By Victoria Uribe
Good morning! We’re here at the Chancellor’s Century Council Annual Meeting at Texas A&M University-San Antonio. The annual meeting brings Council members to witness first-hand the contributions each System member is making to the State of Texas. Members tour the campuses, view current research initiatives, and visit with administrators, faculty and students. Join us this morning as we provide news coverage, insights and perspectives throughout the day.
9:42 a.m. By Victoria Uribe
Guests are rushing in to their seats to begin the Chancellor’s Century Council Annual Meeting. President Cynthia Teniente-Matson greets the audience with a “Howdy!” and will now begin her state of the university address. She begins by describing One University Way, the one-mile road that leads to the campus’ first three buildings and the donated land surrounding this road, as well as its relationship to the San Antonio Missions. She continues by informing the crowd of our university’s student population: 64 percent of students are female; 57 percent of students are the first in their family to attend college; there are just shy of 4,600 students attending now.
“We are a military embracing campus,” she tells her guests. Seventeen percent are affiliated with the Armed Forces. Nearly 90 percent come from urban areas. Thirty percent of A&M-San Antonio graduates say they reside in the lowest income zip codes of San Antonio. Just last week, four of the university’s graduates were named Northside Educators of the Year. The highest producing graduate degree at A&M-San Antonio is the Master’s of Business Administration.
“We are welcoming our inaugural class, we have 3,700 applicants,” Matson says. “In addition to promoting downward expansion, we are welcoming 32 new faculty and 26 staff members.”
Matson invites Dr. Erick Lopez, dean of the College of Education and Human Development, to the podium for a “true delight of the day.”
10:12 a.m. Our own Editor-in-Chief, Oscar Gonzalez, prepares to take the stage to get the academic presentations underway.
Chancellor John Sharp enters and awards the New Frontier Charter School with a $500 check. He welcomes the Jaguar Ambassadors and delivers an additional check to the five members on stage.
Academic presentations begin with a video of Dr. Megan Wise de Valdez, program coordinator of A&M-San Antonio’s biology program.
Oscar Gonzalez, editor of The Mesquite, and Dr. Wise take the stage and interviews Valdez to offer the audience an update on the Zika Virus. For related reading: “Biology Professor’s Mosquito Research Receives National Exposure“ by Mesquite reporter Amanda Lozano.
Dr. Matson introduces Dr. Corrina Ross and Alexander Greig who speak on Experimental learning with Biology Students, A quest for the Fountain of Youth.
Ross discusses her involvement with her students and her assistance helping them conduct studies, labs and presentations.
“It’s easy for me to recruit students because I work with the warm and fuzzy,” Ross said of her works with Marmosets. “We are constantly on the quest for the Fountain of Youth.”
Ross provides an overview of her research, adding that marmosets are good nonhuman primate model for questions related to human health.Marmosets are also good nonhuman primate models for students to participate in experiential learning.
Of her students she says, the research exposes them to the world of data collection, analysis, frustration and joy.
“It makes me a better scientists, I know my work is better when I have students working with me.”
Dr. Matson comes back on stage to announce Mercedes Torrez. Mercedes works with the Student Academic Success division as a Tutoring Services Coordinator and is a recent graduate of English Master’s program at this university. She offers a research presentation titled: “Bridging the Past with the Present: Reimagining the Cultural Haunting of San Antonio’s Donkey Lady.”
“As with all folklore, there are many different variations with the tales, she says.
President Matson takes the podium and greets everyone for lunch. She brings Raymund A. Paredes, Texas Commissioner of Higher Education to the stage.
- Right now about 35 percent of San Antonio residents hold a post-secondary degree.
- “We want to produce 550,000 graduates by the year 2020.”
- “Right now we’re producing about 250,000 completers.”
- “We want all our students to graduate with marketable skills.”
- Average $30,000 debt among students right now. We’re going to have to take innovative approaches to keep costs down.
- 60 percent of kids coming to the k-12 pipeline are poor… and we need to find a way to educate them.
- We have to particularly focus on poor kids and the Latino community.
President Matson takes the podium to introduce Mario Lozoya, Director of Government Relations for Toyota Texas
Toyota has been committed to investing in A&M-San Antonio and their important work with “My Brothers Keeper.”
Toyota is invested in working with men of color and providing them opportunities to grow academically and better San Antonio as a whole. For related story, written by student reporter Amanda Lozano, read here. Lozoya hands over a check of $50,000.
Melissa Mahan, vice president for Student Affairs, introduces two members of The Adelante Leadership Institute, history major Felicia Martinez and sociology major Elisabeth Delgado.
A&M-San Antonio sent 10 individuals for the 3-day program. The annual and signature event is quickly becoming the nation’s premier leadership conference for Latino/Hispanic college students, according to the organization’s website. The next event will take place from Friday, October 28, 2016 through Sunday, October 30, 2016.
“I have not been more ready to enter a job interview than I am right now,” Delgado said. “I want to thank Texas A&M-San Antonio for providing the resources and allowing me to attend Adelante.”
“Thank you for joining me on my fifth day of work.”
Interim provost, Steven Olswang, finishing his first week of work, introduces himself. More about the new provost and his transition to our university in this article, written by student reporter Amanda Lozano.
Olswang introduces Dr. Nancy Compean-Garcia, Assistant Professor in Bilingual / ESL education who provised an overview of Intercultural Aspects of Teaching Abroad. She focuses on a key question: “How do we teach in excellence…how do we make things better for our students?” Dr. Nancy Compean-Garcia and students were able to collaborate with colleagues in Malaga and Sweden to further their studies in the bilingual education program.
“It changed my life and I will never be the same again.”
Dr. Rudy Rosen takes the podium to discuss the Institute for Water Resources Science and Technology.
Rudy Rosen, visiting professor of biology, joined the College of Arts & Sciences to lead the initiative. His previous appointment included the Meadows Center for Water and the Environment at Texas State where he served as the Director of Conservation Leadership Initiative and Research Professor. Among many senior positions he has held are Director–Southeastern Regional Office of the National Wildlife Federation, Director of Fisheries and Wildlife Division-Texas Parks and Wildlife, and Executive Director-Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife
“Priority number one: research and education, we are a research institute.”
Dr. Rosen has teamed up with Alamo Community Colleges to allow students the opportunity to obtain an education that will allow them to transition into a bachelor’s degree in water science and work in treatment plants to support san antonio’s blue economy.