Many visitors to my office are surprised to see that I have a shelf full of children's books. I began collecting them because children's books tell meaningful stories simply and clearly. And they have pictures! A few weeks ago in the Student Affairs Staff Newsletter I wrote about the importance of sharing our stories and our students' stories.
Last month as part of the Student Affairs Council meeting we asked department groups to write a story using Aesop's fables as a model. The fables written that day were wonderful. They were ingenious, thoughtful, vibrant, insightful, fun, and funny. Such creativity and inspiration. These stories helped us reach to the heart of our work and talk about what we do in ways that help ourselves and each other understand our work more deeply.
At the end of this article, I will share one of the stories written that day. You can click on the link to view the story. It is the story written by the members of the Student Affairs Executive Council*. I share it because our task was to write broadly rather than departmentally and I'd like you to have a sense of what we did that day.
It seems that stories are all around me these days. Last week, I was reminded again about the importance of stories when I read these words by Parker Palmer on the Courage and Renewal Blog.
"I think a lot about the fact that our real connections are found not at the level of our convictions, but at the level of the life experiences, the stories, that brought us to what we believe. For example, I've been very impressed by retreats involving people who disagree vehemently about certain issues (like abortion) where the ground rule is that we spend the first day or two not arguing about our positions on the issues, but telling the stories of the experiences that took us to those positions. Time after time, people who disagree on issues find that very similar experiences took them to different places -- and once they see that, a new and more generative kind of conversation emerges. Differences do not disappear, but there is an emergent sense that maybe we can create the kind of community that can hold our differences."
Our stories, our experiences are what make us unique. However, the paradox is that telling our stories, our unique stories, helps us find common ground. In the previous article I asked the questions, 'what stories do you share?' and 'who gets to hear your stories?' Of course, no one sent me the answer to those questions and I really didn't expect anyone would.
Today, however, I'm inviting you to tell me your stories. It can be about anything, work, home, childhood, whatever you would like to share. It's difficult for me to know everyone in our division. Will you help me learn more so that together we can enjoy our differences and find our common ground? If you find the blank page difficult, remember "once upon a time" is a great beginning.
The School of Dreams fable
* Members of Student Affairs Executive Council:
Lisa Blazer, Assistant VP for Student Financial Aid and Enrollment Services
Joe DeCristoforo, Assistant VP/Registrar
Sam Gonzales, Associate VP for Student Services
Lynn Hickey, Assistant VP and Director of Intercollegiate Athletics
George Norton, Assistant VP/Admissions
Gage E. Paine, Vice President for Student Affairs
Kevin Price, Associate VP for Student Life and Dean of Students
We would like to welcome our new Office Asst. II in Student Health Services, Shana Bankhead.
She started on Nov. 16, 2009.
Welcome to UTSA Shana.
Deadline: January 21, 2010
The UTSA Student Affairs Staff Development team is seeking dynamic, interactive presentations for their Annual Student Affairs Conference-- an opportunity for all staff members within Student Affairs to grow professionally. We are currently accepting applications to be considered for presentation at the Student Affairs Conference. The deadline to submit your application to the Staff Development Team is January 21, 2010.
Our theme for the 2010 conference is TEAM! This is an opportunity for you to share your expertise with Student Affairs staff members. The interest sessions will be offered at both of our two separate conferences that will take place on March 31, 2010 and April 14, 2010 at the Main Campus. You and those helping you present/moderate will need to commit to present on both of these days. We regret that due to time constraints not all proposals will be selected. You will be notified if your topic is selected for presentation by January 29, 2010.
Presenters/moderators for the Student Affairs conference will not be compensated monetarily for their presentations. If you have questions regarding the conference's purpose, audience or scope, please contact the Staff Development Team through Eric Cooper at firstname.lastname@example.org (4859) or Shirley Rowe at email@example.com (4596). Please complete, print and send the attached application via campus mail to Eric Cooper in Financial Aid and Enrollment Services JPL 1.01.04.
Proposal Application (PDF)
The Women's Resource Center is collecting items for the Battered Women's Shelter. Boxes have been placed around campus. We would be happy to arrange a pick- up of larger items by calling 458-6829.
Deadline for donations: Friday, December 4th
PDF to print and post
One of the Staff Development Team's new initiatives is the C.A.S.A. Mentor Program. It stands for (Communicating. Connecting. Collaborating. Creating.) Across Student Affairs. The Mentor/Mentee program is designed to connect staff members who want to establish relationships, grow professionally, collaborate with other staff and create a support system. This program will help staff open up lines of communication across Student Affairs and create a safe environment to express interests, ideas and concerns in a professional setting.
If you are interested in either serving as a mentor, or being a mentee, please fill out the attached C.A.S.A. application and send it via campus mail to Keri Shiplet in Student Activities. The deadline to submit your application is December 7, 2009. Mentors and mentees will be matched up by December 16. Further guidelines will be sent via email in December to those that sign up for the program by the deadline. If you should have questions regarding this program, please email the Staff Development Team at Keri.firstname.lastname@example.org.
