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April 17, 2018

Last spring, 15 faculty were chosen to participate in UTSA’s inaugural faculty learning community on diversity and inclusive teaching. Coordinated through Teaching and Learning Services, and led by teaching and learning consultant Shelley Howell and faculty fellow Paul Rodriguez. The learning community’s explored best practices for inclusive pedagogy and determined how to adapt them for UTSA’s diverse student population. These dedicated faculty have spent the past nine months working together to identify the needs of UTSA students and targeting ways in which faculty can help them succeed. Two workshops were conducted this spring as a result of this group’s hard work: Carolyn Luna and Paul Ardoin presented some findings on classroom spaces to the math department, and Sara DeTurk presented best practice examples in a TLS workshop in March: Teaching to UTSA’s Diverse Student Body. Another result of the group’s hard work will be released this fall: A faculty guide with specific resources on inclusive pedagogy for UTSA faculty.

While this year’s group has finished its tasks, the work is far from over. The important work of this group will become the foundation for next year’s faculty learning community, whose focus will be to study specific issues identified by this inaugural group regarding inclusive pedagogy.

If you have a passion for student success and an interest in collaborating across disciplines with other faculty, you can apply for next year’s faculty learning community here. 

Reflections from a few of the faculty participants:

I very much enjoyed the opportunity to participate in the faculty learning community this year. I was gratified by its celebration of teaching and (especially) the importance of diversity and inclusion, and appreciated getting to know other faculty from across the university and gaining new teaching ideas from a variety of disciplines. I also loved that we generated ideas from the synergy of our diverse standpoints and experiences, and valued the opportunity to represent the group in sharing some of our findings through the TLS workshop.

— Sara DeTurk, Professor, Communication


I really enjoyed the opportunity to hit pause and stop the frantic pace of faculty life every now and then to discuss what really matters: our students and how we can help them succeed at UTSA. Coming together with like-minded people who care about the same issues was rewarding in and of itself and helped us engage in debate on important issues. As a starting point for conversation, I hope to see these topics resonate with UTSA’s broader mission eventually and help us all put students in all their diversity first!

— Matthias Hofferberth, Assistant Professor, Political Science


I have enjoyed the time spent with the Faculty Teaching and Learning Community. It has been a great opportunity to meet and share ideas and resources with faculty from across the University who share the same passion of preparing our students as future leaders. This investment was professionally and personally significant. The committee work was meaningful and our goal is clear: Our best will facilitate our students’ best (once they graduate as they enter the workforce).

— Norma Guerra, Associate Professor, Educational Psychology


It was an absolute honor to serve as a Faculty Fellow with Teaching and Learning Services this year and to be a part of the inaugural Faculty Learning Community. Being able to work directly with Shelley Howell and Mary Dixson has shown me firsthand what an invaluable resource we, as faculty members, have available to us to help us become better teachers and educators. As for the Faculty Learning Community, what a tremendous opportunity to collaborate with faculty members across the university in addressing the needs of our diverse student population. I would recommend this professional development forum to any faculty member at UTSA that is committed to student success by enhancing his/her teaching pedagogy and overall approach to working with students.  

Paul Rodriguez, Lecturer III, First-Year Experience Program


Pictured above: (front row, left to right) Paul Rodriguez, Lapetra Bowman, Norma Guerra, Shelley Howell, Kristabel Aguero, Sara DeTurk, Terri Matiella, Carolyn Luna; (back row, left to right) Anne Hardgrove, David Han, Orlando Bolanos, Lee Mason, Matthias Hofferberth, Mark Giles, Paul Ardoin

Not pictured: Claudia Garcia-Louis, Sue Hum