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Take a Peek... It's Spring at TAMIU

The Spring Semester at Texas A&M International University will bring new courses, events, experiences, and opportunities for students…and members of the community at large. The campus’ resources and environment will also see some changes.

Here’s a guide to this Spring at TAMIU. 

Spring Semester face to face classes begin Monday, Jan. 24. Late Registration continues through Jan. 28, 2022.  To learn more about TAMIU’s Registration processes, visit the dedicated Registration Hub at https://go.tamiu.edu/registration. 

Campus News

Campus Grounds and Facilities Changes Coming

As part of its continued commitment to providing a beautiful space for learning and living the campus life, TAMIU is expanding outdoor seating and study areas. In particular, there will be new seating options for the Sue and Radcliffe Killam Library arcade and the North-South paseo through the campus.

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Based on positive feedback from students, faculty, and staff, the East-West Paseo from the Academic Innovation Center to the intersection of the North-South Paseo will be widened. This circulation expansion provides better connectivity for pedestrian routes while embracing more shaded space for this main circulation route.

Facilities will also be enhanced on the academic/research front with the commissioning of several new research labs for Biology and Petroleum Engineering. These facilities will provide robust resources for faculty and student researchers and their frequent collaborations.

TAMIU CARES Back for Spring

This past year, Texas A&M International University (TAMIU) students were able to tap into over $11.5 million in student support from the federal Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF) appropriations, formerly known as the CARES grant. This Spring 2022, eligible students will be able to benefit from over $7.5 million in student support funding through TAMIU CARES.

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TAMIU president Dr. Pablo Arenaz said the difference the student assistance grant has made is not only measurable but profound.

“The nation’s ongoing response to the COVID-19 Pandemic created burdens on us all, including TAMIU students and their families. The TAMIU CARES assistance made a profound difference, enabling students to continue their degree progress through the intervention provided by these emergency grant monies. Many in our recent Fall ’21 graduating class of over 1000 students were able to complete their degree because of TAMIU CARES assistance. That’s life-changing,” Dr. Arenaz observed.

HEERF student emergency aid grants are used to address any component of the cost of attendance or for emergency costs arising from the Pandemic, such as tuition, food, housing, health care (including mental healthcare), and child care. Eligible students may apply once during each semester they are enrolled. When applying, students are required to attest to their eligible, Pandemic-related needs. Students may elect to use the funding to pay off any outstanding balances owed to the University.

Spring 2022 students at TAMIU who meet selection criteria can begin applying for Spring assistance on Monday, January 10, 2022.

Eligible undergraduate and graduate students can access an online application and additional program information by visiting www.tamiu.edu/cares. Late submissions or re-submissions are not permitted. An informative video is at https://go.tamiu.edu/application-faq.

Also available this Spring at the University is the continuation of TAMIU’s popular TAMIU Books IncludED program, introduced last Fall. It provides degree-seeking students with all required course materials free of charge -- including graduate and online students – on the first day of classes. This innovative program is part of TAMIU’s retention strategy to provide additional academic support systems to help students overcome barriers arising from the Pandemic that may otherwise prevent them from completing their education.

President Arenaz said the TAMIU Books IncludED program was enthusiastically adopted by students.

“Based on student feedback here this Fall, TAMIU students love the convenience and ease in accessing course materials on Day One. This Fall, 8,457 students participated, enjoying savings in excess of $3.7 million, about $438 on average per student. It’s a huge incentive for both students and their parents,” Arenaz noted.

He said the University will also continue to offer its “Be a Champ, Get the Shot” initiative focused on promoting increased vaccination rates. Students who submit proof of vaccination have a chance to win free tuition and fees for the upcoming Spring semester. Other prizes like Dusty Dollars and other gift cards will be awarded throughout the semester. For more information, visit https://go.tamiu.edu/beachamp.

To preview the Spring Semester at TAMIU, visit: https://go.tamiu.edu/springpreview

Spring Semester face to face classes begin Monday, Jan. 24. Late Registration continues through Jan. 28, 2022.  To learn more about TAMIU’s Registration processes, visit the dedicated Registration Hub at https://go.tamiu.edu/registration. 

 

Books IncludED Reduces Student Costs Again

This Spring, TAMIU students have one less cost to worry about…the mounting costs of course textbooks and course materials.

That’s because TAMIU will continue its TAMIU Books IncludED program. Course material costs for this semester will be covered by the University. Enrolled, degree-seeking TAMIU students this Spring, will enjoy access to all required materials in Blackboard on Day One at no cost.

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Based on student feedback here last semester, TAMIU students love the convenience and ease of accessing course materials that Books IncludED offers.

