COPP to schedule tours for prospective students and their families

07.20.17

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.

Call us at (210) 458-2530 or email us at copp@utsa.edu to set up a tour.   Our online process to schedule tours will be updated soon.

In the meantime, 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

07.20.17

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

07.11.17

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 DallasNews.com

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

07.06.17

"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

07.05.17

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

06.29.17

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

06.27.17

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

06.27.17

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

06.13.17

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
roger.enriquez@utsa.edu

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

06.06.17

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

06.02.17

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

05.24.17

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

05.24.17

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 social@utsa.edu 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

05.22.17

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 www.hacu.net/hnip

Eligibility

  • 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

05.22.17

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 studenttrack@hacu.net

Submit an application on-line by June 30, 2017.  Visit http://www.hacu.net/studenttrack

COPP students selected for Archer Fellowship

05.18.17

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!

05.16.17

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.

Congratulations!

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

05.16.17

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

05.16.17

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 jose.gomez@utsa.edu, who is co-founder of City Flag. To apply, visit the handshake application.

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

05.09.17

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

05.04.17

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

Student and presentation titles: 

Xiaoling Liang  "Risk Factors for Depression"

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Over 50 students recognized for outstanding achievements

05.01.17

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

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

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

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

UTSA restorative and criminal justice scholar Michael Gilbert retires

04.24.17

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

04.14.17

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

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

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

Ali Noorani's new book There Goes the Neighborhood

COPP recognizes most outstanding students

04.14.17

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

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

Congratulations!

UTSA MPA alumna Colleen Swain featured in the Sombrilla

04.11.17

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

Story by Michelle Mondo

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

Criminal Justice Summer Camp, June 5

04.11.17

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

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

04.06.17

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

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

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

04.03.17

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

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

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

Symposium deliberations will include the following topics:

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

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

COPP student survey available

03.31.17

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

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

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

03.31.17

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

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

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

03.30.17

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

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

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

03.30.17

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

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

Congratulations, Derek!

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

COPP students among UTSA selection of Who’s Who

03.29.17

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

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

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

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

03.27.17

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

Read more: http://woai.iheart.com/articles/local-news-119078/bexar-county-again-among-the-ten-15676367/#ixzz4cXIB30It

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

03.24.17

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

IMG 24921.JPG

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

Click here for more information on the SXSWedu panel. 

The book is available for purchase from this website:   http://ed311.com/product/restorative-discipline-practices/

COPP and League of Women Voters host District 5 Candidate Forum

03.21.17

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

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

For maps, visit http://www.utsa.edu/visit/downtown-campus.html

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

For questions, please email michelle.skidmore@utsa.edu or copp@utsa.edu or call 210-458-2530

Eventbrite listing

Criminal Justice student selected for 2017 FBI San Antonio Citizens Academy

03.06.17

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

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

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

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

03.03.17

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

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

Criminal justice student is recipient of the prestigious Ed Whitacre Scholarship

02.22.17

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

Dieter Cantu goes from juvie to Peace Corps

02.22.17

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

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

by Richard A. Marini
San Antonio Express-News 

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

02.17.17

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

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

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

2017 Pi Alpha Alpha inductees

The 2017 Inductees

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

Outstanding alumna

Mary Peters, MPA

UTSA faculty are helping public authorities update their housing policies

02.15.17

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

- Jesus Chavez

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

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

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

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

Social work professor Dr. Heidi Rueda shares tips on how to foster healthy relationships

02.14.17

On Valentine's Day, thousands of couples get together to celebrate their love.  But how can you tell if the relationship is good for you?

UTSA professor Heidi A. Rueda, Ph.D. is an expert in adolescent dating and relationships, particularly among Mexican American couples, teens with disabilities and teens who are parenting.

Rueda has been working to curb potential intimate partner violence since her time as a social worker advocating for women seeking help from domestic violence.  Since 2011, Rueda and her colleague, Lela Rankin Williams of Arizona State University, have published 12 studies on the causes and unique cultural contexts of dating violence among Hispanic teens, including a 2014 study exploring the relationships of teens age 15-17.  Her research interests lay in helping young people understand how to foster healthy, loving relationships and avoid toxic entanglements.

According to Rueda, while cultural values can often determine what someone might consider a “good” relationship, there are a few tenants that all healthy relationships hold.

“The number one thing is that a person should be able to feel safe in a relationship,” Rueda said.  “People must be able to balance their need for autonomy with intimacy. It’s important for the two people in the relationship to be on the same page or working to be on the same page regarding what's important to them, their goals and plans for the future.”

To fully enjoy being with one another, Rueda says that respectful and open communication is key. It is important to take time to build a friendship, and to practice communicating in an honest, respectful and calm way that reflects your needs and desires in the relationship.

“Love isn’t just about feeling attracted to someone,” Rueda said.  “It’s also about developing friendship and deciding whether you want to offer a commitment to that person. How do you do that? Respectful communication goes a long way.”

In the past, creating open channels of communication could be a challenge for young people because it meant discussing sensitive issues face-to-face.  Social media, however, has provided new ways to help them connect.

“Teens and young adults experience much of their communication online or through social media platforms,” Rueda said.  “This can help create open dialogue more easily, but, of course, it can also lead to new types of conflict. Teens are negotiating new types of boundaries and relationship rule-setting within online spaces.”

An unhealthy relationship can make a person feel unsafe and uneasy about their life and partner, Rueda says.  Excessive jealousy, cheating and physical and emotional violence are reoccurring themes in such relationships.

“Not every unhealthy relationship escalates to physical or emotional violence,” Rueda said.  “However both unhealthy and violent relationships often demonstrate issues with communication of conflict, such as putting the other person down or blaming them for issues.  Couples can learn to communicate in new and healthier ways that demonstrate respect for one another.  Relationships become abusive when a person is threatening to hurt you or people you care about, becomes violent toward you, forces you to do things sexually that you don’t want to do or tries to control what you do.”

What should a young person do if they suspect they’re in an unhealthy or toxic relationship?  Rueda says that there’s no one size fits all answer to this, but that the first step is seeking support.

“If you suspect that you’re in an unhealthy or toxic relationship, or if you are in a relationship in which violence is present, know that you are not alone,” Rueda said.  “Seeking help from a professional who understands the importance of prioritizing safety can make all the difference. You and your partner should also make the decision that you will not enact violence in your relationship, whether emotional, sexual, or physical; nor will you accept it.”

Valentine’s Day is just one day in which to examine your relationship and whether you feel safe and respected, Rueda says.

“On Valentine’s Day and every other day, it’s important to remember that rather than simply ‘falling in love,’ we all have a choice about who we spend our time with and who we offer commitment,” Rueda said.  “Always remember that the most important relationship is the one you have with yourself.  If you’re in a relationship that isn’t a safe one for your heart, body, mind or soul, there are people to help you to create a future that you deserve.”

Currently, Rueda is working on a community-based research study with Seton Home, a residential foster care facility for girls 12 and up who are pregnant and parenting, and who have experienced trauma, often interpersonal.  She is also working on an international study analyzing data from high school students in San Antonio, Phoenix and Michoacán, Mexico.

Rueda received her Ph.D. in social work and her Master of Social Work with a concentration in planning, administration and community practice from Arizona State University.  She earned her bachelor's degrees in psychology and Spanish from the University of Nebraska, Omaha.

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

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Learn more about the UTSA Department of Social Work, based in the College of Public Policy.

If you or someone you know needs help or would like to speak with someone about your relationship, visit UTSA Counseling Services, or call The National Domestic Violence Hotline.

Connect with UTSA online at Facebook, Twitter,YouTube and Instagram.

Applications open for research paper competition

02.07.17

COPP undergraduate and graduate students can now apply to compete in the annual research paper competition.  Monetary prizes will be awarded.

COPP 2016-2017 Student Research Paper Competition Rules

  • This competition is open to all graduate students in Criminal Justice, Demography, Public Administration, or Social Work programs. It is also open to undergraduate students majoring in Criminal Justice or Public Administration who will graduate in Spring 2017 or later. The competition is limited to papers submitted for Summer 2016, Fall 2016 or Spring 2017 COPP courses. Only papers sponsored by the faculty member teaching the class for which the paper was written will be accepted.

  • Submissions are limited to papers related to scholarly research. This includes original research or reviews of existing research or literature. Thought papers or creative writing efforts are not appropriate submissions for this competition.  Only one submission per student will be accepted.

  • Submitted papers are limited to 30 double-spaced pages. Completed dissertations, theses, exit papers, and projects may be submitted only if shortened to this length. • Papers must be submitted by April 21 st, 2017. Award winners will be announced in May 2017.

  • Winners will be chosen by a faculty committee comprised of representatives from each of the four COPP departments, judging on the basis of substantive merit and quality of writing.

  • One award of $500.00 will be granted to a winner in each of the following categories: Undergraduate, Masters, Doctoral.

  • Winners will be recognized by a letter and certificate from the Dean of the COPP, and publicized by the College.

  • If warranted, honorable mentions may also be awarded in each category.  Honorable mentions will be recognized by the College but will not carry a cash award.

  • Download application (Word)

    Download application (PDF)

    Completed applications, including the research paper, are due in hard copy or electronically copp@utsa.edu to the College of Public Policy by:  5PM Friday, April 21 st 2017

    Do children eat less junk food if they are breastfed longer?

    02.03.17

    (Feb. 2, 2017) -- Breastfeeding for longer could help some children curb their junk food intake later in life, according to new UTSA research published in Public Health Nutrition.

    Dylan B. Jackson, a criminal justice professor in the UTSA College of Public Policy, and his colleague, Kecia R. Johnson of Mississippi State University, studied data from the U.S. Department of Education related to the development of 10,000 American children from birth to age five.  They hoped to determine whether infant breastfeeding, paired with family socioeconomics, would impact junk food consumption in children.

    Jackson and his collaborator were also interested in examining whether race and ethnicity would affect their research findings, particularly among white, Hispanic and black families.

    The researchers used data compiled over several years by the National Center for Education Statistics to review key points during the development of 10,000 children.  Between ages nine months and two years, mothers were asked whether they breastfed their child and, if so, for how long. By the time the children were in kindergarten, those same parents were asked to report the frequency of their children’s junk food consumption over a seven-day period.

    Junk food, in this case, was defined as fast food, soda/other sugary beverages, salty snacks or sweets.  Families were categorized as being low or high in socioeconomic status.

    Across racial and ethnic groups, the researchers found that breastfeeding duration had little to no effect on the junk food consumption of children from high socioeconomic families.

    However, Jackson and Johnson found that breastfeeding was associated with less frequent junk food consumption among black children of low socioeconomic status.

    “Being breastfed was consistently associated with lower junk food intake across all junk food types among black children of low socioeconomic status,” Jackson said. “Black mothers, however, tend to breastfeed less and for shorter durations than other mothers in the sample.”

    The researchers urge future studies on the topic to explore the mechanisms that might further explain their findings.

    “Black women have historically been the least likely to initiate and continue breastfeeding compared with other racial and ethnic groups in the U.S.,” Jackson said.  “There are a variety of social, historical and cultural reasons for it. Based on our findings, there are significant and consistent connections between duration of breastfeeding and appetite for junk food among black children of low socioeconomic status, however.”

    The researchers hope to identify and promote strategies that assist women in their efforts to breastfeed should be made.  Their goal is to create a healthier future for children, particularly black children from low socioeconomic families.

    In particular, Jackson and Johnson point to the federal Women, Infants and Children (WIC) special supplemental nutrition program as a useful point of intervention since black women are often overrepresented among WIC participants.  The WIC program also offers breastfeeding peer counseling services, which could serve as an added opportunity for educational, emotional and social support for mothers.

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

    By Jesus Chavez, Public Affairs Specialist

    UTSA researchers collaborate to produce white paper on education and the Texas economy

    01.27.17

    UTSA Researchers Dr. Rogelio Sáenz, Dean, UTSA College of Public Policy, Dr. Enrique Alemán, Chair of the Department of Educational Policy and Leadership Studies of the UTSA College of Education and researchers from the UTSA Office of Economic Development collaborated in writing a white paper to address the education crisis Texas faces. The name of the paper, titled Why Investing in Education Fuels the Texas Economy, analyzes the impact of education on business interests and provides vital information to ensure Texas will be able to sustain its future economic growth.

