UTSA | COEHD | University of Texas at San Antonio | College of Edcuation and Human Development
Tue, November 12, 2019
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College of Education and Human Development presents: Courageous Conversations

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Across the city we see banners announcing our fifty years as an institution. The historical establishment of UTSA with a commitment to educational access is highly valued in the College of Education and Human Development (COEHD). While officially the COEHD will be twenty years old next year, the original faculty in the Divisions of Education and Bicultural-Bilingual Education greatly impacted the foundation of our university and current college. In the original UTSA founding structure, the Divisions of Education and Bicultural-Bilingual Education were housed in the College of Multidisciplinary Studies, and later in the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences.


In recognition of UTSA’s 50th Anniversary, the college formed a committee of UTSA emeritus faculty, current faculty, staff and community representatives to engage in planning an event for the college and community. The committee consisted of Bertha Pérez (chair), Belinda Bustos Flores (co-chair), Raitza García, Ellen Riojas Clark, Carolyn Kessler, Bambi Cárdenas, Robert Milk, Maricela Oliva, Norma Guerra, Jenny Delos Santos, Enrique Alemán, Jesse Zapata, and María Antonieta Berriozábal.


Given the historical foundation and commitment of the university to the community, the COEHD 50th committee developed a three part series entitled Courageous Conversations. As Jesse Zapata, faculty emeritus from the original Division of Education states, “San Antonio, especially its Latino population, was terribly underserved by the State higher education system into the 1960s. While UTSA was to be a “university of the first class” as stated in its mandate, early discussions also projected UTSA to be "the leading center for Spanish-speaking students in the southwest."


Ellen Riojas Clark, faculty emerita from the Division of Bicultural-Bilingual Education, organized the first of the series of Courageous Conversations: The Promise of UTSA to serve the South Texas Region: A Fifty-Year perspective and Special tribute Tomás Rivera.


At the Courageous Conversation event held on October 10, 2019 at UTSA Downtown, Dr. Tomás Rivera was recognized as an exemplar of the Promise of UTSA. He was a migrant child raised in south Texas, who faced discrimination, but triumphed overcoming many barriers. Ms. Concha Rivera spoke about her husband’s commitment to education and the Rivera family joined us to celebrate his life. 


Upon his arrival to UTSA, Dr. Tomás Rivera was a well-recognized scholar in Mexican American literature. His contributions to UTSA were many as a faculty member, division director, associate dean, and later as Vice-President of Administration. His accomplishments included recruiting diverse faculty and administrators, designing curriculum, developing policies, and providing organizational structure to the divisions and colleges. Dr. Rivera’s belief that social mobility could be achieved through education is evident in his work at UTSA, and later as Chancellor of the University of California, Riverside.


The event closed with a panel including Bertha Pérez, María Antonieta Berriozábal, and Bambi Cárdenas sharing their lively stories of the promise and challenges of the early days of UTSA.

We invite all to join us at the two additional Courageous Conversations planned for the Spring 2020 semester at UTSA Downtown: Courageous Conversations Part 2 – The Struggles: Challenges to sustaining the commitment to the community to be held on Thursday, February 20, 2020 and Courageous Conversations Part 3 – The Future: Renewing our commitment to the community on Thursday, May 7, 2020. 





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UTSA College of Education and Human Development

Phone: 210-458-4370



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