Frequently Asked Questions
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Why did the Southwest School of Art and the University of Texas at San Antonio decide to collaborate?
There is a deep historic connection between the two institutions and over the last year, the two schools engaged in an exploration phase to determine how best to formally collaborate. SSA and UTSA are jointly committed to expanding opportunities for current and prospective art students, and for broader community arts education—filling the societal need for creative problem solvers with multiple skills who readily adapt to the velocity of change in the 21st century.
This collaboration, realized through a strategic transition, will create an expanded, unique new school of art within UTSA via the acquisition by UTSA of all, or substantially all, of the assets, and all of the real estate, of SSA. It offers an exceptional opportunity to develop a broad portfolio of interdisciplinary programs in keeping with the global trends toward cross-disciplinary curricula that would strengthen the new school and expand the new school’s relationship with the San Antonio arts community. It will expand both the physical presence and the SSA mission, strengthen arts degree programs, bring UTSA’s art programs to Downtown San Antonio, and provide financial sustainability. Perhaps more importantly, it ensures the legacy of SSA's reputation in arts education. This collaboration will best accomplish the aims of both institutions to expand and ensure the long-term continuity of arts education in San Antonio.
What is the historic connection between SSA and the UTSA?
What will happen to the independent Southwest School of Art?
The move allows for a collaborative creation of a new and expanded school focused on the arts at UTSA, under the UT System umbrella. The current BFA degree programs administered respectively by SSA and the UTSA Art and Art History department will be integrated under a new school in the UTSA College of Liberal and Fine Arts anchored at the SSA campus in Downtown San Antonio.
The continuity of the SSA’s brand and influence is extremely important to arts education, the San Antonio community, the region, and UTSA. The university is excited to continue offering community programs such as the Young Artist Programs, adult continuing education programs, exhibitions program, and its official Fiesta event. Upon the completion of due diligence, Board approval and the negotiation of transaction documents, UTSA will own and preserve SSA’s historic buildings and grounds; maintain relationships with Club Giraud, maintain named endowments for scholarships, the Debbie McMahon Fiber Arts Symposium, named spaces including galleries, studios and buildings, and its world-class studios. UTSA and SSA leadership will work together to smoothly transition named SSA scholarships, buildings, programs, and endowments to UTSA/UT System with vital student, faculty, staff, alumni, donor, and community input.
What will the new school be named?
How will this collaboration benefit SSA and UTSA students, staff, faculty, and the San Antonio community?
The collaboration will provide benefit in many ways. It is intended to spur cultural and economic growth through the effective use of resources; increase community engagement; generate cross-disciplinary and cross-cultural exchange; elevate creative literacy through an increase of teaching and studio space; align the schools’ educational missions; and attract a broad range of students. The collaboration will also allow the schools to capitalize on the growing use of technology in the arts and visual communication spaces, expand digital capabilities and offerings to appeal to prospective students, and advance creative innovation. UTSA’s shared vision is to become recognized as one of the best schools focused on arts writ large with a deep local impact and broad global reach.
The collaboration will expand resources available to all stakeholders, including students, faculty, staff, alumni, and the community. UTSA’s trajectory is steeply positive as it makes progress toward becoming a top tier Carnegie Research 1 University. UTSA Enrollment growth continues to outpace others and enjoys a positive and exciting outlook for its Capital campaign. In the context of more than 34,000 students currently enrolled and nearly 1,400 faculty members, UTSA currently offers five degrees and two minors through its Department of Art and Art History, and 80+ degrees and certificates through its College of Liberal and Fine Arts.
When will the schools complete the transition?
Does UTSA expect to implement SSA’s master plan and/or develop the block owned by SSA?
The addition of the SSA campus reinforces UTSA’s commitment to Downtown San Antonio and enables its growth as an urban-serving institution. For example, UTSA’s new School of Data Sciences and its explorations around charting a new future for the Institute of Texan Cultures speak to this intentionality. Given UTSA’s most recent land additions in the downtown core, we expect to develop a revised master plan that will be informed by existing plans by both institutions.
UTSA’s plans to continue SSA’s efforts to further the contribution of arts education to its students, the San Antonio community, the region, and the state. SSA’s initiatives align with many of UTSA’s strategic initiatives, including UTSA’s plan to expand its Downtown San Antonio presence.
Is this type of collaboration common for independent art schools?
For SSA Students
Will SSA students automatically become UTSA students?
When will students be required to complete a transfer to continue their degree track without interruption?
Is SSA still accepting applications for admissions into the BFA program?
Will SSA students have access to UTSA housing options?
Yes, as UTSA students, all are eligible to apply for student housing.
Will Cadillac Lofts continue to offer rental discounts for SSA students?
Will SSA students become eligible for federal aid? If so, when should a FAFSA be completed?
Yes, all UTSA students are eligible to apply for federal aid. Current SSA students should fill out a FAFSA at www.fafsa.gov using UTSA’s school code of 010115. The FAFSA is currently open and can be completed now.
Will additional scholarships be available to SSA students?