    Educate Fir$t, a collaboration of individuals from the fields of business, academia and education who held a press conference to announce the release of the paper to call attention to the role education plays in the economic vitality of the state and nation.   Download the full press release  here for more information.

    Researcher examines the duration of breastfeeding and childhood behavior problems

    01.27.17

    Criminal Justice Assistant Professor Dr. Dylan Jackson examines how the role of genetic risk and duration of breastfeeding interact to predict childhood behavior problems.

    A long line of research has identified a number of factors that heighten the risk of conduct problems in children, including low socioeconomic status, inadequate parenting, and low birth weight. Short duration of breastfeeding has increasingly been considered as a factor in predicting childhood behavior issues.  However, others suggested that the findings are inconsistent with predicting impulsive behaviors in children.  Little attention has been given to whether the influence of breastfeeding on childhood conduct problems is different for individuals with varying degrees of genetic risk.  Jackson employed a study to examine a subsample of twins from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study: Birth Cohort (ECLS-B), a nationally representative sample of American children.  His findings suggest that a shorter duration of breastfeeding only enhances the risk of offspring conduct problems among children who possess high levels of genetic risk.  For more information, refer to his article published Oct. 2016 in the Journal of Social Science & Medicine.

    Hill Country Alliance names Dr. Francine Romero new board member

    01.19.17

    The Hill Country Alliance (HCA) appoints Associate Dean and Associate Professor Dr. Francine Romero to its board of directors.  

    Dr. Romero brings expertise in planning and conservation to the HCA Board.  She currently serves as the Chair of the City of San Antonio's Conservation Advisory Board (CAB), which oversees the Edwards Aquifer Protection Program.  She also serves as San Antonio's District 8 Zoning Commissioner and is Chair of the Commission.

    For the full press release, please visit the Hill Country Alliance webpage.

    UTSA, San Antonio Express-News and KLRN present town hall on sanctuary cities

    01.12.17

    During the 85th legislative session, the supposed threat of "sanctuary cities" is a priority for conservative lawmakers in Texas.  Is San Antonio a "sanctuary city?" What is SAPD's current policy on federal immigration enforcement?   Join the University of Texas at San Antonio, KLRN, and the San Antonio Express-News as they present a town hall forum on Sanctuary Cities:  State rules versus local control.  The event will be held on Jan. 26 at the UTSA Downtown CAmpus, Buena Vista St. Bldg. at 7 p.m.  Guest panelists include S.A.P.D. Chief of Police William McManus, State Rep. Diego Bernal, Jeff Judson from the Heartland Institute, and Robert Stovall, G.O.P. County Chairman. Associate Dean and Associate Professor in the Department of Public Administration Dr. Francine Romero will serve as moderator. We hope to see you there. RSVP at www.mysa.com/townhall. Event is free and open to the public. Free parking in Lot D-3 un unmarked spaces.

    District Office of Congressman Joaquin Castro is seeking interns

    01.11.17

    The district office of Congressman Joaquin Castro has internship opportunities for graduate students and experienced undergraduates.  Interns in the district office in San Antonio assist with constituent services and are often assigned to projects, including outreach and planning for community events.  They may be asked to assist caseworkers to resolve issues with federal services and managing constituent correspondences as well as clerical responsibilities.  Interns are expected to work 15-20 hours per week.  Internships are available in the Spring, Summer, and Fall.  The deadline has passed for Spring, but students may still apply for Summer 2017.  The deadline for Summer is April 1, 2017.  Applications will be reviewed as they are received.  Visit the internship link for the instructions.  The office ask that you not make any phone inquiries.  

    Congressman Castro has emerged as a national voice on some of the nation's most important issues.  Congressman Castro now serves in House Democratic Leadership as Chief Deputy Whip.  He is also a founding co-chair of the Congressional Pre-K Caucus and the U.S.-Japan Caucus.

    Alpha Phi Sigma gives hope for the holidays

    01.02.17

    Alpha Phi Sigma, the Criminal Justice National Honor Society, raised over $300.00 in gifts for an adopted family to have a very merry holiday season.   Alpha Phi Sigma participated in Family Service Association's "Adopt-A-Family" program.  They raised funds to purchase essential items and delivered the gifts to their adopted family.   Each year, Family Service Association -- a non-profit organization in San Antonio that assists children, seniors, and families -- partners with agencies and other institutions to provide gifts that help families retain independence and self-sufficiency.  Families who are in financial crisis or of low income status during the holiday season apply to take part in the program to receive toys, clothes, and other household necessities. 

    Alpha Phi Sigma is the nationally recognized honor society for students in the Criminal Justice sciences. The society recognizes academic excellence by undergraduates as well as graduates of Criminal Justice.

    Social Work Associate Professor Amy Chanmugam recognized for social work research

    12.21.16

    Social Work Associate Professor Dr. Amy Chanmugam will be part of the 2017 class of Fellows of the Society for Social Work Research (SSWR).  Fellows are members who have served with distinction to advance the mission of the Society, which are to advance, disseminate, and translate research that addresses issues of social work practice and policy and to promote a diverse and equitable society.  

    The SSWR Fellowship has been established by the Society to honor and to recognize current SSWR members for their individual accomplishments, leadership and contribution to SSWR as a scientific society.  As a fellow, Chanmugam will serve as a role model and mentor for individuals pursuing careers in social work research.  The SSWR will officially announce Chanmugam's distinction at its annual conference in New Orleans in January.

    Assistant Professor Megan Augustyn studies harmful effects of juvenile transfer policies

    12.16.16

    The push for harsher sentencing policies of juvenile offenders specifically through the use of juvenile waiver to criminal court is one that is not well understood.  Assistant Professor in the Department of Criminal Justice, Megan Augustyn and colleague Thomas Loughran, used data from the Pathways to Desistance Study, to investigate the effects that juvenile waiver has on the social status on adolescents.  The study consists of a sample of 557 adolescent offenders from Maricopa County, Arizona, who were followed over seven years post-adjudication.  Using various matching specifications, Augustyn and Loughran's findings demonstrate that the juveniles who were transferred to the adult court experience suffered no harmful effects on human capital in terms of educational acquisition compared to similar youth retained in the juvenile system.  However, these youth still earned considerably less income seven years post-adjudication. Augustyn's study has been accepted for publication in Criminology in late 2017.

    Civic engagement class presents Constitution Café

    12.02.16

    Foundations of Civic Engagement Course, PAD 2073, a class that is part of the new civic engagement minor, offered by the Department of Public Administration, held its first Constitution Café at the UTSA main campus, Dec. 1, 2016.  Constitution Café brought members of the community together to discuss a specific topic - the electoral college.  PAD 2073 was the first class within the College to hold a Constitution Café, modeled after Thomas Jefferson's engaging platform for promoting and building a participatory democracy.  Thomas Jefferson, an American founding father, who is the principal author of the Declaration of Independence, believed that the U.S. Constitution should be revised periodically to keep up with the changing times.  More than 50 students, educators and community leaders attended the student-led project, with Jefferson's philosophy in mind.  Attendees participated in group-like discussions on whether the electoral college should remain or the Constitution be amended to replace the current system with a direct voting system.  The event received press coverage from Univision and the Rivard Report.

    “We feel like it was set up based on a system where information spread very slowly, and today that doesn’t happen,” UTSA College of Public Policy Project Coordinator Forrest Wilson said on behalf of his group Thursday. “People (today) are more able to make an informed decision.”

    Many of the students of the newly established civic engagement minor class were excited to host their service-learning project for the first time.

    "I've been waiting in anticipation for this event since I saw it written on the syllabus," UTSA public administration student Jamilyn Keeton said.  "The whole process has been a great experience that has really made my first semester here at UTSA truly inspiring.  This class is a wonderful addition to UTSA, and I only expect greater things in the future."

    Students submitted grant proposals to the City of San Antonio Challenge Grant program.  The City of San Antonio with the help of Councilman Ron Nirenberg awarded funding to the undergraduate students' service learning project to hold a Constitution Café and discuss the U.S. Constitution and how the community can be engaged with their government.  The purpose was for participants to learn more about the U.S. Constitution and have a chance to discuss amendments they would like to propose.  

    Study Abroad in Guadalajara, Mexico

    12.01.16

    The Department of Public Administration is offering a two-week summer program in Guadalajara, Mexico beginning May 30, 2017.  This program is an overview of social welfare policy design and evaluation.   The course will involve a review of strategies for intervention, the impact of policy on citizens and communities, and standard frameworks for analysis.  Social policy evaluation is critical for discerning what works, under what circumstances, and for whom.  The study abroad experience will provide students with an opportunity to compare social welfare program design and results with similar programs offered in the U.S.  There will be two class meetings prior to travel that will provide an orientation and overview of material.  In Guadalajara, students will attend courses at an internationally recognized policy institute, visit social program sites, and participate in cultural activities.  Program is open to all undergraduate and graduate students.

    Program at a Glance

    First Summer Session:  May 30-July 6, 2017
    Travel Dates:  June 11-25, 2017

    Cost:  $1,750.00 (estimated) + tuition and fees for 3 credit hours.  Cost includes airfare, onsite transportation, housing, meals, instructional materials, and cultural activities fees.  

    Not included:  personal purchases, passport fees ($135), international student identification card ($25), and health insurance.

    Deposit of $400 is due January 30, 2017.  Proof of valid passport required by March 15, 2017. 

    Course offerings 

    • CRJ 4843 or 6343, Study Abroad: Intl CRJ

    • PAD 4843 or 6343, Study Abroad: Intl PAD

    • SWK 6973, Special Topics 

    Download flyer for more information.  For questions, please contact Dr. Jennifer Alexander at jennifer.alexander@utsa.edu or call (210) 458-2532.

    State Rep. Diego Bernal presents “What’s Next for DREAMers?”

    11.29.16

    U.S. Reps. Joaquin Castro and Lloyd Doggett will provide opening remarks in a DACA Summit at the University of Texas at San Antonio's Downtown Campus, Dec. 11 to call attention to the threats of deportation from President-elect Donald Trump's promised cancellation of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).  The event will be held from 2 p.m. - 4 p.m. in the Aula Canaria Lecture Hall (BV 1.328) located in the Buena Vista St. Bldg.  The event is free and open to the public.  

    On June 5, 2012, President Barack Obama created a new policy via executive order for deferred action for certain undocumented youth who came to the U.S. as children.  That program was referred to as the DACA program, which provided the undocumented youth relief from deportation for two-year, renewable terms.  These DACA recipients, who qualify for the deferred action initiative, also known as DREAMers, were eligible for work authorization but required to have a GED or high school diploma.  However, Trump could end a program that has benefitted over 800,000 immigrant students.  DACA does not grant a path to permanent residency or citizenship.  The DREAM Act,which would lead to permanent residency, has not passed.  President-elect Trump may end the DACA program once he takes office January 20, 2017.

    Free parking is available in any A or B or commuter space on the surface lots.  See UTSA Downtown Campus map for directions.

    Livestream by NowCast SA.  Missed the event?  Click on youtube link to access the program.

    Dr. Rogelio Sáenz’s new research finds white deaths exceed births in one-third of U.S. states

    11.29.16

    White Deaths Exceed Births in One-Third of U.S. States 

    Rogelio Sáenz, University of New Hampshire 

    Kenneth M. Johnson, University of New Hampshire
    Abstract
    In this brief, authors Rogelio Sáenz and Kenneth Johnson report that there were more white deaths than births in seventeen states in 2014, compared to just four states in 2004. This is the highest number of states with white natural decrease (more deaths than births) in U.S. history. Several of these states are among the nation’s most populous and urbanized. The rising number of older adults, the falling number of women of childbearing age, and lower fertility rates diminished the number of white births and increased the number of white deaths. The authors conclude with a discussion of the major policy implications of this growing incidence of white natural decrease and the increasing shift to a more racially/ethnically diverse U.S. population. Their work is based on data from the National Center for Health Statistics of the Centers for Disease Control.  Visit the UNH scholars webpage for the full report or download brief.  You may also view the press release here.

    The research was conducted by Rogelio Sáenz, policy fellow at the Carsey School of Public Policy, dean of the UTSA College of Public Policy, and the Mark G. Yudof Endowed Professor at the University of Texas at San Antonio, and Kenneth Johnson, senior demographer at Carsey and a professor of sociology at the University of New Hampshire.  The Carsey School of Public Policy conducts research, leadership development, and engaged scholarship relevant to public policy.  They address pressing challenges, striving for innovative, responsive, and equitable solutions at all levels of government and in the for profit and nonprofit sectors.

