Message from the Dean

Message from the Dean
August 29, 2017 by Elda Barajas

Dear UTSA Graduate Roadrunner,

It is with a heavy heart that I send this letter to you in the wake of the ongoing tragedies surrounding Hurricane Harvey. When the hurricane made landfall on Friday night in Rockport, my first thoughts went to our graduate students, their families and loved ones in the affected areas. Yet, after the unthinkable happened, the unimaginable began to unfold as Harvey set its sights on the Houston area – creating what weather experts are calling an 800-year weather event.

During this time of devastation and uncertainty, we turn to each other – our neighbors, our cohorts, our classmates, our friends, our faculty – to comfort us and to lift us up. Your University and your Graduate School are here for you.

From the Office of the President, for students in a devastated area who are currently unable to return to UTSA:

  • Safety is always the first priority. Do not attempt to travel to campus in conditions that are unsafe. Use good judgment and exercise caution when deciding whether to travel to campus.
  • Do not worry about missing classes. The Provost’s Office has coordinated with UTSA faculty to make accommodations for students who have been impacted by Harvey. Our faculty and instructors will work with you if you need to miss classes, assignments, exams or quizzes.
  • The Office of Academic Affairs has assigned an undergraduate advisor and graduate advisor to assist with any longer-term disruption in your coursework. Please contact Student Affairs Ombudsman Carol Gonzalez at 210-458-4040 for assistance.

For students currently at UTSA who have families impacted by Harvey:

  • If your family wants to seek shelter in San Antonio, call the Student Affairs Ombudsperson, Carol Gonzalez, at 210-458-4040 for assistance in connecting them with local shelters.
  • If you feel your studies may be disrupted by a need to return home, contact the advisors who have specifically been assigned to assist in this disaster. Please contact Student Affairs Ombudsman Carol Gonzalez at 210-458-4040 for assistance.
  • If you are experiencing financial issues due to Harvey, emergency funding is available. Call the Financial Aid Ombudsperson Kim Canady at 210-458-7167 for more information.
  • Counseling Services is ready to help with emotional support services. You can obtain assistance at the Recreation Wellness Center on the Main Campus (RWC 1.810) and at the Buena Vista Street Building at the Downtown Campus (BVB 1.308). Additionally, counselors are available 24-hours-a-day, 7-days-a-week by calling 210-458-4140.
  • A support group for students impacted by Harvey will meet today, Tuesday, Aug. 29, from 4 to 6 p.m. in RWC 1.806. Additional support group sessions will be held at the same time and location on Tuesday, Sept. 5 and Tuesday, Sept. 12. These gatherings, sponsored by UTSA Counseling Services, are for any students struggling with the impact of Harvey.
  • The Roadrunner Pantry can offer an emergency kit including food and hygiene products. The pantry is open Mondays (11 a.m.-3 p.m.), Wednesdays (9 a.m.-1 p.m.) and Thursdays (3-7 p.m.) at UC North 1.04.06, next to the UPS Store. A valid student ID is required. Students who need immediate assistance but cannot visit the Pantry should visit the UC information Desk or contact to request a food pantry emergency kit. A staff member will contact you within 24 hours to arrange for a food pickup.

UTSA Graduate Roadrunners, as we face the immense obstacles challenging our great state today, we do so as one united community -- one Texas community, one UTSA community -- One Roadrunner Community!

All my blessings,

DeBrenna Agbényiga, Ph.D, MBA, MSW
Vice Provost and Dean of The Graduate School