Current Initiatives

Engaged Scholarship and Service Learning for Social Justice Transformation

Consider topics related to racism, religious bias, local inequities, human trafficking, sexism or sustainability.


Stories of Truth and Transformation

Compassion, Civic Engagement, Teaching Social Justice

Watch films from the city-wide institute of listening, sharing and acting related to San Antonio as a “City of Compassion.” This is on-going support for good teaching, learning and transformation:

"Humanity in Black and White: Photography of the Homeless and Black Lives Matter" by Alejandro Abarca

Born in Corpus Christi, raised in San Antonio, Alejandro Abarca's photography shows the injustice within America and uses photography to bring awareness to those afflicted by systematic injustice, as well as those suffering across the world. He says, “My photography conveys a pang of societal guilt. This guilt I hope to spread through contagion. The homeless, a class unspoken for, neglected, and unheard. Black Lives Matter, a movement seeking change in the face of relentless opposition. These are the subjects of my work. They inspire reflection in me, as I hope they do in you.”

Opening Reception: Fri., Sept. 10, 2021 from 6 - 8 p.m. Exhibit on display: Monday Aug. 30 – Thursday Sept. 30, 2021. Kelso Art Center/Semmes Gallery, Phone (210) 829-3852. (Broadway and Hildebrand on campus) Gallery hours: 10 a.m.- 5 p.m. Monday through Friday (except UIW holidays)

IMAGO DEI: How do we learn to recognize the face of God?

Thursday, Sept. 16, 2021 at 5:15 p.m.

In the exhibit "Humanity in Black and White: Photography of the Homeless and Black Lives Matter" a conversation between students, faculty and friends who have moved among the unsheltered and the vulnerable. Alejandro Abarca and Kathy Vargas, Photography; Dr. Hans Bruntmyer with students and faculty from the UIW School of Osteopathic Medicine involved with Street Medicine; Sister Martha Ann Kirk, Religious Studies; Dr. John Kainer and Dr. Sean Vina, Sociology; Dr. Mark Boston, Compassionate Citizen. Conversation led by Dr. Arturo Chavez, Associate Vice-President for Mission and Ministry, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, with the Ettling Center for Civic Leadership and Sustainability.

"Humanity in Black and White” with Alejandro Abarca and “Building Solidarity” with the Social Justice Leadership Class

Friday, Sept. 24, 2021 at 10:30 a.m.
Kelso Art Center

See the exhibit, "Humanity in Black and White: Photography of the Homeless and Black Lives Matter"  and join in conversation with the creator Alejandro Abarca. (Or look at his work with homeless persons and with “Black Lives Matter.”) At 11:15 a.m. via zoom, learn from the Social Justice Leadership class “Building Solidarity” with our unsheltered sisters and brothers and gathering resources for them.

This student program is a part of the international movement Campaign Nonviolence.

Sign up for Humanity in Black and White

Acclaimed Community Artist, Creator of the Arbol de la Vida, Margarita Cabrera

Friday, Oct. 8, 2021 at 9 a.m. 

Margarita Cabrera is known for building community through inviting stories that develop into art. The World Heritage Festival featured her Arbol de la Vida at Mission Espada. She will speak on the Space in Between. People in other cities have gathered to reflect on stories of immigrants and refugees there. She is inviting us to further this art project in San Antonio. What are the stories related to San Antonio? As we listen to stories, we create the art out of fabric (recycling the uniforms of Border Patrol Agents) and we create relationships.

Sign Up for the Space In Between


Service learning can be good for students, teachers and for the world.

Right now, many traditional service activities are impossible, but service is more than physical labor in a place. Service can be done through education, research, or advocacy. 

Service through advocacy

Communicate with a local, state, national, and international leader. Influence the general population through writing an article, letters to the editor and social media.

Service through education

Clarify the outcomes (build relationships and solidarity, lessen overt bias, move towards equity, shift negative behaviors to positive energy, compassion and empathetic accountability), define the group (elementary, high school, young adult, general population, elders), the method (engage with a group virtually, write stories or learning modules, make films, or other ways) and the assessment (how do we know we have been successful).