    COPP scholarship award recipients announced

    11.21.16

    UTSA Freshmen Jennifer Gomez and Lindsey Walker have been named UTSA COPP Scholars for the 2016-2017 academic year for superb academic achievements while in high school.

    COPP scholars Jennifer Gomez and Lindsey Walker were each recently awarded $1,000 based on their high level of academic achievements and graduating among the top in their high school class.

    Jennifer and Lindsey have both officially accepted the award.  Jennifer will major in Criminal Justice and Lindsey will major in public administration.  Due to her high GPA, Jennifer may be eligible to join Alpha Phi Sigma, the Criminal Justice National Honor Society to help enrich her college experience.  Lindsey has plans to study educational policy and reform, and Jennifer aspires to study topics in crime and society.

    The COPP Scholars Program was created by the College of Public Policy in 2014 as a way to provide financial support to outstanding students like Jennifer and Lindsey and attract the state’s highest achieving students. The award comes with a $1,000 stipend to be applied towards tuition and fees, as long as the students maintain a good academic standing. Scholarship recipients will also be invited as special guests of the Dean to several high profile college events.

    The College of Public Policy is entirely committed to helping students achieve their academic and career goals.  We are thrilled to have Jennifer and Lindsey in our College and we hope that their achievements will inspire others to take advantage of everything UTSA has to offer.  To read more about Jennifer and Lindsey, visit our features page.

    ‘The numbers don’t add up!’

    11.16.16

    Public Administration Professor Heywood Sanders provides in depth interview with Investigative Reporter Lee Zurik of Fox 8 in New Orleans about the Morial Convention Center inflated attendance numbers. 

    NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - If you take the management of New Orleans' Morial Convention Center at their word, then you'd likely assume that "business is booming" - that's exactly what GM Bob Johnson tells us in a recent interview.

    From City Hall down, convention center money leaves NOLA residents frustrated.  Zurik: Convention Center cash piles up as attendance numbers fall flat In 2014.  For instance, the Morial Convention Center reported an economic impact of $1.81 billion. But is that even close to accurate? If you investigate the numbers that MCC publishes every year, you'll find that booming assessment may be off - sometimes, way off.

    "Who do you think you're fooling?" wonders policy public researcher Heywood Sanders, author of the book Convention Center Follies. "Let's be real, let's be honest. Let's give the public a realistic assessment of how this thing is doing."  Read more from the Fox 8 story by Investigative Reporter Lee Zurik.  Video available here

    College of Public Policy civic engagement students rock the vote with local leaders

    11.02.16

    The public administration students in the Foundations for Civic Engagement course, taught by Dr. Francine Romero, showed up and showed out to vote early.  Councilman of District 8 Ron Nirenberg spoke to the class first, then walked with the class from the Business Bldg., to the H-E-B University Center's Bexar Room to meet up with UTSA President Ricardo Romo and UTSA Student Government Association President Andrew Hubbard.  Together they waited in line to cast their ballot.  Director of the Center of Civic Engagement Brian Halderman and UTSA Public Administration alum and Director of MOVE San Antonio Drew Galloway were there to answer students' questions about the voting procedure.  Students wore the orange UTSA COPP T-shirts to show their unified spirit while engaging in the political process. The Paisano Student Newspaper captured the voting excursion story.  You can read more about it here.

    Dr. Francine Romero with her class, UTSA President Ricardo Romo and Councilman of District 8 Ron Nirenberg on the steps of the H-E-B University Center


    Dr. Francine Romero with her class outside the voting site along with President Ricardo Romo and Councilman Ron Nirenberg

    Dr. Francine Romero shakes President Romo's hand before President Romo gives pep talk.

    President Romo speaks with students prior to voting; talks about importance of participating in the voting process.


    President Ricardo Romo (left) with Councilman Ron Nirenberg (middle) and SGA President Andrew Hubbard (right)

    Weaving the Past tells the untold stories of Mexican American history, culture, and ancestry

    11.01.16

    The UTSA College of Public Policy in collaboration with Los Angeles-based Chasing Light Pictures, LLC, the UTSA Mexican-American Studies Program, the Mexican-American Studies Student Organization, and the UTSA Mexico Center present inspirational film screening of critically-acclaimed docu-drama Weaving the Past: Journey of Discovery, Nov. 16.

    Weaving the Past is about Los Angeles award-winning documentary filmmaker Walter Dominguez's quest to discover the missing pieces of his grandfather Reverend Emilio Hernandez's life and the forces that compelled him to immigrate from Mexico to the United States. The film has won awards and has been embraced by multi-ethnic audiences.  

    About the film: Filmmaker Walter Dominguez finds himself at a crossroads in his life, wondering how to find a new path and regain his sense of purpose. A mysterious photograph connected to his late beloved Mexican-born grandfather Emilio, a kindly and saintly minister who influenced Walter’s life, leads Walter to embark on a quest to unearth answers to enigmas and mysteries surrounding Emilio’s early life.
    Read more...

    Walter Dominguez, Los Angeles documentary filmmaker, who is of Mexican-American heritage wrote, produced and directed Weaving the Past: Journey of Discovery. His wife, Shelley Morrison, who was an actress on the hit NBC tv series Will and Grace, executive produced the film. UTSA Senior Lecturer and Texas A&M University Kingsville Professor Emeritus Dr. Ward Albro, served as Chief Historical Consultant.  The film is about Walter's quest to find his long-lost family of origin in Mexico and the journey to find the missing pieces in his grandfather Reverend Emilio Hernandez's life and the forces that shaped his grandfather's immigration from Mexico to the United States. "Chasing Light Pictures, LLC has as its mission to tell the untold stories of the history, struggles and achievements of Mexican American and Latino immigrants and their descendants to audiences in the United States and elsewhere," said Walter Dominguez. The College of Public Policy, (sponsor) the Mexican American Studies Program, the Mexican American Studies Student Organization, and the Mexico Center (co-sponsors) are excited to bring this multicultural event to faculty, students, staff, alumni and the San Antonio community.

    re-enact cast and crew

    Reenact Cast and Crew

    For more information about Weaving the Past, its cast and crew, biographies, awards, trailer, videos, photos, etc., please visit http://www.weavingthepast.com

    For questions about the event at the University of Texas San Antonio Downtown Campus, please contact Michelle Skidmore at (210) 458-3213 or email michelle.skidmore@utsa.edu.  You may also visit our event page here:  http://copp.utsa.edu/weavingthepast

    Download flyer here

    Official Trailer:

    COPP to host visiting Canadian scholar to present lecture on paramilitarism

    10.18.16

    Jasmin Hristov, a visiting Canadian scholar from the University of Toronto, will present a lecture on paramilitary groups and their influence on the political violence as a tool for economic globalization.

    Jasmin Hristov, a Canadian scholar will present a lecture on paramilitarism and how paramilitary violence has been a tool of economic globalization in different parts of Latin America.  Jasmin Hristov is an author of the books Paramilitarism and Neoliberalism: Violent Systems of Capital Accumulation in Colombia and Beyond (Pluto Press 2014) and Blood and Capital: the Paramilitarization of Colombia (Ohio University Press 2009). Her work has also been featured in: Journal of Peasant Studies; Latin American Perspectives; Journal of Peacebuilding and Development; Labour, Capital and Society; and Social Justice.

    Paramilitarism a hybrid and complex type of politically-motivated violence involving non-state actors and state agents. Paramilitary groups have played an increasingly important role in contemporary armed conflicts as well as violent social environments in different parts of the world and have engaged in some of the most horrifying human rights violations. The proliferation of paramilitarism has been crucial to contemporary processes of capital and class formation, and particularly in land-grabbing, extractive industries operations, and the repression of struggles against privatization and austerity reforms. Nevertheless, this phenomenon remains largely under-investigated and poorly understood. This presentation will explain paramilitary violence as a tool of economic globalization and will offer current examples of paramilitary groups in different parts of Latin America.

    COPP Meets the World expands internship opportunities

    10.13.16

    COPP students were able to receive a plethora of information on internships and fellowships during "COPP Meets the World" information session hosted by The UTSA College of Public Policy.  Over 50 undergraduate and graduate students gathered on Oct. 11, 2016, at the UTSA Downtown Campus in the Southwest Room (DB 1.124) to listen to recruiters from prestigious local, state, and national organizations talk about internship requirements and how to take advantage of the various opportunities available to them. These organizations below partner with government organizations who are dedicated to developing the next generation of public servants.  Below are links which have more information about the programs and applications.  Deadlines are fast approaching.  

    Archer Center Fellowship: http://www.archercenter.org/

    Hispanic Association of Colleges & Universities (HACU): http://www.hacu.net/hacu/HACU_Student_Programs.asp

    Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute: http://chci.org/programs/

    Nationally-Recognized City of San Antonio Management Fellows (COSA): https://www.sanantonio.gov/HR/CareerCenter.aspx#lt-13706901-management-fellows (applications will be ready to view at the end of October.)

    Luna Legislative Scholars: http://www.tshrc.org/luna-scholars-fellows-program/

    UTSA Legislative Scholars: http://honors.utsa.edu/students/programs/legislative-scholars

    Public Policy & International Affairs (PPIA) Fellowship Program: https://www.ppiaprogram.org/ppia/

    City of San Antonio Student Internships:  student internships

    Representatives spoke about qualifications and requirements.  One COPP adjunct professor T.J. Mayes noted that his students were very pleased with the level of information provided and were "fired up" to start preparing on the process for applying for these internships.  

    Ambassador Arnold Chacon speaks to COPP students about careers in the Foreign Service

    10.13.16

    Ambassador Chacon visited UTSA's Downtown Campus to provide an informative and enlightening presentation on the value of a career with the Foreign Service.  He gave advice to students on how to prepare for careers in foreign affairs.   "UTSA is ideal place to recruit for Foreign Service careers," said Chacon.  He also mentioned that it is important to prepare early for internships and get educated on the process.  

    The internship process is very competitive.  He mentioned that some colleges will provide stipends to aid in costs such as travel and housing.  Some of the programs are in Washington D.C. and some overseas.  A variety of options exist for internships and fellowships for both undergraduate and graduate students.  "As an intern, you are given real responsibilities," said Chacon.  "In foreign affairs, there is a demand for people to know languages such as Spanish, Chinese, and Arabic.  However, it is not necessary to be fluent in any of these languages to enter the Foreign Service," he said.  "Communication skills are extremely important," said Chacon.  "Students should be able to write succinctly," he added.  Chacon took questions from the audience after his presentation.  

    Students asked questions on internship qualifications, how to navigate through their career path, and the challenges of having a career in foreign affairs.  

    A student mentioned to the audience that there is an app one can download as a guide for careers to consider in the Foreign Service.  After the Q&A, Associate Dean Dr. Francine Romero thanked Ambassador Chacon for attending.

    Students were then able to network with their peers, Ambassador Chacon, faculty, career services staff, and the representatives with the Department of the State.

    Lucy Dong, a criminal justice student, felt that Chacon's presentation made a difference in her life.  She knew what she wanted to do but just did not know how to get there.  "This event really inspired me, and now I have a better chance of getting where I need to be," said Dong.

    This event was sponsored by the UTSA University Career Center and the UTSA College of Public Policy.

    San Antonio Police Chief William McManus visits criminal justice class

    10.06.16

    San Antonio Police Chief William McManus was guest speaker for the class on Contemporary Police Practices:  Crime Control Strategies, taught by UTSA Criminal Justice Lecturer III Robert Rico.  Chief McManus addressed issues on crime control and police-community relations.  

    Judicial and Sheriff Candidate Forum enhances civic engagement

    10.06.16

    The Judicial and Sheriff Candidate Forum was a very well-attended event last night. Phyllis Ingram, Voter Services Director of the League of Women Voters of the San Antonio area, moderated the forum.  Candidates offered their reasons for why they feel they would be the best person for the position. They took questions from the audience and explained how they would tackle specific challenges in Bexar County such as managing a jail and upholding the values of accountability and impartiality.  Audience members listened attentively to each candidate's stance on certain issues and how each candidate will contribute to justice reform.  Thank you to the Criminal Justice National Honor Society Alpha Phi Sigma and the Public Administration Student Organization for serving as the forum ambassadors. They came ready and eager to volunteer with greeting guests, collecting questions, and keeping time. They showed exceptional leadership and service and were excited to be part of a platform of public dialogue and develop a deeper understanding of the candidates in a face-to-face format. The candidates were extremely pleased to see that the UTSA College of Public Policy students are taking an active role in government and civic literacy.