Last semester, 8,457 students participated, enjoying savings over $3.7 million, about $438 on average per student. That’s a savings to keep in mind! More here.

Campus Safety And Wellness

Although the Pandemic will still be with us for Spring 2022, with vaccines and boosters widely available, we are in a much better position than we were a year ago. Still, we must all take personal responsibility and respect and follow the guidelines and restrictions that now affect our daily lives.

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This University is no different from any other campus or community entity responding to the COVID-19 Pandemic. Each of us must resolve to do our part to help protect ourselves, and others. We truly are in this Together.

In addition to on-campus testing, one of the easiest means of mitigating the spread of the virus remains wearing a mask, and everyone is strongly encouraged to wear a mask on campus. Rigorous hand-washing, distancing and avoidance of large crowds should continue. See our dedicated COVID-19 Response Center for additional details including the Student Compact for Students Returning to Campus.

Let’s all make it a great and healthy Spring semester!

Office of Information Technology Offers New User-Friendly Help Desk

Come Spring semester, Texas A&M International University's Office of Information Technology (TAMIU OIT) will introduce a new Help Desk in Dr. Billy F. Cowart Hall, designed to provide an ample, sleek, and user-friendly experience to those on campus.

The OIT Help Desk, currently located in the Sue and Radcliffe Killam Library, will move to its new location on the first floor of the Dr. Billy F. Cowart Hall in February, said Miguel Munoa, TAMIU associate vice president for Information Technology.

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The new Help Desk will feature a spacious waiting area for students, faculty, and staff and addresses the expanded need for services and support, Munoa explained.

"Based on the growing need for services and support, Cowart Hall offered additional space to provide a better overall experience for our students, faculty and staff," he said, "Accessibility to the Help Desk staff and services will improve as the Help Desk will be located on the first floor of Cowart Hall and have a direct entrance from outside of the building."

Instead of a single, continuous walk-up counter, the workstations of the new Help Desk will be distributed throughout the room and spaced out, Munoa said.

"This will allow for better social distancing and a more personalized experience, as well as afford more user privacy," he said.

The workstations will be set at counter height and have ample space, so users can set their devices down and work with Help Desk personnel comfortably to address any issues they may have, Munoa said.

"The Help Desk area will be staffed and stocked with all the tools and resources needed to promptly address, diagnose and remediate most issues our users will need support with," he said, "The space will also incorporate digital signage that will provide faculty and staff timely updates, news, and information."

Shortly after the Help Desk opens, OIT will implement an online check-in and waitlist system which will allow visitors to conveniently schedule appointments through their phone or an iPad, which will be located at the building’s entrance, Munoa said.

"When the faculty member of student arrives, they will see their name and position in line to be serviced," he said, "The organization and layout of the new space were designed to provide an improved customer service experience."

For more information, please contact Munoa at 956.326.2301, email mmunoa@tamiu.edu or visit offices located in the Sue and Radcliffe Killam Library, room 255D.

TAMIU Killam Library Readies for New Year

Texas A&M International University’s (TAMIU) Sue and Radcliffe Killam Library is capping off a successful year of innovative initiatives and is now preparing for a new year with efforts aimed at improving online, user-based library experiences.

This Spring 2022, in line with the focus of open educational resources (OER) at TAMIU, the Killam Library will launch an OER publishing platform called Pressbooks.

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The goal of the platform is to give University faculty the ability to publish OER and to make it shareable to scholars throughout the world, affirmed Killam Library director Ben Rawlins.

“Pressbooks is an OER publishing platform that faculty can utilize to create new OER or adapt existing OER. We are still working on configuring Pressbooks and plan to host a workshop during Open Education Week in March,” said Rawlins.

In 2021, the Killam Library saw the launch of both RIO, an Open Access Repository, and a dedicated OER-based website. Both efforts included increasing access and awareness of OER and promoting Open Access.

Through RIO, University theses and dissertations, faculty publications, white papers, datasets, teaching and learning resources, audio and visual recordings, selected materials from the University’s Special Collections & Archives, an OER was made available.

Individuals can access the repository by visiting https://rio.tamiu.edu/.

The digitized repository underscores the Killam Library’s mission to bring valuable resources to its community through open access.

“Since RIO was launched, we have been highlighting the theses and dissertations from the University’s Graduate School. Our goal next semester is to work with faculty to highlight their scholarship in RIO and make it publicly accessible, as allowed by copyright. We are planning to host some workshops to talk about RIO and show faculty how they upload their publications. There is also a feature within RIO that will allow departments to embed a map of their departmental websites to highlight the scholarship of their faculty. We plan to highlight that in the Spring,” said Rawlins.

