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Travel Grants for Faculty Teaching with Special Collections

January 4, 2016

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We’re proud to announce a new grant program for faculty interested in designing or invigorating their courses with unique content from UTSA’s Special Collections.

UTSA Special Collections invites applications for the Special Collections Faculty Grants for the 2016-17 academic year. The grants are aimed at instructors who would like to design or invigorate an undergraduate or graduate course with unique content from UTSA Special Collections, generating innovative primary source assignments and projects for students.

Special Collections Faculty Grants offer instructors an opportunity to create semester long courses that utilize rare and unique collections housed in UTSA Special Collections. The intent is to introduce students to a variety of contextualized primary sources, engage them in-depth archival research, build their critical thinking skills, and stress participation in collaborative projects and presentations.

UTSA’s manuscript and rare book collections are well suited for faculty interested in teaching evidence-based research methods, public history, book studies (broadly defined), or material culture in a variety of subject areas and topics.

UTSA Special Collections brings national recognition to the university for distinctive research materials documenting the diverse histories and development of San Antonio and South Texas. Signature collecting areas include the histories of the Mexican-American, African-American and LGBTQ communities in San Antonio, the history of women and gender in Texas, the Tex-Mex food industry, as well as regional photography, architecture and urban planning.

In addition, Special Collections has a wide range of materials from around the world, enabling research and instruction in a variety of disciplines from medieval art to creative writing. Special Collections also houses UTSA’s own history archives, providing a rich source for UTSA institutional history as well as photographs and faculty/staff papers.


Four (4) grant recipients will receive $1,000 to supplement their departmental annual travel allowance. Upon award, the money will be transferred to the recipient’s department and earmarked for the recipient’s use.


Special Collections Faculty Grants are open to UTSA tenured, tenure-track and non-tenure track faculty teaching undergraduate and graduate courses at any level. Interdisciplinary approaches are strongly encouraged.

Preference will be given to course design that:

  • Involves close collaboration with an archivist or rare books librarian to define specific learning objectives for the visit to the archives, select materials or documents, design tailored small group activities, and model document analysis though directed prompts
  • Utilizes Special Collections materials and spaces throughout the semester
    • scaffolded research and writing assignments using variety of primary sources
    • training in critical analysis and use of primary source materials through specific and tailored prompts
    • student engagement with scholarly communications, social media, blogs or exhibit curation/creationProvides opportunities for students to do at least one of the following:

Selection Criteria

Successful proposals will demonstrate how students will benefit from the opportunity to select, analyze and use primary sources to learn and create new knowledge. Proposals will be evaluated for:

  • Feasibility: Is the project realistic in terms of what can be accomplished? Does the proposal communicate clearly the project’s central goals, learning objectives, and approaches?
  • Depth of integration: To what extent will special collections materials be integrated throughout the course?
  • Innovative pedagogy: Does the project employ well designed practices or approaches that are either new to the instructor, course, or department or new to the application of those practices? If so, how do these new approaches facilitate student learning?
  • Partnership building: Does the instructor-librarian/archivist collaboration help to build or strengthen connections between the academic program and the Libraries? What is the extent and the nature of the collaboration between the instructor and the librarian?

Application Process

To apply, faculty should submit a 2-3 page concept paper for incorporating Special Collections materials into an existing course, or designing a new course that would include an intellectually central archival or rare books component. Proposals should be accompanied by an endorsement from the department chair.

The deadline for proposals is 5 p.m. CST on Friday, February 26, 2016. Applications should be submitted to Award recipients will be notified on March 15, 2016.

For more information or questions about the application process please contact Agnieszka Czeblakow, Rare Books Librarian.


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