    Dean Rogelio Saenz featured in El Paso Times - End Detention Center Business

    09.30.16

    Dean of the College of Public Policy, Dr. Rogelio Saenz, writes op-ed, addressing how private corporations have made tremendous amounts of wealth housing immigrant detainees.

    Saenz:  End lucrative immigrant detention business
    by Rogelio Saenz | Source:  El Paso Times

    Immigration detention is big business.  Over the last 15 years private corporations, most notably Corrections Corporation of America and the GEO Group, have made tremendous amounts of wealth housing immigrant detainees.

    As CCA and GEO Group experienced economic problems from building too many prisons at the close of the 20th century, 9-11 provided a boon as the need for detention centers expanded. The value of CCA stocks soared 147 percent between 2001 and 2002.

    In 2006, Immigration and Customs Enforcement ordered that all undocumented immigrants apprehended — not only Mexicans, as in the past — would now be caught-and-detained rather than caught-and-released.

    The volume of immigrant detainees rose by 42 percent between 2006 and 2007.  GEO’s stock shot up 131 percent during this period.

    Over the last several years, as thousands of Central American children and women have arrived in South Texas, CCA and GEO Group have reaped financial gains.

    CCA received a $1 billion contract to build a 2,400-bed detention center for women and children in Dilley, Texas.  GEO Group received a generous contract to build a 532-bed detention center in Karnes City, Texas.

    Just a few months ago, a British corporation in the security business, Serco, has been in talks with Jim Wells County commissioners as it seeks to submit a proposal to ICE for the establishment of another family detention center in Texas.

    There is a ray of hope for ending the lucrative immigrant detention business.

    On Aug. 18, the Department of Justice ordered a phasing out of private-run prisons, most notably CCA and GEO Group.  This directive stems from the decline in the prison population as well as an Inspector General report noting safety and security concerns in privately operated prisons.

    This decision also follows a recently released investigative report from The Nation showing massive medical negligence in more than two dozen deaths of non-citizen inmates in private prisons.

    Earlier this month the Department of Homeland Security announced that it will begin to assess whether ICE’s relationship with private corporations will also be terminated.

    There is also a litany of charges involving medical negligence and other abuses against CCA and GEO Group immigrant detention centers.

    Human Rights Watch released an investigative report in July looking into 18 deaths of migrants in the custody of ICE between 2012 and 2015 with two independent medical experts examining the medical evidence.

    The medical experts conclude that substandard medical care contributed to seven of the 18 deaths.  Of these seven deaths, three were persons being held in CCA detention centers and one other in a GEO Group detention facility.

    For about three hours correctional officers in the Eloy Detention Center, operated by CCA, ignored the plea of Manuel Cota-Domingo, a 34-year-old Guatemalan detainee, who complained that he could not breathe.  When they finally called medical personnel, Cota-Domingo was transferred by a van rather than an ambulance to a hospital, where he died.

    While supporters of the private corporations claim that such facilities are cost-effective, others disagree.

    Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates, in her memo ordering the termination of contracts with privately operated prisons, stresses that private prisons fall short of providing adequate services, programs, and resources compared to government-operated facilities.  Yates further notes that private prisons “do not save substantially on costs.”

    It is a dangerous arrangement when we outsource to private corporations the incarceration and detention of powerless individuals.

    The bottom line of privately run detention centers is to make money and, as investigative reports show, they cut corners to get there.  Following the action of the Department of Justice in closing privately operated prisons, it is time that we end the lucrative immigrant detention business.

    Rogelio Sáenz is dean of the College of Public Policy and is the Mark G. Yudof Endowed Professor at the University of Texas at San Antonio. He is co-author of the book titled “Latinos in the United States: Diversity and Change.”

    Associate Professor Dr. Michael Gilbert leads SA’s first community policing discussion

    09.23.16

    Criminal Justice Associate Professor and Executive Director of the Office of Community and Restorative Justice Dr. Michael Gilbert leads closed door meeting to discuss community and police relations in the aftermath of the recent shootings of unarmed Black men.  The discussion is aimed at increasing office accountability and transparency.  Full story on TPR radio.

    MOVE San Antonio releases new digital version of its voter guide

    09.21.16

    Drew Galloway, Executive Director of MOVE San Antonio, held a voter guide launch party to unveil the new digital version of their voter guide for the 2016 Elections. Galloway is an alum of the College's Public Administration program.  He serves as Executive Director of MOVE San Antonio, a progressive non-profit organization dedicated to giving youth a voice in politics.  Full story in the Paisano. 

    Francine Romero wins DOCUmation award for academic excellence

    09.01.16

    Associate Dean and Associate Professor, Dr. Francine Romero, wins DOCUmation Academic Excellence Award for her research, contributions to the UTSA Downtown Campus and to the City of San Antonio.

    This is the second time in a row that College of Public Policy faculty are the recipients of the DOCUmation excellence award.

    UTSA Athletics sponsor DOCUmation presented Romero with a check for $2,000.00 at the UTSA Roadrunner football game, Saturday, Sept. 3 in recognition of her outstanding achievements.  For the full list of honorees and the official release, click here.

    Dr. Rogelio Saenz receives ASA Founder’s Award for excellence in scholarship and service

    08.30.16

    During the American Sociological Association's annual meeting in Seattle, Dr. Rogelio Saenz received the 2016 Founder's Award for Scholarship and Service from the ASA Section on Racial and Ethnic Minorities. The Founder's Award recognizes career excellence in scholarship (substantive theoretical, empirical or applied contributions) and professional and/or community service.

    Congratulations to Dr. Saenz on earning this outstanding award.

    U.S. Foreign Service Paid Internship Opportunity

    08.29.16

    The U.S. Foreign Service (FS) Internship Program (USFSIP) is an opportunity for select students to participate in a paid, two-summer experience with exposes them to the Department of the State. Program is for rising juniors or seniors when starting the program.  Visit http://www.careers.state.gov for the official announcement.

    Applications open on or about Sept. 23, 2016 for summer of 2017 internship program.

    Please see email below from the State Department

    The Internship Program/ USFSIP is a program that, while it is not a federal Pathways program leading to employment, is designed to cultivate interest in State Department careers among exceptional students from diverse backgrounds who might not otherwise consider us to be an option. This two-summer program is particularly focused on students from diverse students of all backgrounds, who for economic reasons may not consider an internship away from home to be a viable option, especially if the internship is unpaid. The USFSIP is a highly selective program -- only 20-30 or so students nationwide are accepted each year. In the first summer the students do an internship t in the Washington, DC area, at one of our State Department offices. We will assist them with housing in a college dormitory setting. The second summer we will place them in an assignment overseas with one of our embassies or consulates. We will also assist them with the housing in the overseas locations. Each summer the interns will be paid at the level of an entry-level federal salary – which, combined with housing assistance, can make summer internships far more accessible to students of modest means.

    Candidates must be American citizens, have a solid 3.20 GPA (no rounding up to 3.2), and be eligible for a security clearance. Very few students will have had a security clearance before they apply for the program; if selected, they will complete a standard federal form that we will use to process the background investigation for the clearance (in order to qualify, students will need to have clean police free of serious issues, and need to have been drug-free for a year or more). The best candidates for the USFSIP are those who have an interest in international affairs, or who may want to learn more about the careers in the field. Their motivation and commitment to realizing their potential will have been recognized by professors or supervisors who know them well. Please see the attached flyer for more details. Please note that when the program opens up for applications for the summer of 2017, it will be open for only a week- it will be posted on/about September 23rd, and will close on/about September 30th. So, students who wish to apply will have to act quickly to submit their application package via USAJOBS.  Once you have established a USAJOBS account, it would be helpful to do a search of last year’s announcement on the USAJOBS site so you can see what it looked like and begin preparing their application with that announcement as a guide, until the new announcement is posted.


    Check out our new video!

    08.23.16

    The College of Public Policy unveils its first promotional video.  This video highlights who we are and illustrates the opportunities we offer, which help to foster student success. We hope this gives you an insight to what we have become, where we are bound, and how we continue to grow in the heart of San Antonio. Please feel free to share with others.

    Dr. Chris Reddick’s journal accepted for inclusion in Thomson Reuters index

    08.16.16

    Department Chair Dr. Chris Reddick's journal, International Journal of Public Administration in the Digital Age (IJPADA) has recently been accepted for inclusion in Thomson Reuters' new Web of Science Index, the Emerging Sources Citation Index.  Thomson Reuters Emerging Sources Citation Index expands the citation universe and reflects the growing global body of science and scholarly activity.  

    Click here to view the Newsroom announcement from IGI Global's website.

    Dr. Rogelio Saenz weighs in on the minimum wage debate

    08.11.16

    Dr. Rogelio Saenz shares his expertise on the minimum wage debate.  Saenz publishes essay as part of the WalletHub's forum titled "Should the Minimum Wage be Raised?"  Experts Pick Sides.  Saenz was one of seven sociologists, economists, and public policy experts who weighed in on the topic.  WalletHub is one of the leading online outlets covering the personal finance industry.

    Full story

    Study abroad is “eye opener” for criminal justice graduate student

    08.11.16

    by Nishita Maliek

    Nishita Maliek says that her study abroad experience proves there is much more to law enforcement than meets the eye. Maliek tells her story both from her time spent in Spain as an undergrad and her time as a graduate student.

    Study abroad to me as an undergrad gave me an aura of independence. The first year I went, I did not know anyone on the trip. Walking into the airport (more my mother dragging me in) was one of the most nerve wracking things I had done because of the element of unsurity. Once we were all checked in, everyone became a family. The biggest thing that stood out to me in Spain was that every one was not always "on the go" like we are here. Although work is important, enjoying life with the simple things (like having a two hour lunch instead of one) is pivotal to them. That in itself was beautiful to me. So often we forget to really enjoy what is in front of us. In terms of Criminal Justice (CRJ) as an undergrad, it helped me see that there is so much more to law enforcement than meets the eye. Going in, I thought I wanted to be lawyer. Leaving, I wanted to work for corrections.

    This was due to the fact that we visited the jail in Elche, and saw how important it was for offenders to have the right guidance, 

    support, and resources around them to prevent them from recidivating. The jail visit opened my eyes to not only the lives of correctional officers, but also the life of an inmate. Going as a grad student this past summer, I didn't think I'd get any more out of it than I did the first time. I couldn't have been more wrong. The two things that really made an impact on me was the supreme court in Madrid, and the Al Hambra in Granada. I saw the supreme court in Madrid for the first time, and what I thought was amazing was that in the middle of the court there was an outdoor courtyard planted with beautiful flowers. The reason for that is when the job becomes overwhelming and stressful, workers can go outside and de stress. That was beautiful to me. Jobs in CRJ can be draining, mentally physically and emotionally. To have small enjoyable moments can really help ease the tension that weighs down.

    Lastly, the Al Hambra. It was my second time seeing it, but it meant so much more. I am a Muslim American and it is not uncommon for that term to be viewed as a bad thing. At the Al Hambra, the tour guide explained to us that although this was muslim territory, all faiths combined to help build and design it. It was beautiful to see how very peacefully different faiths co existed then, which gave me hope and positivity for the future. Something that doesn't occur often.  

    In all, in regards to the CRJ system I learned that the problems and issues that we may think are unique to our society are actually very universal. People of all cultures deal with the same type of crime, causing the same distress on victims and society. Sure, there are differences in the way things work around the world. Yet, humans still deal with the same emotions, fears, and issues in each corner. Maintaining and enhancing CRJ organizations is not only a national effort, but is trans-national. Needless to say, study abroad is a good idea to anyone that is open to experiencing something new. It not only teaches you independence, but also how to appreciate different cultures and people. It opens your eyes to something that you didn't know existed, and can benefit someone shaping them to be a well rounded person.

    Meet Summer Kohler, AmeriCorps VISTA

    08.09.16

    Summer Kohler, proud Roadrunner and current student of the UTSA Public Administration Program, plans to alleviate poverty in the economically distressed town of Pleasanton, TX.