OER is freely available teaching and learning materials in the public domain or carries an open license. Students and faculty can explore the Killam Library’s OER webpage for additional information.

The Killam Library’s is also planning to implement an AI chatbot within the landing page of the Killam Library’s website to help facilitate and navigate users who may have additional questions regarding the University’s library.

On the horizon, a new library system named Alma and Primo is set to launch in Summer 2022 and will feature a newly redesigned user interface to improve user experience, explained Rawlins.

“The new system has some features that will make it easier for faculty, staff, and students to find relevant library resources and request materials through interlibrary loan. It is also a much more efficient back-end system that will improve workflows within the Killam Library,” said Rawlins.

Upcoming Events

 

College & School News

College of Arts and Sciences

The College of Arts and Sciences, the University’s largest, provides a wide range of programs, research, and service opportunities that underscore its broad spectrum of specialties.

This Spring, upper-level STEM students have a powerful support ally in the AIRES (Academic and Industry Readiness in Engineering and Science) project, a five-year, $3 million Title V grant funded by the U.S. Department of Education.

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It provides academic support services and career readiness training to upper-level undergraduate students in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) degree programs. Its mission is to assist upper-level STEM students in completing their degrees on time to successfully transition into the workforce upon graduation.

Also, this Spring the School of Engineering will welcome Dr. Anas Blasi, a visiting research scholar for the School of Engineering. He will be conducting collaborative research in the field of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML)with Dr. Tariq Tashtoush, School of Engineering.

The Arts at TAMIU this Spring will celebrate remarkable performance opportunities with the appearance of two ballet companies on campus and the return of the 6th International Mariachi Festival with Mariachi Nuevo Tecalitlán. A long-term 2022 project focuses on an interactive, 3D mosaic mural in downtown Laredo.

The Ballet Nepantla, the professional company of the Edinburg Dance Theatre, will visit campus and perform on March 4, 2022. Ballet Nepantla is described as “fusing contemporary dance with Mexican Folklórico to explore new, interpretative ways of delving into cultural ‘in-between-ness.’ ” Founders Andrea Guajardo and Martin Rodriguez merged their professional identities from distinct genres: classical ballet and contemporary dance and traditional

Mexican folklórico, creating a broader narrative of being Mexican, Mexican American, immigrant and trans-cultural.

The Dallas Black Dance Theatre (DBDT) will perform on campus on April 8, 2022. DBDT, founded in 1976, is the oldest, continuously operating professional dance company in Dallas. The ensemble, a contemporary modern dance company, is comprised of 14 professional, full-time dancers performing a mixed repertory of modern, jazz, ethnic and spiritual works by nationally and internationally-known choreographers. This will be DBDT’s third visit to TAMIU. Previous performances have been electric and popular with audiences of all ages.

Mariachi Nuevo Tecalitlán will return as part of the University’s International Mariachi Festival and perform in concert April 23, 2022. The University’s first artists in residence, they will conduct master classes in addition to their performance and participation in the International Mariachi Festival. Mariachi Nuevo Tecalitlán was founded in 1965 by brothers Fernando Martínez Barajas and Pepe Martínez Barajas, and has toured Europe, Latin America and the U.S. ever since.

The National Endowment for the Arts has funded “The Living Mural,” an innovative grant project being led by grant authors, principals, and Art faculty members Emily Bayless, assistant professor, ceramics, and Josias Figueirido, assistant professor of drawing and painting. The Living Mural elements will include painting, ceramics, tile-making and living, native plants and will be mounted at the historic La Posada Hotel in downtown Laredo.

College of Education

TAMIU’s teaching, research, and service as a Hispanic Serving Institution has a robust 50+ plus year legacy. The College of Education prepares the majority of educators within a 150-mile radius of Laredo.

The state of Texas is currently operating under a declared State of Disaster due to COVID. Texas’ 2021 COVID-related waivers provide Educator Preparation programs, like TAMIU’s with a series of Emergency Waivers to address teacher shortage issues in Texas.

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As part of its commitment to providing dynamic opportunities to grow the College’s teaching mission and passion, this Spring the College will join the Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) Higher Education Program. AVID helps train 85,000 educators annually to better prepare all students for college, careers, and life. AVID partners, like TAMIU, receive professional development, resources, and support.

Through AVID, TAMU will continue to provide students who have shared the COVID-19 Pandemic experience with the support they need to accelerate the ‘unfinished learning’ resulting from the impact of remote learning during preparation courses -- and in the case of Freshman, Sophomore, and Transfer students --the foundation knowledge linked to core courses.

AVID fosters a safe and open culture, high expectations for teachers and students, and collaboration in all classrooms. Faculty complete professional development to improve learning and student success outcomes for at-risk and first-generation learners adversely impacted by COVID learning environments.