UTSA Athletics is participating in a conference-wide challenge to collect the most aluminum can pull-tabs to donate to the Ronald McDonald House. The pull-tabs are high-grade aluminum and are worth a greater amount when recycling. The Ronald McDonald House uses the donation to help fund their services:
Many families travel far from home to get treatment for their seriously ill or injured children. The treatment may last a day, a month, or even longer. It's a long time to be away from home, or to divide a family. Ronald McDonald Houses around the world offer families a way to stay together, in proximity to the treatment hospital, and be comfortable and care for during their stay. The Ronald McDonald House allows families to access specialized medical treatment by providing a place to stay at little or sometimes no cost.
The Southland Conference Challenge pull tab collection pitchers can be found in: Enrollment Services/Registrar Offices, Admissions Office, and Student Activities Office.
The collection date is March 30, 2010.
Thanks for your support!!
UTSA will host the first National Behavioral Intervention Team Association (NaBITA) conference from 8 a.m.-5 p.m., Thursday-Friday, Dec. 10-11 in the University Center Retama Auditorium (2.01.02) on the Main Campus.
Featured speakers, concurrent sessions and small roundtable sessions will center on discussion of behavioral intervention team practices and the differences between threat assessment and behavioral intervention strategies for behavioral and academic interventions.
NaBITA was formed in response to recent acts of violence in schools and workplaces. The group supports the professional development of behavioral intervention team members by providing education, resources and support to professionals in schools and in the workplace who address behavioral safety concerns.
The keynote speaker for the event will be Rick A. Myer, professor of psychology, counseling and special education at Duquesne University. Myer will open the conference speaking on "Crisis Intervention and Prevention on College Campuses: The Three Cs." Additionally, he will facilitate a follow-up Q&A session and will participate as a roundtable facilitator and closing panelist.
The conference is free and open to the UTSA community, however registration is required. To register and for more information, visit the NaBITA Web site.
Students representing the student organization Be A Responsible Roadrunner (BARR) attended The BACCHUS Network General Assembly "Superheros for Health and Safety" in Orlando, Florida November 3-7.
The BACCHUS Network General Assembly provides students and professionals the opportunity to gain new ideas and strategies for their programming and awareness events. This year, over 630 students and advisors were in attendance representing over 120 campuses across the nation.
Three students attended a 12-hour pre-conference course for health and safety peer educators. The Certified Peer Educator training covers nine modules covering an overview of The BACCHUS Network, Strategies for Change in High-Risk Behaviors, Listening Skills, Responding and Referral Skills, Intervention Skills, Developing Inclusive Peer Education Efforts, Programming and Presentation Skills, Taking Care of Yourself and Group Development and Success.
For the full article, with photos, please open this PDF.
On Wednesday, November 18, 2009, the University Career Center and the Athletics Department teamed up to host an Employer Appreciation evening filled with food, fun, and friends. This was a special event for employers that had conducted on-campus activities for UTSA students. The university staff gathered to greet and network with the employers throughout the evening. Susan Dollar, Lynn Hickey, Larry Coker, and Sloan Thomas gave very moving "Welcome" and "Thank You" speeches. In particular, Mr. Thomas talked about his collegiate and NFL football career and the importance of having an education in order to move forward as a professional. The evening concluded with the employers and staff attending the basketball game against East Central, where the Roadrunners were the victorious winners! A great time was had by all!
An engineering student developed the wound measurement technology. Four business students formulated the company. And now, after months of hard work, the five students who created tech start-up AidPro have won first place in UTSA's $100,000 New Technology Venture Competition. Organized by the UTSA Center for Innovation and Technology Entrepreneurship (CITE), the competition gave students the chance to try on entrepreneurial careers and network with some of the city's most influential business leaders.
CITE is an interdisciplinary center in the UTSA College of Business and College of Engineering, fostering the growth of...
Students interested in video making can put their creative energy to use by entering the UTSA Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) video contest. The Thanksgiving break is a great time to start the creative process.
QEP is a requirement for university reaccreditation through the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS)...
For the full article, visit: http://utsa.edu/today/2009/11/qepvideos.html
Photos of the QEP booth at Best Fest (click image for larger version):
The UTSA Office of Business Auxiliary Services announces the holiday schedule for December 15-Jan. 11 (see below).
Additionally, Business Auxiliary Services will move between Dec. 15 and 31 to new Main Campus offices in Multidisciplinary Studies Building Room 1.01.52. (See a map at left.) Details are to be announced...
This workshop, offered by the Student Affairs Staff Development Team, offered Student Affairs employees information for continuing their education, at both the undergraduate and graduate levels, at UTSA. Representatives from the undergraduate and graduate admissions offices and the Higher Education and Counseling programs were on hand to discuss application and transfer information.
In addition, staff were on hand to offer advice about financial aid, advising, and services of the TRC to help you better prepare and pay for your education. A panel of current (or just recently graduated) undergraduate, master's and doctoral level students served as panelists to bring their perspectives concerning the balance of work, school and family responsibilities and offered tips for completing your degree at UTSA.
