UTSA Tomas Rivera Center for Student Success helps students reach goals

Tomas Rivera

Tomas Rivera

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(Sept. 9, 2013) -- Named after a famed Chicano author, poet and educator including positions at UTSA and other universities, the UTSA Tomas Rivera Center for Student Success provides many services to help UTSA students achieve their academic goals.

With offices at the Main and Downtown campuses, specialty areas within the center are Learning Assistance, Supplemental Instruction and Tutoring Services.

Learning assistance is provided for both undergraduate and graduate students in:

  • Academic coaching:  Help for students to identify strengths and weaknesses, then devising a personalized plan for improvement, academic coaches meet with students one-on-one (schedule an appointment: 210-458-4694 (Main Campus) or 210-458-2838 (Downtown Campus)
  • Workshops: Many topics that challenge UTSA students, offered each semester in person for undergraduates or online for graduate students, and for registered student organizations
  • Thesis/dissertation group: A closed six-week support group to discuss challenges of completing a thesis, dissertation or seminar/exit paper, topics include time and stress management and defense preparation (registration required)
  • Writing institute: offered each spring break and May minimester to aid in completing large writing projects or papers for publication, four-day intensive workshop addresses topics such as grammar, research, citations and structure (registration and small fee required)
  • Free online resources on TRC website: Self-help handouts, workshop presentations, videos for improving academic skills, helpful links
  • Workshop schedules and online resources

Supplemental instruction for core and gateway classes includes:

  • Study group support and study sessions for students enrolled in historically difficult classes help students gain understanding of course material and develop their own transferable study skills -- a highly successful program and a national award-winning model
  • Study sessions are guided by students who successfully completed the course and who are trained to facilitate collaborative study groups, sessions help students learn how to learn while learning what to learn
  • Attendance is voluntary and students are encouraged to attend as many sessions as desired, regular attendees tend to average one half to one full letter grade higher than classmates who do not attend
  • Course and session schedules at TRC website or call 210-458-7251

Tutoring services feature:

  • Free tutoring for all students enrolled in supported core and gateway-to-the-major courses in liberal arts, business, engineering and sciences
  • Three tutoring labs at Main Campus and tutoring center at Downtown Campus, tutoring labs are drop-in centers -- no appointments necessary
  • Tutors may work with students in groups or individually depending on needs of student
  • Students are encouraged to attend tutoring regularly throughout the semester to continuously work with course material for projects and exams
  • QLAB: Quantitative tutoring lab at John Peace Library second floor (Main Campus) and Durango Building Room 2.114 (Downtown Campus)
  • MAP (Math Assistance Program): Math tutoring
  • NCB (Non-course Based): Small group developmental instruction in math, reading and writing for students not passing TSI requirements
  • Schedules and locations: TRC website or call 210-458-6783

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About Tomas Rivera

Tomas Rivera grew up living the oppressive life of a migrant worker, yet achieved many significant educational goals at a time when cultural obstacles usually prevented such achievements. He devoted his life to opening doors to higher education and to the writing and publishing world for Mexican-Americans. He made a vital contribution to the Chicano literary movement and influenced many individuals. Named in his honor, the UTSA Tomas Rivera Center for Student Success is part of his legacy to carry on the mission of a man of achievement.

Rivera was born in 1935, in Crystal City, Texas, to a migrant Mexican-American family. He started writing when he was 12 and was an avid reader. As a boy, Rivera and his family followed the migrant stream from Texas to the Midwest and back to Texas again.

Despite many educational obstacles in the migrant life, Rivera graduated from high school and went on to receive a bachelor's degree in education. He taught in public schools in San Antonio, Crystal City and League City before earning his Ph. D in romance languages and literature from the University of Oklahoma.

In 1971, he became a professor of Spanish at UTSA. In 1973, he was appointed an associate dean and in 1975 became a vice president. In 1978, he left UTSA to become executive vice president at UT El Paso. From 1979 until his death in 1984, he was the chancellor of the University of California, Riverside, the first Mexican-American to hold such a position at the University of California.

Rivera achieved many firsts in his life. He was the first in his family to attend college; he was the first recipient of the prestigious Quinto Sol Literary Award, in 1971, for the best Chicano literary work "y nose la trago la tierra (and the earth did not swallow him)," and he was one of the founders of the Mexican-American chancellorship in the United States, at the University of California, Riverside, in 1979.

Among his many literary works are "Always and Other Poems," "The Harvest -- La Cosecha" and "Chicano Literature: A Dynamic Intimacy." His dedication and accomplishments did much to create new and important opportunities for Hispanics at that time. Rivera received international acclaim as an educator, author and scholar before his untimely death in 1984 at age 49.