Work

Meet a Roadrunner:  James Pobanz


by Kara Mireles, UTSA Today

Alumnus James Pobanz helps local vets struggling with mental illness

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

— Kara Mireles

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

HACU National Internship Program offering paid internships for Fall 2017


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

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

To apply online, visit


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

HACU to host 31st annual conference in San Diego


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

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

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

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

COPP students selected for Archer Fellowship


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

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

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

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

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

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

Congratulations newest members of Phi Alpha Honor Society!


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

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


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


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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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


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

Story by Jesus Chavez

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Learn more about the UTSA College of Public Policy.

This story was originally posted on UTSA Today.

UTSA Demography students present research at annual PAA Conference


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

Student and presentation titles: 

Xiaoling Liang  "Risk Factors for Depression"

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

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

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

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

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

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

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