Professional Development – Incentive Opportunities

We value UTSA’s instructors and are deeply committed to supporting a culture of pedagogical innovation and digital transformation for student learning and success. With aid from the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund, Academic Innovation is investing more than $1 million in direct incentives, support and recognition programs for UTSA faculty and graduate assistants over the next three semesters beginning this summer 2021.


The following list of initiatives is organized chronologically by intended start date and will be updated as details are finalized. Please reach out to us at AcademicInnovation@utsa.edu if you have any questions.

indicates the opportunity is open to faculty members and  indicates the opportunity is open to graduate assistants


Innovation Academy  

The Innovation Academy is an 8-hour long course (offered in a blended modality) that will help instructors prepare for the Fall 2021 semester. The academy provides ideas, best practices and resources to design a course based on the different Fall 2021 course modalities, ensuring a quality design and delivery built on Universal Design for Learning principles, instructor presence, student engagement and digital fluency. Faculty who complete the academy requirements will receive a certificate of completion and a one-time financial incentive of $1,000.


Please visit Innovation Academy webpage to learn more about course objectives, course structure, incentive requirements, and registration details.

Summer 2021

Modality: Hybrid Online

  • June Cohort co-facilitated by Jodi Peterson, Lecturer III, Department of History (COLFA)
    We will offer online Live Sessions from June 14-18 from 10 - 11 a.m. Participants are also required to complete the online component of the course and will be enrolled in the Blackboard Innovation Academy course.

  • July Cohort co-facilitated by Terri Matiella, Senior Lecturer and Assistant Dean of Faculty, Department of Environmental Science and Ecology (COS)
    We will offer online Live Sessions from July 12-15 from 10 - 11 a.m. Participants are also required to complete the online component of the course and will be enrolled in the Blackboard Innovation Academy course.

  • July Cohort co-facilitated by Ryan McPherson, Associate Professor of Practice, Department of Communication (COLFA)
    We will offer online Live Sessions from July 26-29 from 10 - 11 a.m. Participants are also required to complete the online component of the course and will be enrolled in the Blackboard Innovation Academy course.

  • August Cohort co-facilitated by Arturo Montoya, Associate Professor and Associate Dean of Faculty, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering (COE)
    We will offer online Live Sessions from August 16-19 from 10 - 11 a.m. Participants are also required to complete the online component of the course and will be enrolled in the Blackboard Innovation Academy course.

Each cohort has 50 participant spots. In case your preferred cohort is full, please contact Claudia Arcolin for more information and options for you.

Register at the UTSA myTraining portal

If the session you are interested in says it is closed, please contact Claudia Arcolin to confirm your interest as it is possible the cohort still has seats remaining.


Adobe Summer Institute  

This initiative is designed to enhance digital literacy skills through the use fo Adobe apps. We will introduce participants to Adobe applications, including Photoshop, Illustrator, Behance, Portfolio, Acrobat, and more. Participants will complete a series of projects using different apps that will give them the opportunity to produce artifacts they can showcase.

Faculty who complete the Adobe Summer Institute requirements will receive a certificate of completion from Adobe and a one-time incentive of $500.

Visit UTSA Adobe Institute webpage for more details about the Institute objectives, structure, and detailed information about the programs and skills covered.

Summer 2021

Modality: Online Synchronous via Zoom (recordings will be available for asynchronous learning)

  • July Cohort (4 weeks): Tuesdays & Thursdays from 10 - 10:45 a.m. from July 6 through July 29
  • August Cohort (2 weeks): Monday through Thursday from 1 - 1:45 p.m. from August 9 through August 19
  • September Cohort (4 weeks): Tuesday and Thursday from 10 - 10:45 a.m. from September 7 through September 30

Facilitated by Willie Schaefer, Adobe Specialist, and Elyse Ramirez, Instructional Designer from Academic Innovation. 100 seats available distributed across the two cohorts.

Register at the UTSA myTraining portal


Digital Accessibility Tool Pilot Program  

Academic Innovation will conduct a summer pilot to introduce Ally. This automated accessibility tool allows faculty to take a proactive approach to accessibility and works within our Learning Management System to check the accessibility of content in a course automatically. Ally also provides valuable feedback about how to correct common issues related to accessibility. In addition to these features, Ally also gives students the ability to choose their preferred format for various course materials. For example, a student could choose to listen to an MP4 of their lecture notes while they read along with the printed version for better comprehension and retention.