    Summer Kohler enjoys her new endeavor as an AmeriCorps VISTA (Volunteer in Service to America). Summer's project focuses on building capacity in the economically distressed area of Pleasanton, TX. Her goals are to alleviate poverty, reduce unemployment and provide a better quality of life for the area. Summer's role includes conducting community research, which will lead to creating an economic development plan for the community.  Kohler currently works as Volunteer Economic Development Assistant for the Alamo Area Council of Governments (AACOG) and is dedicated to applying her public administration background to her new economic development role.

    2016 ICAA Schedule of Activities

    08.08.16

    Schedule of Activities

    Wednesday, September 14

    6-8:00 pm Kickoff Dinner Event DoubleTree Hotel (Salon de Gala)
    6:00-7:00 pm Registration/Meet & Greet
    7:00-7:15 pm Welcome Rogelio Sáenz, UTSA
    Jacqueline Angel, UT Austin

    7:30 p.m. Keynote Speaker Peter Ward, The University of Texas-Austin
    Evening Keynote: "How Place and Space Matter: Intersections between Housing, Health and the Life Course Among Aging Latinos" (By Invitation Only)

    Thursday, September 15
    7:30-8:30 am Registration continues/breakfast, UTSA Downtown Campus, Southwest Room (DB 1.124)
    8:30-8:40 am Welcome, Rogelio Sáenz René Zenteno (DB 1.124)
    8:40-9:20 am Opening Keynote, René Zenteno - The New Era of Mexico-U.S. migration: The post 2006 Experience and the Collapse of Undocumented Migration (DB 1.124)
    9:20 -9:30 am Remarks, UTSA President Dr. Ricardo Romo  (DB 1.124)

    Panel #1 9:30-10:30 am (all panel sessions will take place in the Durango Bldg., Room 1.124)
    Mexico’s Health Care Context
    Presider Fernando Torres-Gil University of California, Los Angeles

    Speaker: Mariana Lopez-Ortega Institutos Nacionales de Salud de México
    Co-Author: Luis Miguel Gutierrez Robledo, Institutos Nacionales de Salud de México
    Title: Contextualizing health and aging in Mexico: an opinion nationwide survey on aging

    Speaker: Hiram Beltran-Sanchez, UCLA
    Co-Authors: Anne R. Pebley, UCLA and Noreen Goldman, Princeton
    Title: Links between occupational history and functional limitations among older adults in Mexico

    Speaker: Veronica Montes De Oca, UNAM
    Co-Authors: Patricia Rea-Angeles, UNAM and Ron Angel, U.T. Austin
    Title: El envejecimiento en Mexico y el papel de las OSC

    Break 10:30-10:45 am

    Panel #2 10:45-11:45 am
    Contextualizing Human Security in the Americas:Mexico, Brazil, and the U.S
    Presider Fernando Riosmena, University of Colorado at Boulder

    Speaker: Leticia Marteleto, The University if Texas-Austin
    Title: Intergenerational Families in a Rapidly Aging Context: Forty Years of Elderly Empowerment in Brazil

    Speaker: Flavia Andrade, University of Illinois-Urbana
    Co-Author: Mariana Lopez-Ortega
    Title: Assessment of the Impact of Socioeconomic Disparities in Health among Retirement Age Adults in Brazil and Mexico

    Speaker: Stipica Mudrazija, Urban Institute
    Title: Present and Future Retirement Security for Aging Latinos

    Lunch 12:00-1:30 pm

    Panel #3 1:30-3:00pmAging in the Context of Stress, Fear, and Religious InvolvementPresider Luis Gutierrez, Institutos Nacionales de Salud de Mexico

    Speaker: William Vega, University of Southern California
    Co-Author: William Sribney
    Title: Regional Effects on ADL's and IADL's of Longitudinal Exposure to Life Course Stress Factors: A Comparison of U.S. Latino and White non-Latino older adults

    Speaker: Nestor Rodriguez, The University of Texas at Austin
    Co-Authors: Jacqueline Hagan, UTMB and David Leal
    Title: Aging Environments of Fear

    Speaker: Terrence Hill, University of Arizona at Tucson
    Co-Authors: Sunshine Rote, University of Louisville and Christopher G. Ellison, UTSA
    Title: Religious Involvement and Biological Functioning in Mexico

    Juried Poster Session 3:00-4:30pm
    Organizer Terrence Hill

    Panel #4 4:00-5:00pm
    Emerging Scholars Oral Presentations
    Presider Lloyd Potter, University of Texas San Antonio

    Award Ceremony and Reception 5:00-6:00pm

    Speed Monitoring and Dinner 6:30-9:30pm
    Presiders Bill Vega, USC and Brian Downer, UTMB

    Friday, September 16

    Panel #5 8:00-9:00am
    Social Support and Mexican-Origin Aging
    Presider Dr. Harriett Romo, Director, UTSA Mexico Center & Bank of America Child and Adolescent Policy, Research Institute

    Speaker: Carolyn Mendez-Luck, Oregon State University
    Title: Contextualizing Elder Care among Mexican-Origin Caregivers in the 21st Century Mexico and the United States

    Speaker: Kate Cagney, University of Chicago
    Title: Neighborhood Social Context and the Health of Older Latinos in the U.S.

    Speaker: Sunshine Rote, University of Louisville
    Co-Authors: Jacqui Angel, U.T. Austin and Kyriakos Markides, UTMB
    Title: Neighborhood Factors Caregiver Stress Processes among the Mexican-origin Population

    Speaker: Silvia Mejia Arango, Colegio de la frontera Norte, Mexico
    Co- Author: Rogelio Saenz, UTSA
    Title: Social Factors as Mediators of Cognition during the Life Course among the Elderly: The Case of Mexicans in Mexico and the United States

    Panel #6 10:00-11:00am
    New Binational Perspectives on Geriatric Health Services: Mexico and the USA
    Presider Iveris Martinez, Florida International University

    Speaker: Fanny Sleman, Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico (UNAM)
    Co-Author: Veronica Montes de Oca,Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico (UNAM)
    Title: Aging rule-based policies outcomes in the Mexican States

    Speaker: Jennifer Salinas, University of Texas School of Public Health Brownsville
    Title: Healthcare access and utilization on the U.S.-Mexico border region

    Closing Keynote Address 11:00am-12:00pm

    Speaker: Maria Aranda, University of Southern California
    Title: Closing Keynote-The Physical and Social Environment: Effects on Mental Health

    Consensus Building Session and Luncheon 12:30-1:30pm
    Co-Presider Rogelio Saenz, UTSA and Kyriakos Markides, UTMB-Galveston
    Presider Jacqui Angel, U.T. Austin

    CAA Advisory Group Publications Committee

    About the University of Texas at San Antonio Downtown Campus

    Located in the heart of San Antonio’s business, social and cultural scenes, the UTSA Downtown Campus offers undergraduate and graduate degree programs in the College of Architecture, Construction and Planning, the College of Public Policy and the College of Education and Human Development. Approximately one-third of UTSA’s graduate students take classes at the Downtown Campus. The urban campus is home to many of the university’s community outreach programs and extended education offerings and serves as a convenient location for hosting community wide events.

    The University of Texas at San Antonio is an emerging Tier One research institution with nearly 29,000 students. It is the largest university in the San Antonio metropolitan region. The University of Texas at San Antonio is dedicated to the advancement of knowledge through research and discovery, teaching and learning, community engagement and public service. As an institution of access and excellence, UTSA embraces multicultural traditions and serves as a center for intellectual and creative resources as well as a catalyst for socioeconomic development and the commercialization of intellectual property – for Texas, the nation and the world.

    Funding for this conference was made possible in part by a (R13) Scientific Meeting Grant from the National Institute of Health (NIA). No. AG029767-01A2 The views expressed in written conference materials or publications and by speakers and moderators do not necessarily reflect the official policies of the Department of Health and Human Services; nor does mention of trade names, commercial practices, or organizations imply endorsement by the U.S. Government.

    PAA 2017 Call for Papers Now Available

    07.15.16

    The Population Association of America announces its call for papers for the 2017 PAA Annual Meeting to take place in Chicago, IL, April 27-29.

    The Call for Papers is available now for the 2017 PAA Annual Meeting (#PAA2017). #PAA2017 will be held April 27 - 29 in Chicago, IL. You can find the Call for Papers and other information on the PAA Website.

    Confex will accept submissions online beginning July 28, 2016. The deadline for submissions is September 29, 2016.

    The PAA Board of Directors encourages broad participation in the Annual Meeting. If you would like to serve as a session Chair or Discussant at the 2017 Annual Meeting, please indicate your interest by filling out the interest form.

    To appear on the program, participants must register for the meeting. Registration information will be available later this fall. Additional information about exhibits, book displays, and travel awards will also be available in the near future.

    Please check the PAA website throughout the year for updated meeting information.

    Dr. Rob Tillyer appointed Interim Chair for Department of Criminal Justice

    07.15.16

    As Interim Chair for the Department of Criminal Justice, Dr. Rob Tillyer will be responsible for overseeing approximately 1,000 criminal justice undergraduate majors and 55 graduate students pursuing a Master of Science in Criminal Justice and Criminology.  Numerous graduates have gone on to work in federal, state, and local criminal justice agencies, attend law school, or pursue doctorate degrees.  In addition to student successes, the Department has been fortunate to attract well-trained research experts from around the country to join the faculty and pursue policy-relevant, scientifically-grounded research.  The Department currently employs 16 full-time faculty members, 2 staff members, and several part-time instructors.  Collectively, the 13 research faculty produce approximately 40 peer-reviewed articles per year and serve as investigators on numerous funded research projects and community-based initiatives.  The program aims to produce well-trained graduates ready for the next step in their career while also contributing cutting-edge research to address current criminal justice-related issues.

    Dr. Rob Tillyer is also Associate Dean for Graduate Studies and Research.  His research interests include crime prevention, criminal events, criminal justice decision making, and victimization.

    Ret. Staff Sergeant Eric Alva is nurturing the next generation of social workers

    07.14.16

    Veteran Eric Alva is dedicated to fighting for equality, social justice

    story by Jesus Chavez

    Meet Ret. Staff Sergeant Eric Alva. For as long as he can remember, this Roadrunner has tried to do what he believed was right, no matter the cost.

    Alva, a retired U.S. Marine Corps Staff Sergeant, is working as a program specialist with the UTSA Department of Social Work.  The San Antonio native helps UTSA social work students connect with top-tier organizations for work or internship opportunities.

    “It’s been great to know that I can help UTSA’s great students gain the practical experiences that will help them be better social workers,” said Alva, who received his master’s in social work in 2009.  “Social work helped me find my voice.  Helping UTSA students find their voices has been tremendously rewarding.”

    When Alva isn’t working in the office, he’s a motivational speaker sharing poignant stories from his 13-year military career.

    Alva comes from a family with a strong military background.  His father, Fidelis, served in the Vietnam War, while his grandfather, also Fidelis, served in World War II and the Korean War. "Semper Fidelis" is the motto of the Marine Corps, meaning “always faithful” or “always loyal.”

    “Serving in the Marine Corps had been my dream for as long as I could remember,” said Alva, whose middle name is also Fidelis.  “Growing up, I knew that as soon as I could, I would join the military and serve my country. "

    Alva enlisted in 1990 at age 19 and went on to a 13-year career with the Marine Corps, rising to the rank of staff sergeant. In the course of duty, he was stationed in Somalia and Japan, and, ultimately, Iraq, where his life changed forever.

    On March 21, 2003, in the opening hours of the Iraq War, Alva, as part of a military supply unit, stepped on a land mine, sustaining injuries and ultimately losing his right leg.  Alva was the first American and Marine wounded in the Iraq War.  He received a military discharge and was awarded the war’s first Purple Heart.

    “In the military, I learned a lot about myself,” Alva said.  “I had always wanted to serve my country, which I did, proudly, but after that, I came to realize there were other battles to be fought at home, too."

    Alva became one of the nation's most outspoken and public advocates for the repeal of the U.S. Armed Forces’ "Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy — which prohibited openly gay, bisexual or lesbian people from serving in the military.

    Eric Alva UTSA employee Eric Alva is nurturing the next generation of social workers as a program manager

    For years, Alva, who is gay, spoke out against the policy, appearing in national media outlets such as Good Morning America and the New York Times. In 2010, when President Barack Obama signed the repeal of the policy into law, Alva was standing as a witness next to him.