Photos of the event
PDF flyer which announced the event
Be A Responsible Roadrunner held its last Thirsty Thursday for the Fall Semester on November 19. The monthly event is from 11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. on the UC Paseo and includes an educational activity for participants as well as free bottled water. Students are able to quench their thirst for knowledge and learn how to Be Rowdy! Be Responsible!
For November, the organization had students sign a sober driver pledge for the Thanksgiving Holiday and had special guest Michelle Peters (Senior Communications Public Relations major) perform on acoustic guitar.
Be A Responsible Roadrunner will continue Thirsty Thursdays in the Spring.
Photos of the event
The University Career Center (UCC) celebrated the Thanksgiving holiday by having a Turkey Decorating Contest, playing Office Bingo and enjoying a Cultural Potluck lunch. The staff and student employees shared their favorite dishes and desserts. While socializing and eating, we played a UCC Bingo game that was created by our social committee. The game consisted of pictures of each staff member and a name that best described them. The Turkey Decorating Contest winner and the UCC Bingo winners won great UTSA gifts and bragging rights.
Photos of the event
|Mon, Dec 7||WBB|| Houston
|San Antonio, Texas||12 p.m.|
|Mon, Dec 7||MBB||Texas-Pan American||San Antonio, Texas||7 p.m.|
Many forms that have been in Public Folders are being moved to www.utsa.edu/financialaffairs/forms. Please bookmark this website to your favorites for future reference as most forms in Public Folders will be removed in the near future.
More Holiday Wellness Tips
• Try to diet during the holiday season. It's really hard to commit to a new diet this time of year with all the food around and the hustle-and-bustle. Instead, focus on maintaining rather than losing weight.
• Drink alcohol on an empty stomach. Not only will the beverage have a greater effect on you, it can lead to overeating and overdrinking. Drinks are high in calories and an easy way to pack on extra weight. According to Calorie Count, for example, just one shot (one and a half ounces) of gin has nearly 100 calories.
• Skip meals in anticipation of a party or holiday meal. You will only set yourself up for becoming overly-hungry which inevitably leads to overeating and paying little attention to portion control.
• Stand next to the buffet at a holiday party. Serve yourself small portions and then make your way to the other side of the room. After all, parties are for mingling. If you get caught up in a good conversation, you may never return to the spread. But, if you're standing next to it while you're talking (or worse, not talking), you're sure to reach for more.
Assistant Director of Fitness & Wellness
Thank You Rowdy has a special mission in Student Affairs - to travel across UTSA recognizing the good work of staff members. Within the Division of Student Affairs, Thank You Rowdy is presented from one Student Affairs staff member to another in recognition and appreciation of work done well - taking extra assignments to provide support, offering unsolicited assistance, or completing tasks in a unique way. Whatever the situation, contributions like this are made every day and Thank You Rowdy helps us recognize them.
Thank you Rowdy reflects UTSA's spirit of community and reminds us to remember it takes everyone to make UTSA a great place to work and to learn.
- Gage Paine
Thank You Rowdy is presently visiting with Fernando Estrada
See past Thank You Rowdy Recipients
To: Fernando Estrada, Office of Orientation and Family Programs
From: christina Maldonado, Office of Orientation and Family Programs
Today I pass along to you Thank You Rowdy!
OFP could not survive without you! You have been so helpful to me and the dept. You have a great attitude you never say no and you are always ready to assist no matter what the situation. You back up the front desk when needed and thanks to you I don't have to set-up Banner Course Numbers anymore!! It is a great pleasure to work with you!
Thanks again for all you do and keep up the good work!
Christina and Fernando with Thank You Rowdy
Fernando and Thank You Rowdy
To: Eliot Howard- Assistant Director of Outdoor Pursuits, Campus Recreation Center
From: Campus Recreation Center
Campus Recreation would like to congratulate Eliot Howard, Assistant Director of Outdoor Pursuits, for being elected to the AORE (Association of Outdoor Recreation and Education) Board of Directors.
To: Andria Cox, Amanda Marin, Sasha Maryland- Financial Aid & Enrollment Services
From: Erika Cox- Assistant Director, Enrollment Services Center
Congratulations on completing the supervisory series!
To: Monica Bowden and Cié Gee - Graduation Coordinators, Office of the Registrar
From: Sally Crouser- Senior Administrative Associate, Special Events Center
Monica and Cié,
Thank you so much for helping during Grad Fest. As you know, those two days can be very stressful to say the least. With the two of you there, it truly makes my job easier.
Your ability to calm students down, reassure them that things are going to be "ok" and keep smiling says a lot about both you!
To: Michell Rench- Enrollment Services Officer II, Enrollment Services Center
From: Sally Crouser- Senior Administrative Associate, Special Events Center
RE: Thank You
I just wanted to take a minute to say THANK YOU for all you do for me in regards to handing out commencement tickets at the downtown campus. You and your staff have always been so easy to work with and I truly am thankful for your assistance in being there for the downtown students.
I know that by working together, we are truly working together by communicating with each other, connecting via talking all the time, collaborating on better ways to make it work and creating the lasting impression that those students will take with them after they graduate.
I look forward to "C"ing you and your staff and doing it all over again in May.
Please submit all newsletter entries by 5:00 pm, Tuesday, December 15, 2009, to