Photo courtesy of UTSA Today

On Oct. 1, UTSA President Taylor Eighmy presented a new initiative aimed at making UTSA a place where students may cultivate success with the Presidential Classroom to Career Initiative. The initiative aims to allow UTSA students to engage in experiential learning opportunities. Eighmy launched the Classroom to Career Initiative with the hope that it will increase student success by providing students more opportunities to connect their classroom learning with real-world applications and increase their career readiness. UTSA Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, Kimberly Andrews Espy, will lead the new presidential initiative. 

“The Classroom to Career Initiative focuses on experiential learning, which is the process of learning through doing,” Espy said. “Some examples of experiential learning outside the classroom include internships,undergraduate research, service in a community program or even innovations, such as launching a student-led startup.” Vice Provost for Academic Affairs and Dean of University College Heather Shipley, will be the head of the Classroom to Career Task Force. Task force members include faculty and staff from each of UTSA’s colleges and several student academic support units, as well as the Student Government Association. 

“The Classroom to Career Task Force will convene for two months and, in December, will recommend the structure of a new campus-wide experiential learning framework,” Shipley said. “Outreach into the community is a key component of this process to identify partners in the business, non-profit and government sectors who are able to provide internship opportunities for our students. The task force will also identify the best practices, including the many successful programs that already exist here at UTSA.” 

The goal of the program is to make sure that each student can experience these once-in-a-lifetime opportunities. 

“Our vision is to make experiential learning programs such as internships sufficiently meaningful, enjoyable and readily available to our students that most will take advantage of these opportunities while they’re here at UTSA,” Espy said. “The task force is charged with transforming this vision into a reality and determining the infrastructure needed to create the best possible experiential learning opportunities for our students, both inside and outside the classroom.”

All majors are represented in the task force and can benefit from this initiative because it can lead to more marketable skills for career improvement, benefit businesses and organizations around San Antonio with interns, establish more research-related scholarships and encourage people of all majors to interact with one another. After the fall semester, the Classroom to Career Task Force will propose its completed plan in January 2019. 

“This initiative will ultimately bring more experiential learning opportunities to our students resulting in fun, engaging learning experiences that enhance student success and career-readiness,” Epsy said.

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