    In the years since, Alva has continued to advocate on behalf of marginalized people, particularly the LGBT community and people with disabilities.  He serves on the board of Fiesta Youth, an LGBT support group, and the San Antonio City Commission for Veteran’s Affairs.  He also currently serves as a standing committee on the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and will be attending the 2016 DNC Convention in Philadelphia, Penn. later this month.

    This past December, Congressman Joaquin Castro presented Alva with the prestigious Chuck Jordan Award by the Human Rights Campaign of San Antonio.  The honor recognizes individuals who have worked tirelessly to better the lives of gay men and women in the community.

    “I also know that there’s still a lot left to do to ensure equality for all,” said Alva, who came to UTSA in 2015 seeking an opportunity to educate the next generation of social activists.  “It’s why I am glad to be working with the UTSA Department of Social Work.  I’m giving these energetic students the opportunity to get out there and connect with the community.”


    Donate today for Henry B. Gonzalez Scholarship Fund; we are getting close!

    07.12.16

    The Henry B. Gonzalez Centennial Scholarship Fund has been established in remembrance of the Congressman's contributions to politics and policy.  scholarship will help criminal justice and public administration students fulfill their academic and professional goals, unlocking the door to educational attainment to strengthen society by advancing public policy and practice.

    On May 3, 2016, The University of Texas at San Antonio hosted a centennial celebration to commemorate the life of Congressman Henry B. Gonzalez, a social pioneer and legendary public servant who stood for education, inclusivity, equality, honesty, respect, and community pride. As a continuation of this remembrance, the Henry B. Gonzalez Centennial Scholarship Fund has been established. It recognizes the Congressman’s many contributions to politics and policy as an elected representative to the San Antonio City Council, Texas State Legislature, and United States Congress. We are honored that the Gonzalez family is partnering with the UTSA College of Public Policy to launch this prestigious award, the first scholarship in San Antonio dedicated to his memory.

    Born on May 3, 1916, Congressman Gonzalez grew up in San Antonio’s Westside community on Upson Street, a few blocks north of downtown, and close to the current UTSA Downtown Campus. With the value of education instilled in him by his parents, Mr. Gonzalez attended Jefferson High School, San Antonio College, University of Texas at Austin, and St. Mary’s University Law School, becoming a trailblazer who left a lasting impact on his local, state, and national community.

    The Henry B. Gonzalez Centennial Scholarship will be awarded based on merit and need to students enrolled in one of the College of Public Policy’s undergraduate academic majors—criminal justice and public administration. Preference will be given to transfer students from the Alamo Colleges. The fund will support UTSA students in successfully fulfilling their academic and professional goals in a timely manner. Upon graduation, they will be prepared to strengthen society by advancing public policy and practice within diverse local and global communities.

    How Can I Help?

    Your support will help achieve the $25,000 goal so that Congressman Gonzalez will be memorialized in perpetuity. To kick off the funding campaign, the College of Public Policy has committed $5,000.  Other sponsors have joined in to help, and we are halfway toward achieving our goal!  You may make a tax-deductible contribution towards the HBG Centennial Scholarship Fund by visiting giving.utsa.edu/henryb

    You may also send a check (payable to UTSA) to:

    UTSA - External Relations
    One UTSA Circle
    San Antonio TX 78249

    Contact

    For more information about the fund or to learn how you can get involved, please contact Michelle Skidmore, at Michelle.Skidmore@utsa.edu or 210-458-3213. We look forward to hearing from you!

    Dr. Francine Romero selected for 2016 UT Austin School of Law Fellows Program on dispute resolution

    07.12.16

    Associate Dean Francine Romero will participate in an intensive three-day program at UT Austin's School of Law on dispute resolution.  This program, sponsored by the Center for Public Policy Dispute Resolution at UT Austin's School of Law, is designed to bring Texas leaders together to explore collaborative decision-making.  State and local governments increasingly face tough and complex issues and struggle with ways on how to best address those issues locally and globally.  Fellows spend time learning best practices and exploring how to apply them to their situations.  According to the Center's website, more than 290 Fellows have participated in the program since its inception in 1993.  Past participants included high level elected and appointed officials at the state level.  For more information please visit https://law.utexas.edu/cppdr/fellows/

    Public Administration announces fall 2016 internships

    07.05.16

    The Department of Public Administration presents internship opportunities to students, some of which are local and prominent non-profit organizations.  If you are looking for internship sites, check out these organizations:

    MOVE San Antonio is a non-partisan, pro-democracy nonprofit organization giving young people a voice in politics through civic engagement, leadership development and issue advocacy. This fall, they're offering a MOVE San Antonio Fellowship; deadline to apply is July 15th. Email Executive Director H. Drew Galloway with any questions. Internships are also offered for those who want to make a difference in your community while putting credits on your transcript; for details.

    City of San Antonio, Economic Development Department is seeking an intern who is pursuing a Public Administration graduate degree. The intern will be performing professional level work in planning, coordinating and implementing the City's economic development program and services.

    Questions - contact For more detail

    Bexar County Elections Department has an internship opportunity during the Presidential Election Cycle timeframe of July 1 through November 30th for a student to learn the complexities of elections. You'll assist with voter registration, participate in a naturalization, study Texas Election Code, work early and election day poll sites and shadow an Election Administrator. Interested students may reach out to Aaron Perez directly. For more detail

    LiftFund, Nonprofit Internship will provide students opportunities for non-profit and fundraising experience in support of LiftFund's mission by assisting with database administration, fund development strategy, research, proposals and online giving days.

    Questions - contact For more detail

    San Antonio Food Bank is looking for a Community Investments Intern to learn fundraising skills needed for the nonprofit sector, with special emphasis on corporate fundraising.

    Questions - contact For more detail

    Food Policy Council of San Antonio is a nonprofit focusing on community awareness for developing a better community food system. It's vision is "Healthy, fresh, affordable food accessible to all in a vibrant local food economy." They're currently looking for a Food Policy Research Intern for data gathering around production, distribution and consumption of food throughout the city.

    Questions - contact For more detail

    The DoSeum, San Antonio's Museum for Kids is the only museum exclusively devoted to children under 10. They're seeking an intern in Public Program & Community Partnership, Event Services Intern and Membership Assistant Intern.

    Questions - contact

    Summer Semester Internships begin July 1, 2016.  Summer Semester internships - July 1st

    Students can begin turning in their internship paperwork on this date through July 18th.

    To start the internship process, you will need to turn in the Internship Course Approval Form, along with a job description from your internship site. You will also need to turn in the Agency Information Form, which is completed by your internship agency.

    For a listing of PAD internship sites, see attached

    Internship Forms:

    Internship Course Approval Form

    Agency Information Form

    Internship Timesheet

    For questions about internships, please contact Gina Amatangelo or Karen Metz.

    Associate Dean is recipient of the 2016 Downtown Campus Spirit Award

    06.27.16

    Associate Dean and Associate Professor Dr. Francine Romero is the recipient of the 2016 UTSA Downtown Campus Spirit Award.

    Dr. Francine Romero earned the 2016 Spirit Award for fostering community engagement within the UTSA Downtown Campus.  The award recognizes her for her service, dedication and leadership.  She has been active on campus as a faculty member serving on panels that focus on the high priority issues facing the City of San Antonio and leading outreach initiatives for developing opportunities to foster student success within the College of Public Policy.  Dr. Romero is currently the District 8 Zoning Commissioner and the Chair of the City of San Antonio's Conservation Advisory Board, which oversees expenditures from the City's 1/8 cent sales tax to fund purchases of fee-simple properties and conservation easements over the Edwards Aquifer Contributing Zone.  She is also a published author of multiple works.  Her research focuses on land use policy, civil rights litigation and legislation, and reforms of the Progressive Era.

    COPP advisory board member discusses removal of grand juries in officer-related shootings

    06.23.16

    Oliver Hill, member of the UTSA College of Public Policy Advisory Board and President of the San Antonio Branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) submits op-ed piece for the San Antonio Express-News on abolishment of grand juries in officer-related shootings.  

    Abolish grand juries in officer-related shootings - Oliver Hill, For the Express-News
    Published Saturday, June 18, 2016


    What’s so special about a grand jury? The Fifth Amendment to the Constitution of the United State says, in part, “No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury.”  The grand jury process must serve every resident in the community fairly; however, because it is not transparent and accountable, the grand jury system appears to have established two systems of justice — one for the citizen and one for law enforcement personnel — when a death occurs by a law enforcement officer.  Before readers conclude this is an anti-police commentary, it should be made clear that I am very much supportive of law enforcement personnel, but foremost I am a proponent of justice and fairness. Having served on the Citizen Action Advisory Board for six years gave me a great appreciation for the dedication and commitment of police officers; however, reports that are now being revealed indicate the grand jury system is unresponsive to the community when a fatality occurs by a person sworn to protect the public.  It is unfortunate the officers who have stellar records will be judged by those who may become overzealous in their duties to protect all residents.

    After the rash of police officer-involved shootings in which grand juries failed or refused to indict, the question “Why a grand jury?” begs an answer. Transparency and accountability are nonexistent. There should be no difference between a civilian and a police officer involved in an incident that should be questioned. In an article in Slate on Dec. 12, 2014, author LaDoris Hazzard Cordell wrote, “State criminal grand juries serve no useful purpose and make a mockery of justice; they should be abolished.”

    California has become the first state to ban grand juries from determining whether criminal charges should be filed when a fatality occurs at the hands of a law enforcement officer, and many cities around the country have ceased using the grand jury process in criminal matters.

    This is an effort for more transparency and accountability. When there is trust and transparency, the safety of officers and the community is better served.

    In New York City, legislation is being submitted to eliminate grand juries when the deaths of unarmed people occur at the hands of a peace officer.

    In Connecticut, the grand jury system was abolished in all criminal proceedings, thus bringing transparency and integrity to the justice system.

    Texas recently passed a law to eliminate the “pick a pal” process for selecting members of a grand jury, which is a step in the right direction.  This law opens the process to all qualified citizens, not just to a select few.

    However, our Legislature should consider eliminating the grand jury process when fatalities of unarmed residents occur at the hands of police officers.

    Statistics show that the results in Texas on officer-caused deaths are the same as nationally — the grand jury does not indict.

    It’s time for more accountability, trust and integrity in the criminal justice system — eliminate the grand jury in officer-involved deaths.

    Because of the current grand jury process, public trust has waned; the community and family members will never know the extent of any investigation, witnesses or evidence that would exonerate the law enforcement officers responsible for the deaths or whether they were culpable.

    Take the case of Tamir Rice, a 12-year-old boy who was killed by an officer only moments after the officer left his vehicle, or the case of Eric Garner, who died in an illegal chokehold that had been abolished by the New York City Police Department. No officer was ever indicted or brought to trial in either case.

    It’s time to put “justice” back into the justice system.

    Oliver Hill is president of the San Antonio branch of the NAACP.

    Speak Up Campaign partners with COPP to collect input on city’s budget

    06.23.16

    The College of Public Policy participated in the Speak Up San Antonio Campaign by emailing surveys to its student population to collect input on the City of San Antonio Municipal Government's budget priorities, received close to 800 responses.

    During the City Council FY 2017 Budget Policy Goal Setting Session, Jeff Coyle, Government and Public Affairs Director for the City of San Antonio and UTSA alum, delivered presentation on the success of the campaign.  He reported on some of the following initiatives to collect data.  Street teams were set up to collect the opinions from various individuals at community-wide events.  In addition, Speak Up San Antonio partnered with the College of Public Policy (COPP) to collect input from respondents.  COPP sent surveys via email to multiple individuals to help supplement the other marketing strategies involved with the campaign.  Coyle reported that the College emailed close to 1000 respondents and received about 800 back.  The campaign received more than 5000 responses this year compared to 1900 last year.  

    The Budget Policy Goal Setting Session was streamed live on June 8, 2016 by NOWCast SA.  Click video link below to watch the entire program.  

    SA Speak Up gives the City of San Antonio residents the opportunity to learn about the budget process and provide their input on city service priorities.

    Dean Rogelio Saenz’s op-ed discusses how instruction misrepresents the Mexican-American experience

    06.23.16

    San Antonio Express-News June 12, 2016

    Mexican-Americans, according to 'Mexican American Heritage'
    Unqualified authors spew falsehoods, factual errors

    Rogelio Saenz

    One step forward, three steps back. This exemplifies the world of Mexican-Americans who have fought for Texas to be more inclusive in the teaching of Mexican-American studies in public high schools.

