Academic Affairs increases support for faculty and staff travel to enhance pedagogical skills and showcase the university's accomplishments on a national scale

October 11, 2023
Academic Strategic Communications
Academic Affairs increases support for faculty and staff travel to enhance pedagogical skills and showcase the university's accomplishments on a national scale

UTSA Academic Affairs is pleased to announce it has expanded funding for the Advancing UTSA’s National Impact Travel Award program. The program provides support for faculty and staff to engage in national conferences and professional development to enhance their pedagogical skills and showcase the university's accomplishments on a broader scale.

Academic Affairs will now reimburse up to $2,000 for full-time fixed-term-track (FTT) faculty members with no matching funds required by the sponsoring college or support unit. T/TT faculty and staff can be reimbursed for up to $1,500, with Academic Affairs providing a maximum of $1,000 if the college or support division provides $500 through a 2:1 fund matching model.

"The UTSA National Impact Travel Awards program is a testament to Academic Affairs' dedication to investing in the professional growth of our faculty and staff and bringing greater visibility to the university by showcasing the achievements and contributions across the teaching and academic enterprise," said Interim Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs Heather Shipley.

Full-time FTT faculty and T/TT faculty can use the funds to attend conferences focused on professional development, teaching skills improvement, or the adoption of new pedagogies.

College or academic support division staff can leverage this opportunity to present their empirical findings from the evaluation or implementation of UTSA programs at high-profile national meetings or conferences.

Mary DixsonSo far, the grant program has supported more than 70 faculty and staff, including Mary Dixson, Professor of Instruction in the Department of Communication.

"I was able to deliver a talk on how we faculty can better support our learners with ADHD and other learning disabilities at the 2023 Lilly Conference on Engaged Teaching in San Diego," said Dixson. "This allowed me to present my own work on this topic to a national audience while also hearing from other nationally recognized teaching and learning professionals and faculty from across the country. The fund is an important resource for teaching faculty who want to share their knowledge, learn from others, and engage in dialogues."

As a result of her presentation, Dixson was invited to be one of three plenary speakers at the 2024 Lilly Conference presented by the International Teaching Learning Cooperative.

Stephanie Brock GonzálezStephanie Brock González, a postdoctoral fellow in the College of Liberal and Fine Arts, was supported by the program to present at the 28th Conference of Spanish in the U.S. and 13th Conference on Spanish in Contact with Other Languages held at Southern Methodist University in Dallas in April 2023. She represented UTSA on a panel that discussed the challenges, possibilities and future directions of Spanish as a Heritage Language (SHL) programs at Texas universities.

"I was very thankful to go to this conference and be in community with fellow colleagues engaged in similar work," said González. "The experience was reinvigorating and reminds me of the support system that I have within and outside of UTSA that is helping meet the educational and linguistic needs of our growing Latinx student population."

Josh ChildressJosh Childress, a student success coach within the academic support division of Student Success, was able to host a roundtable for the Texas Conference for Student Success last fall thanks to the travel award program.

"My co-host and I brought together student success practitioners from all over Texas to talk shop – namely, post-pandemic experiences, goals, obstacles, and innovative ideas," Childress said. "So often we only work with those in our UTSA bubble, so exploring this space with professionals from different institutions, most of whom face the same issues we do, was truly a growth experience and is key to the success of our students going forward."

The Academic Affairs program complements a similar program administered by UTSA Research, Economic Development and Knowledge Enterprise that supports research travel and dissemination.