In addition, consultants will conduct a curriculum audit to identify areas where enrichment supports for candidates in the areas of Writing, Inquiry, Collaboration, Organization, and Reading could increase candidate success on state certification exams.

TAMIU’s AVID Higher Education program will provide students with the support they need to overcome obstacles, accelerate the ‘unfinished learning’ required to sit and pass the State Certification exams, graduate at higher rates, and help lead the classrooms of the future here and everywhere.

College of Nursing and Health Sciences

Nursing studies at the College have emerged as one of the University’s most popular majors…but in addition to undergraduate degrees including the BSN and RN to BSN completion, the College is also home to expanding Health Sciences offerings in Communication Disorders and Kinesiology.

These include the BS in Communication Disorders, BS with a major in Kinesiology with a concentration in Exercise Science, BS with a major in Kinesiology with a concentration in Health and Fitness, the BS in Kinesiology with a Pre-Physical Therapy/Occupational Therapy program, and the BS in Public Health.

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On the graduate level, there’s great interest in the RN to MSN Nursing Administration online program, the MS in Family Nurse Practitioner program, also online, and the MSN in Nursing Administration.

Current grant programs that provide additional opportunities include the TAMIU-SANE (Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners) Grant focused on providing SANE training for pediatric populations and an exciting new National Institutes of Health grant to the College’s Dr. Brett Nickerson for his research into body composition among Hispanics.

University College

This spring, University College (UC) will continue the rollout of its new First-Year Curriculum with an exciting new Signature Course format.

The new Signature Courses expand on the self-determination skills students learned in UNIV 1201. Featuring problem-based learning and community engagement projects, Signature Courses provide students with further opportunities for developing self-awareness, as well as translating their skills from self-advocating and self-empowering to advocating and empowering others.

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Signature Courses are led by UC faculty with dynamic guest speakers from other colleges, giving students a unique, well-rounded experience and the opportunity to engage with their major’s professor earlier in in their studies. Signature Courses culminate with a Community Engagement Consortium opportunity for students to showcase projects.

Reading the Globe is back! After a one-year hiatus due to the Pandemic, the popular study abroad program is tentatively planned for Maymester 2022. As part of their UNIV 1201 class, students will read Dr. Barbara Hong’s Failing Up, which was set in Singapore.

The application process has been streamlined (https://www.tamiu.edu/uc/map/rtgtrip.shtml) to give equal access to all interested students. Students will create a 10-minute video over winter break and semi-finalists will be interviewed.

About 13-15 students will be selected to travel to Singapore.

The Graduate School

TAMIU’s Graduate School saw enrollment growth of 8.7% this Fall and Dean Dr. Jennifer Coronado says there’s a reason: new and enhanced programs that respond to market needs and student preferences.

“We always strive to provide a graduate experience that not only delivers enhanced career or professional growth, but can do so by being accessible, affordable, and convenient…that can be accelerated through online delivery,” Dr. Coronado said.

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Online programs include the Master of Science in School Counseling and an Alternative Certification Program that can be completed in as few as 12 months with 18 credit hours of study.

Additional depth has been added to the online A. R. Sanchez, Jr. School of Business’ acclaimed Master of Business Administration (MBA) by incorporating special concentrations in Criminal Justice and Healthcare Administration.

For 2022, the Graduate School is also developing additional online graduate programs for the College of Education.

And Don't Forget...

Continuing Education

TAMIU’s Office of Continuing Education (CE) provides opportunities for certificates, test prep, and enrichment through courses offered by learning partners. Courses can offer the chance to start a new career or add new skills to one’s professional toolbox.

CE courses can empower individuals, organizations and communities to enhance careers, lives, and social development and provide quality, value-added, solutions-based programs that fulfill the needs of learners.

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CE also provides youth outreach and education through its Dusty’s Junior University Summer Camp as well as prep/enrichment classes for students. OCE also shares knowledge and resources to support pre-K–12 students across Texas.

For more information, contact Susan Foster, director, at mary.foster@tamiu.edu or call 956.326.2765.

The Julieta and Frank Staggs Academy of International and STEM Studies

The Staggs Academy provides a rigorous program for highly motivated high school students to take University classes starting their junior year. The Academy offers free tuition, fees, books, and a supportive staff to help guide students through the University process.

Information sessions for Fall 2022 are scheduled for January 25, 2022, February 23, 2022 and March 23, 2022. All sessions are at 6 p.m. in the Senator Judith Zaffirini Student Success Center, room 101.

For more, visit www.tamiu.edu/coas/theacademy/ phone 956.326.2860, or email academy@tamiu.edu

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