    A couple of years ago, educators and advocates of Mexican-American studies cheered when the State Board of Education voted in favor of the creation of instructional resources for the teaching of the subject. The exuberance eroded the past few weeks as the Texas Education Agency released its samples of materials to teach Mexican-American studies.

    The sole book in the social science category is “Mexican American Heritage.” The book contains very little information about the authors (Jaime Riddle and Valerie Angle) and publisher (Momentum Instruction). The authors are not known as experts in Mexican-American studies, and they lack the appropriate academic credentials.

    Background checks reveal that Riddle has an undergraduate degree from Duke University and a graduate degree from Pat Robertson’s Regents University. She is associated with pro-life and Christian causes. Angle does not have an advanced degree but has taken a course on the philosophy of Ayn Rand. Angle markets herself as a “secret weapon” for the “overwhelmed woman.”

    Background checks link the publisher to Cynthia Dunbar, a far-right conservative who served on the Texas State Board of Education from 2007 to 2011. She is the author of a book titled “One Nation Under God: How the Left is Trying to Erase What Made Us Great.” Dunbar points out that the goal of her book is for readers to “fervently grasp the biblical function of civic government as it was envisioned by our Founding Fathers.”

    A sprinkling of basic errors is found within the span of a few pages. It incorrectly claims that Mexican-Americans moved in large numbers to New York during the World War II era; that Operation Bootstrap created a guest-worker program, and had relevancy to Cubans and Central Americans; that Cubans became the second-largest and Puerto Ricans the third-largest group of Latinos in 1960 (in fact, the order is reversed); and that Puerto Ricans were driven to the U.S. mainland by a “Communist takeover” in the 1960s.

    The long history of Mexican-Americans in the United States is largely ignored. Mexican-Americans are presented largely as immigrants who resist learning English and being part of the United States. The authors view “illegal immigration” as the cause of “economic and security problems” and “poverty, non-assimilation, drugs, crime, and exploitation.”

    The authors also are highly critical of the Chicano movement of the 1960s and 1970s, arguing that the movement and its adherents sought to destroy U.S. society and reclaim lands that Mexico lost to the United States. Oddly, the book includes an entire section devoted to the Cold War and what it dubs the “Sovietizing of Latin America.”

    The book also presents a sanitized and whitewashed version of many important events affecting the Mexican-American population. For example, the Zoot Suit Riots involving the beating of Mexican-Americans in Los Angeles is presented in a few general sentences omitting much detail. The Felix Longoria incident is mentioned in passing, devoid of specifics on why the decorated World War II soldier, denied a wake service, was buried in Arlington National Cemetery.

    The book also features great exaggeration. Mexican-Americans are presented as graduating from prominent universities between 1880 and 1930. The book claims that during the 1950s, “more money suddenly became available for scholarships and financial aid to help communities like Mexican-Americans,” and that after World War II, “every American president decided to aid the crusade for political and social equality among American minorities.” It is asserted that the Brown vs. Board of Education decision (1954) dealt “a death blow to Jim Crow laws and segregation practices.” The authors suggest Mexican-Americans and Latinos are now “well-represented in the U.S. government on local, state, and federal levels.”

    What the authors say about Latinos clashes with the reality of governmental policies that have turned back the clock on voting rights, school desegregation and more.

    The authors cheerfully proclaim, “Both federal and state governments are motivated to help minorities succeed, and are willing to allocate many resources to aid them. Governments sponsor Latino scholarships, loans, and financial aid. They provide welfare for poor families and subsidize Latino advocacy groups, such as the National Council of La Raza.”

    Somehow, the Texas Legislature has not received this memo.

    While the book’s title focuses on Mexican-Americans, the authors essentially treat Mexican-Americans and Latinos interchangeably. More disturbing is that only a portion of the book focuses on Mexican-Americans.

    An analysis of photographs and sidebars show that whites rather than Mexican-Americans disproportionately adorn the book. The book includes 115 pictures of identifiable people. Of these, only 14 are of Mexican-Americans. There are 32 photos of whites, 27 of Mexicans (from Mexico), 14 of Latin Americans, 12 of Europeans, and 16 of others. And Mexican-American women are missing, featured in only seven of the total of 186 photos and sidebars.

    The book includes 71 sidebars featuring identifiable persons. Of the 71 sidebars, only 13 concern Mexican-Americans. The book contains 27 sidebars of whites; eight of Mexicans; six each of Europeans, Latin Americans, and Spaniards; and five of others.

    The book is largely devoid of citations to support the authors’ writing. Aside from 61 references for particular sidebars containing verbatim passages from original sources, only 28 citations are included to support writings in the remaining 416 pages. The vast majority (21) of the 28 citations are from materials first published more than a century ago; only three are from works published since 2000. Only one source comes from the research of Latinos.

    Mexican-Americans — and more broadly, Latinos — have been commonly excluded from the teaching of U.S. and Texas history. Despite the long presence of Mexican-Americans in the U.S., they are routinely treated as an invisible group that has made minimal contributions to the history, culture and economy of this country.

    As a way to be more inclusive of the Mexican-American experience, the State Board of Education voted for the creation of instructional materials for teaching Mexican-American studies. Through their book “Mexican American Heritage,” Angle, Dunbar and Riddle have warped, misrepresented and blemished the Mexican-American experience.

    Hopefully, educators in school districts throughout Texas will see the sham that “Mexican American Heritage” represents and decide not to adopt it.

    Rogelio Sáenz is dean of the College of Public Policy and holds the Mark G. Yudof Endowed Chair at the University of Texas at San Antonio. He is the co-author of “Latinos in the United States: Diversity and Change.”


    Roger Enriquez weighs in on Trump’s anti-Latino rhetoric

    06.23.16

    Roger Enriquez, J.D. and Director of the Policy Studies Center, says that Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump's anti-Latino rhetoric is nothing new.

    San Antonio Express-News (TX) - June 20, 2016
    Author/Byline: Roger Enriquez

    Donald Trump illustrates that the fight against the enactment of racist policies that target Latinos is still a battle that has to be waged and won across the country.

    To some, Trump's pomposity may seem novel or unique.  However, in San Antonio, where the shift to majority-minority status occurred long ago, leaders who espouse anti-immigrant rhetoric are nothing new, but thankfully civil rights champions like Mauro "Mario" Cantú have always emerged to challenge the rhetoric.

    Forty years ago, on the morning of June 18, 1976, U.S. Immigration and Naturalization agents raided the popular downtown Mexican-food eatery Mario's restaurant at 325 S. Pecos and charged Cantú with shielding illegal aliens from detection, and they arrested five men for illegal entry into the United States.  Cantú was one of the first U.S. citizens prosecuted for shielding illegal aliens from detection under a law that until then targeted people who smuggled aliens into the country by bus, boat or plane.

    In hindsight, it is likely that Mario was a target of the expansive law because of his aggressive stance of helping recent immigrants because he was one of the leaders of the Center for Autonomous Social Action. CASA was dedicated to helping recent immigrants assert their rights.  Mario routinely referred to people who work in the U.S. without official papers as "economic refugees."  The goals of CASA included helping recent immigrants obtain legal permanent residency or U.S. citizenship; and CASA also called for an immediate halt to all deportations of Mexicans.

    Cantú was convinced that closing the border by building a "tortilla curtain" was not in the best interest of Mexico or the U.S. government.  For Cantú, the ultimate solution was to work to improve conditions in Mexico and provide basic necessities for Mexicans to halt the economic allure of the North.

    Cantú appears to have been very prophetic in his analysis of immigration policies of the United States.  Mexico's economy has improved, and there have been profound demographic shifts that have led to significant reductions in the migration flow out of Mexico.

    In fact, for the last few years, there have been more Mexicans returning to Mexico then fleeing Mexico for the U.S.  Unfortunately, some of the immigration goals that Cantú identified 40 years ago remain unfulfilled. There is still not a pathway to citizenship for nearly 11 million men and women who continue to live in the shadows, and Trump has catapulted himself as the presumptive Republican nominee by promising voters that he will build a wall and have Mexico pay for it.

    On Oct. 15, 1998, on the downtown campus of UTSA, the precise spot where Mario's restaurant used to be, Mario received a Lifetime Achievement Award in the area of community activism from the UTSA Hispanic Research Center.  Mario was recognized for his lifelong commitment to the advancement of Mexican-Americans in San Antonio and South Texas.

    Cantú is proof that a man with flaws but a great love for his culture and identity can make a difference. Sadly, he left us too soon, but the mace is still there for anyone who has the courage to pick it up.

    Roger Enriquez is an associate professor and director of the Policy Studies Center at the University of Texas at San Antonio. 

    Caption: 1) Roger Enriquez: Activist Mauro Cantú appears to be prophetic in his analysis of immigration policies.

    UTSA researchers study the profession of public service

    06.21.16

    Public administration researchers Dr. Chris Reddick, Dr. Barbara McCabe, and Dr. Tansu Demir, study the innate characteristics that comprise the profession for city managers.  
    by Jesus Chavez, Public Affairs Specialist


    What makes a professional public servant?  A new study by UTSA researchers Christopher Reddick, Barbara C. McCabe and Tansu Demir surveyed more than 1,000 city managers, the prototypical public administrator, to find out.

    According to Reddick, professor and chair of the UTSA Department of Public Administration, no consensus currently exists about what professionalism looks like in public service.

    “Public servants, and city managers in particular, don’t have any institutional characteristics that mark traditional professions,” Reddick said. “There is no licensure, no mandatory educational programs, required membership in a professional association that polices its members, and no monopoly over entry into the profession.”

    “In essence, to be a public servant or city manager, the basic requirement is being hired for the position,” added McCabe. “Given the breadth of public service, it is difficult even to define what public managers actually do."

    In an era of increased government accountability, Reddick said, local government employees and public servants have struggled to create a professional standard to remedy the situation in which they find themselves.

    The researchers surveyed city managers from across the country about their attitudes and beliefs about their profession over the course of two years. The goal of their top-tier research was to identify shared characteristics that will help sketch out a shared identity.

    “We found several shared beliefs among these city managers,” said Reddick. “Most city managers believe strongly in the importance of public service and in self-regulation, and they feel a strong sense of calling to their career.”

    Reddick believes public servants should emulate the archetypical professions, such as lawyers or doctors, and place a greater importance on strengthening professional associations and creating formal standards.

    “Lawyers have associations at the national and state level, and doctors have medical boards that license, regulate and discipline them,” Reddick said. “Public servants, like the city managers we surveyed, have no organizations that are equivalent in strength or discipline.  It might be time to change that for the good of the profession."

    About the Researchers 

    Christopher G. Reddick, Ph.D., is a professor and the chair of the UTSA Department of Public Administration. His research interests include information technology and public sector organizations.

    Barbara Coyle McCabe, Ph.D., is an associate professor in the UTSA Department of Public Administration. She previously directed the master’s programs at Arizona State University’s School of Public Affairs. Her research interests focus on state and local governments and the intersections between politics and markets.

    Tansu Demir, Ph.D., is associate professor in the UTSA Department of Public Administration. His areas of research include public administration theory, local government administration and city managers, professionalism and administrative power.

    UTSA researchers receive funding to study reentry of the formerly incarcerated

    06.20.16

    Criminal Justice Assistant Professor Dr. Michael Caudy and UTSA researchers in the Department of Criminal Justice and College of Architecture, Assistant Professors, Dr. Jill ViglioneDr. James V. Ray, and Assistant Professor Dr. Rebecca Walter receive funding through the Grants for Research Advancement and Transformation (GREAT) Program to study one of the most pressing challenges currently facing American society -- reentry and reintegration of formerly incarcerated individuals into the community.  According to Caudy and his colleagues, approximately 95 percent of all prisoners are eventually released into the community, but there is little research to show how individual differences shape the reentry experience.  The aim of their study "Elucidating the Mechanisms of Reentry" is to gain a better perspective on how formerly incarcerated individuals navigate through society and how the barriers they face (e.g. access to affordable housing, stable employment, and health care) affect their quality of life.  Caudy and his fellow researchers' project could help improve the measures used that influence reentry outcomes and raise awareness of how the utilization of social services could help foster successful reintegration into society.  