Yes. Information on scholarships available can be found at https://onestop.utsa.edu/scholarships/hub/.
Will students have an option to make tuition payments online and are there autopay options for those on a payment plan?
Yes. Information on payment options can be found at https://www.utsa.edu/financialaffairs/services/fiscal-services/pay-my-bill/index.html.
How much will classes cost after the transition to UTSA?
Information on UTSA tuition and fees can be found at https://www.utsa.edu/financialaffairs/services/fiscal-services/tuition-fees/index.html.
Will all my previous credits be accepted at UTSA?
UTSA will evaluate each SSA student’s past transcripts to determine which credits will transfer. https://future.utsa.edu/admissions/transfer/.
Will UTSA offer shuttle service between Southwest Campus and other UTSA campuses?
What services does UTSA offer to promote inclusion and accessibility?
UTSA is deeply committed to inclusion and accessibility for all students as part of its broader Student Success efforts. All students requiring academic accommodations can request support through Student Disability Services, which offers a wide range of services. Students can also find support through the Multicultural Student Center for Equity and Justice, which promotes an equitable and socially just campus for students through community building, campus advocacy, education and programming. Individual advocacy is available through Student Assistance Services, which assist students with navigating academic and non-academic matters related to their enrollment to help support their progress to degree completion and personal and professional development. Additionally, UTSA offers on-campus health care and wellbeing services, including advocacy, counseling and mental health services through Wellness 360 and Wellbeing Services.
For details on other student support services available at UTSA, visit the Student Support Gateway.
For Staff & Faculty
What is the process for SSA staff to become UTSA staff?
February - Talent Acquisition Meet & Greets: Meet one-on-one with our Talent Acquisition team to tell us more about your current position, your qualifications and experience and your career goals.
March-April - Create Positions: People Excellence will work with hiring managers to develop job descriptions in order to post positions for SSA staff. A benefits orientation will be offered for both faculty and staff.
March-April - Applying for positions: In order to apply for these positions, you must be a current SSA employee. These positions will not be open to outside applicants. In addition, SSA staff can choose to apply to any open positions at UTSA, including full-time or part-time positions at any location and under any work modality (on campus or remote) that meet their needs and qualifications.
April-May - Interviews: Hiring managers will schedule interviews with top candidates for each position.
June - Job Offers & Onboarding: Hiring managers will extend offers to final candidates. If the offer is accepted, reference and background checks are required before starting the position. At this time, UTSA does not require drug testing.
July – New Employee Orientation: Orientation for new UTSA employees joining the university from SSA will take place on July 1. This will be the first official day at UTSA.
This timeline is for planning purposes only. It is subject to change due to unforeseen circumstances or unique situations.
When will UTSA begin holding office hours at the SSA campus to work with staff?
In addition to meet and greets with our Talent Acquisition team, SSA staff will have the option to meet with one of our People Excellence team members, Sharon Martinez. Sharon will hold office hours Wednesday mornings at the SSA campus starting on February 23 and continuing through the transition process. She will be located on the 2nd floor in the Urschel building.
Will SSA staff be expected to pay for parking after the transition to UTSA? What about our constituents?
If an SSA faculty or staff member does not qualify for or receive a position at UTSA, what support is offered?
What employee benefits does UTSA offer?
Please review the benefits and compensation information on the People Excellence website for more detail about these areas.
A benefits overview will be offered in April. For a brief summary of benefits, visit https://www.utsa.edu/hr/Benefits/BenefitsInBrief.pdf
Will severance packages be offered to Southwest School of Art employees who are not offered positions or choose not to pursue employment with UTSA?
For SSA Alumni, Donors and Trustees
What will happen to named scholarships, endowments, buildings, and SSA assets?
The school will maintain the current names of all transferred scholarships, endowments, buildings and assets. UTSA and SSA leadership will work together to smoothly transition named SSA scholarships, buildings, programs, and endowments which are transferred to UTSA/UT System with vital student, faculty, staff, alumni, donor, and community input. Donor intent and restrictions per the donor/gift agreement will continue to determine how and for what purpose the funds are used.
Will the SSA board of trustees continue to serve the new school?
How will this transition impact Club Giraud?
UTSA looks forward to a long and robust partnership with Club Giraud, particularly in regard to the club’s historic charitable purpose of supporting SSA. Club Giraud will continue to support the three missions for which it was founded in 1981: to preserve the historic buildings which it occupies, to provide funds for the preservation of the Ursuline complex (recorded on the National Register for Historic Places and a Texas Landmark) and to help support a high-quality community school for the visual arts. Membership dues for Club Giraud will continue to be used to support those missions exclusively. UTSA values that support and will continue to build on it for the people and programs that will continue at the SSA campus, including those degree-seeking students enrolled in the newly merged school as well as students enrolled in community arts programs.
The lease between Club Giraud and SSA, which is in place through 2028, will transfer to UTSA on June 30, 2022, when the real estate transfer occurs. Club Giraud will always be a place for member families to enjoy special dinners, holiday events, weddings, bridal showers, Fiesta celebrations, private parties/events, birthday celebrations and more.