Ally helps support Universal Design for Learning (UDL) principles and supports UTSA’s core value of inclusion.

Summer 2021

Modality: Online – live hands-on sessions

Elements of the Pilot #1:

  • Kickoff Meeting (To be determined based on participants' availability)
  • Tuesday, June 15 - (Live via Zoom) Introduction to Ally: Course Accessibility Power Tool
  • Friday, June 18 - (Live via Zoom) Ally: How to Raise You Score
  • Tuesday, June 22 – (Live via Zoom) Ally: Creating Accessible Content with Accessibility Checkers and Ally
  • Tuesday, June 29 – (Live via Zoom) Ally: Leveraging Ally and UDL to create a more inclusive course
  • The Digital Accessibility Team will be available for office hours each Tuesday afternoon during the pilot.

Faculty participating in the pilot will receive a one-time incentive of $500. The pilot is limited to 50 seats.

Pilot #2: 

Due to the great interest and success of our first cohort, we are pleased to announce a second summer cohort beginning July 13!
Faculty who participate in the pilot will receive a one-time incentive of $500. 
50 seats available.


Please contact DigitalAccessibility@utsa.edu if you are interested in participating in this pilot or would like more information.


New Faculty Bootcamp  

In conjunction with New Faculty Orientation, this new 10-day bootcamp will onboard UTSA’s fall 2021 faculty cohort with resources for teaching and learning with technology to get oriented and start working at UTSA. 

Summer 2021: August 3 – 13


Graduate Assistant Bootcamp  

This new 4-day bootcamp will provide graduate assistants with resources and teaching strategies and an introduction to digital tools that enhance student engagement.

Summer 2021: August 16-20

More information will be available soon.


Captioning Support   

The Digital Accessibility team within the division of Academic Innovation will continue offering support for professional video captioning. This program allows faculty to proactively request professionally created and edited captions for high impact, multi-use course videos to create a more inclusive learning environment. Adding captions to course videos improves student retention and comprehension of the content, in addition to providing access for students who are deaf or hard of hearing.

Ongoing: Summer 2021, Fall 2021, Spring 2022

Learn More and Apply for Captioning Support

Innovation Fund  

Academic Innovation will establish an innovation fund to support the development of an innovative idea that could enhance course development or any other aspect of the faculty or student experience. Open to faculty, staff or students.

Ongoing: Summer 2021, Fall 2021, Spring 2022

More information will be available soon.

ACUE Effective Teaching Practices Certification Course  

Piloted during the 2020-21 academic year with great success, Academic Innovation will again cover the costs for up to 60 faculty to take the Association of College and University Educators (ACUE) Course in Effective Teaching Practices, a 25-module course supported by UTSA teaching and learning expert facilitators. This course covers all the basics needed for effective teaching at the college level, including meeting the essential needs for universal accessibility and inclusion for all students. Faculty who complete the course earn the American Council on Education (ACE)-certified Certificate in Effective Teaching Practices and will become a UTSA ACUE Teaching Fellow.

A new cohort will begin in Fall 2021. More information will be available soon.


Graduate Student Assistantships  

Academic Innovation will hire 10 graduate assistants (GAs) to conduct research and teach on course design experiences.

Fall 2021 and Spring 2022

More information will be available soon.


Strategic Course Design  

Academic Innovation will offer full-service design of 10-15 exemplary core curriculum and gateway courses to promote a successful first year experience or targeted to improve DFW rate. Expert instructional designers will work with identified faculty to build a high quality online or hybrid course.

Fall 2021 and Spring 2022

More information will be available soon.


UTSA TEACH Model for Faculty Professional Development

Academic Innovation will pilot faculty professional development opportunities based on different pathways for Technology, Engagement, Assessment, Community and Health and Wellbeing, with a combination of curated content and webinars. Faculty will earn a badge and incentive for each pathway.

Fall 2021 and Spring 2022

More information will be available soon.