    The proposed study represents a new collaborative partnership between junior faculty members from multiple colleges within UTSA as well as between UTSA faculty and community partners in criminal justice, housing and healthcare. 

    Full story featured on UTSA Today

    COPP faculty receive funding for research through INTRA program

    06.20.16

    College of Public Policy faculty, Dr. Francine Romero, associate dean and Dr. Meghan Augustyn, criminal justice assistant professor, recently received internal grant awards from the UTSA Vice President for Research Office's Internal Research Awards (INTRA) funding stream for their research activities.  Romero's proposal focuses on the "Political and Policy Dynamics of Municipal Annexation in Texas" and Augustyn's research will focus on "Using the National Crime Victimization Survey to better understand the determinants of help-seeking behavior among victims of intimate-partner and sexual assault."

    The INTRA program is part of the UTSA Vice President for Research's coordinated efforts to promote research and scholarship of the highest quality.  This program offers experience in identifying and submitting applications to potential funding sources, provides preliminary data to support applications for extramural funding, and enhances scholarly and creative activities.  Proposals to this program are expected and encouraged for a broad range of research and creative activities.

    These projects were funded (fully or in-part) by the University of Texas at San Antonio, Office of the Vice President for Research.

    Criminal Justice to offer summer course on research design and analysis

    06.02.16

    CRJ 3013 will be offered to criminal justice undergraduate students for the summer 2016 during the second five week session starting on July 8, 2016 and ending Aug. 13, 2016.  The instructor is Criminal Justice Assistant Professor Dr. Jamie Newsome.  

    CRJ 3013 highlights:

    • Provides students with an opportunity to be knowledgeable consumers of criminal justice research
    • Provides an overview of principles of scientific inquiry, research designs, and statistical concepts and techniques.
    • Offers and introduction to interpretation of data analysis and preparation of research reports.

    This 3 hour course meets on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 9:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. at the UTSA Downtown Campus in Durango Bldg., 3.208.  For more information, please contact the Department of Criminal Justice at (210) 458-2535.

    Download flyer 

    Course description

    Criminal Justice to offer summer camp at UTSA Downtown Campus, June 20-24

    05.20.16

    The UTSA Criminal Justice Summer Camp offers high school juniors and seniors the unique opportunity to learn principles of law enforcement and investigate mock crime scenes.  Participants will also learn how to examine fingerprints and will have a chance to tour a local law enforcement facility.  

    The camp registration fee is $200.00.  Camp begins June 20, 2016 and ends on June 24, 2016.  Sessions will begin at 9:00 a.m. and will conclude at 3:00 p.m.  Application deadline is June 3, 2016. You can download the application here.   For questions, please contact the department of Criminal Justice at (210) 458-2535 or email the camp coordinator Robert Rico at robert.rico@utsa.edu

    Camp flyer

    Here is what some students had to say about last year's camp experience:

    "I'm really glad I did the camp," said Parker Staples, a junior last year at the International Schools of the Americas (ISA) Magnet School. "Even if I decided to focus on another subject, there are still ways for me to apply it to a criminal justice career."  

    During the last day of the camp, students completed a session on restorative justice. They arranged themselves in a circle and explored how offenders can be rehabilitated through inclusive and cooperative processes focusing on the harm done to the victims and the community at large.

    "The restorative justice session was a very unique experience," said Staples. When you go through it, you hear everyone's views."

    The criminal justice forensics camp was definitely an unforgettable experience. "My daughter thought each day was interesting, and the camp provided real world experience and not just lecture," said Laurie Staples, mother of Parker Staples.

    COPP places third in “Be Counted” Campaign

    05.12.16

    College of Public Policy exceeded its participation goal by the third highest percentage during the UTSA "Be Counted" 2016 Campaign.  During April 15-29, eight UTSA colleges competed in gaining donors.  The project that would end closest to its college's participation goal or further exceed its goal would receive the grand prize of $15,000, awarded by University President Ricardo Romo.  This year that grand prize went to the College of Engineering.  

    However, COPP pulled in donors through rallies, daily social media efforts, email blasts, alumni outreach and word of mouth -- enough to grab the third place spot.  Colleges used campaign videos and other communication efforts throughout the campaign to drive donations from friends, family members, alumni, students, faculty, staff, and others.  Each college raised monies for scholarships, research activities, and specific programs to foster student success. 

    The Be Counted Campaign builds UTSA's culture of philanthropy and increases donor participation with alumni, faculty and staff, students, parents, and friends of the university.

    Research paper competition winners announced

    05.04.16

    College of Public Policy students were awarded for their scholarly research during the annual Research Paper competition.  The competition is open to all undergraduate and graduate students.  A committee comprised of faculty from each of four programs within the College reviews papers submitted and determines the winners.  The committee judged all submissions on the basis of substantive merit and quality of writing.  Students were able to submit papers related to scholarly research, which includes original research or reviews of existing research or literature.   Listed below are the winners of the 2016 COPP Research Paper Competition.

    Master’s Category - $500 award 

    Thalia Rodriguez - Criminal Justice

    Doctoral Category - $500 award 

    Danielle Gordon – Demography

    Honorable Mention - $250 award 

    Daniel Large – Master’s - Public Administration

    Honorable Mention - $250 award 

    Federico Ghirimoldi – Doctoral - Demography

    COPP honors outstanding students at annual recognition luncheon

    05.04.16

    The College of Public Policy celebrated outstanding achievements of its students during its annual recognition luncheon on May 2.  A number of students earned awards and accolades for their outstanding work over the course of the year.  Each student was able to select a faculty member who could introduce them and speak briefly on his or her accomplishments.  Below are the students listed along with their achievement.

    Mauricio Rodriguez DEM Presidential Dissertation Fellowship Award 

    Catherine Baeza MSW Recipient of 2015 Ima Hogg Scholarship Caitlin Brandt CRJ COPP Scholar Fall 2015

    Andres Gallardo De Las Penas DEM Summer 2016 Archer Fellow Graduate Program in Public Policy 

    William Garcia CRJ COPP Scholar Spring 2016

    Federico Ghirimoldi DEM COPP student Research Paper Competition—Honorable Mention, Doctoral 

    Danielle Gordon DEM COPP student Research Paper Competition—1st Place, Doctoral 

    Daniel Large MPA 3rd Place, UTSA 3MT Competition - Master's; Dominion Rotary Club Past President's Fund Endowed Scholarship Recipient; COPP Most Outstanding Graduate Student Finalist;COPP Student Research Paper Competition—Honorable Mention, Master’s

    Leticia Lozano MSW The Gunn Family Endowed Scholarship in Social Work Recipient 

    Krista Martinez CRJ The Canseco Scholarship Fund for Laredo, Texas Recipient 

    Valerie Martinez MSW The Gunn Family Endowed Scholarship in Social Work Recipient 

    Amado Montoya CRJ COPP Most Outstanding Undergraduate Student

    James Pobanz MSCJC Social Work Foundation Student of the Year 

    Bianca Ramirez MSW Outstanding Social Work Student of the Year 

    Thalia Rodriguez MSCJC COPP Student Research Paper Competition—1st Place, Master’s 

    Peter Tanksley MSCJC Admitted to University of Cincinnati Ph.D. Program in Criminal Justice (ranked #3 in US) 

    Jesus (Jesse) Trevino MSCJC Kenneth H. Ashworth Fellowship for 2015; COPP Most Outstanding Graduate Student 

    M. Giovanna Valverde BPA  COPP Most Outstanding Undergraduate Finalist 

    Odalys Vielma  CRJ COPP Scholar Fall 2015

    Sophia Worth  MSW  COPP Most Outstanding Graduate Student Finalist

    MSW Student awarded International Women's Media Foundation, Howard G. Buffett Fund for Women Journalists Grant, NASW Alamo Branch Student of the Year 

    Civic leaders honor renowned public figure Henry B. Gonzalez

    05.04.16

    Photo credit: Camille Garcia, Rivard Report

    On May 3, 2016, civic leaders, friends, family and the UTSA community came together to celebrate the 100th birthday of the late Congressman Henry B. Gonzalez. 

    Approximately 200 people gathered at the UTSA Downtown campus last night to hear discussions, stories, and recollections of arguably, one of the greatest public figures of our time.  A distinguished panel to include Gene Rodriguez, a former aide of Henry B. Gonzalez, Lionel Sosa, independent marketing consultant and portrait artist, Dr. Henry Flores, distinguished university research professor of political science and international relations at St. Mary's University, Dr. Henry Cisneros, first Hispanic-American mayor of San Antonio and former U.S. Cabinet Secretary of U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development; and last but not least, the Honorable Charles Gonzalez, the son of Henry B. Gonzalez and the congressman who replaced him in office.

    President of the University of Texas at San Antonio, Dr. Ricardo Romo gave the welcome.  College of Public Policy Associate Dean and Associate Professor Dr. Francine Romero was the moderator for the evening.  

    (from left to right:  Dr. Henry Flores; Lionel Sosa; Gene Rodriguez; Dr. Henry Cisneros; the Honorable Charles Gonzalez; UTSA President Ricardo Romo)

    Lionel Sosa spoke of the early years of Henry B. Gonzalez, his family's journey from Mexico to the United States, and the social, cultural and political environment of the Mexican community in San Antonio in the early 20th century.  Gene Rodriguez, who was one of organizers of the event, shared a brief profile of Henry B.'s career and his experiences working with Henry B.  Dr. Henry Flores reflected on Henry B.'s impact on the politics of the city, state and nation.  Dr. Henry Cisneros reflected on the impact Henry B. had on public policies and the civil rights movement.  He also spoke of Henry's impact on the development of Kelly Air Force Base and Henry B.'s contribution to creating jobs for the many residents in San Antonio.  The Honorable Charles Gonzalez shared stories about his father, recollected on his times spent with his mom and dad, and illustrated how Henry B. Gonzalez became a "man of the people."  The program concluded with a video clip of Henry B. speaking in Spanish to his constituents of Bexar County during one of his weekly public addresses.

    Afterwards, guests mingled at the reception and enjoyed a captivating performance by Erik Sanden and Joe Reyes from the band Buttercup.  The band moved the audience as they sang a rock song in honor of Henry B. 

    NowCast SA produced a live webcast of the Centennial.  The production of this webcast was made possible through the generosity of Jane Macon and Max Navarro. Viewers can watch this program now or replay at anytime.  Click here to view webcast or click on video below.

    Criminal justice students win 2015-2016 most outstanding student awards

    04.08.16

    Criminal Justice undergraduate student Amado Montoya, a Helotes, TX native, and Criminal Justice graduate student Jesus "Jesse" Trevino won the College of Public Policy Most Outstanding Student Award during the 40th Annual SGA University Life Awards Banquet, held Thursday, April 7.

    Amado Montoya, is a senior of the criminal justice program, who, according to his professor, makes positive contributions in the classroom and beyond.  "Amado showed initiative that is uncommon among many of our undergraduate students.  I believe his natural curiosity will serve him well as his moves forward in his career," said Dr. Marie Tillyer, associate professor of the department of criminal justice.  He has been accepted into six different law schools and expects to graduate in May of 2016 with honors from UTSA.  Montoya received the Most Outstanding Student Award in the undergraduate category.

    Jesus "Jesse" Trevino, is finishing up his graduate degree in Criminal Justice & Criminology.  He expects to also graduate in May of 2016 with honors from UTSA.  Trevino earned his undergraduate degree in criminal justice and graduated summa cum laude.  His professor Dr. Marie Tillyer stated, "Jesse has performed extremely well in both the undergraduate and graduate programs.  He is hardworking, humble, kind, thoughtful students who is currently implementing important public policy aligned with the COPP mission."  Trevino currently works for the San Antonio Police Department with the Mental Health Unit.  He plans to pursue his Ph.D. in Applied Demography with the College of Public Policy.

    These awards, presented by the UTSA Student Government Association, are given to students who have built a record of scholarship, leadership, and service to UTSA; the college; and or the community.

    A student scholarship and awards committee judged the candidates and selected the finalists and winners.  

    Here is the list of the undergraduate and graduate finalists from the College of Public Policy:

    Undergraduate

    Maria Giovanna Valverde (Public Administration)
    Marcos Mendoza (Criminal Justice)

    Graduate
    Daniel Large (Public Administration)
    Sophia Worth (Social Work)

    Congratulations to all the winners and finalists selected.