Service through research

Situations cannot be improved until challenges are well defined. Methods of improvement need to be tracked and accessed. Many disciplines contribute to sound research. Learn entrances to research, accountability and goal setting through the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals, SA2020 Goals, and Compassionate San Antonio.

Start a conversation to reflect on your classes here.


Ettling Center for Civic Leadership and Sustainability: A Virtual Open House on Service Learning

Friday, Jan. 8, 2021, 11:30 a.m. - 1:30 p.m.

On the hour and half-hour, attend 10-minute presentations on the basics of service-learning, talk with the ECCLS staff and meet a new Program Assistant for Service Learning, Alyssa Kennedy, MA. Consider virtual opportunities that involve education, research or advocacy. There will be time for questions and raffle prizes! Click here if you want to start thinking about service learning now or you cannot attend this Jan. 8 event.

Muslims and Christians Together Creating the Beloved Community: Transforming Racism Through Understanding and Uniting in Compassionate Service

Friday, Jan. 15, 2021, 9 - 10:30 a.m.

This panel, featuring religious leaders from both the Muslim and Christian traditions, is an official San Antonio DreamWeek event. After the panel, those attending may join teams which will select research, education and/or advocacy projects to help dismantle prejudice for groups of various ages. Register to be part of the service teams. During February, the teams will work on the virtual service projects. The Showcase Sharing of what was learned will be held on Friday, March 26, 2021 at 9 - 10:30 a.m.

Critical Thinking, Compassion, Civic Engagement

Monday, Jan. 25, 2021, 3:30 - 5 p.m.

As we continue to explore “Pedagogies for social justice” including service learning, participate in a conversation with educators from the classroom and civic engagement centers from around the city including Arturo Chavez, Sandy Guzman-Foster, Dhawn Martin and Ann Helmke.

Learn more about the Jan. 25 event

SA2020 LogoSan Antonio 2020 (SA2020): A Shared Vision

Friday, Jan. 29, 2021, 11 a.m.

SA2020 seeks to unify progress towards a shared vision of a thriving San Antonio. They report on progress, inform and activate the public, and align efforts towards the community’s goals.

Before joining the city-wide group, participate in the Social Justice Leadership class held on January 29 and consider the significance of SA2020.

In 2010, nearly 6,000 San Antonians came together to create a shared vision for the future of the city. Ten years later, amid a global public health crisis, more than 12,000 San Antonians have reaffirmed and strengthened the shared vision for another decade. A shared Community Vision is important — both for what it says, and for what it pushes us to accomplish together. SA2020 will celebrate 10 years of collective work by releasing the 2020 Community Impact Report on the last ten years, by unveiling the reaffirmed and strengthened Community Vision through the year 2030, an updated online dashboard to track progress for San Antonio’s next ten years. All-day, SA2020 will host “The Collective,” a series of workshops, artist talks, and hands-on activities led by San Antonians designed to inspire community-driven action. Visit to learn more. The UIW SA2020 Ambassadors are Dr. Tracie Edmonds,, and Sr. Martha Ann Kirk, Th.D., (210) 883-5934.

Engaged Scholarship: Blending Service with Scholarship

Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2021, 2 - 3 p.m.

The term engaged scholarship originates with Ernest Boyer, renowned for his work envisioning faculty work in creative ways. For Boyer, this type of scholarship involves the orientation toward our work, one that directs attention toward current community needs as well as the more traditional interests of the academy. Hear about approaches to engaged scholarship from UIW colleagues Teri Lopez and Alfredo Ortiz.

Black History Month: Student Research Showcase: A virtual gathering and exhibit of UIW student work related to Black history and heritage

Thursday, Feb. 11, 2021, 1:30 - 3:30 p.m.

View information on submitting proposals by Feb. 2, 2021 and service learning credit for educating others. Among the presenters will be LaShori Lanier sharing The Murder of Molly Smith, her ancestor who was lynched, a project in Margaret Mitchell’s Theatre for Social Change class. Presenters from Dr. LuElla D'Amico's American Women's Writers and Popular Culture class will share on Phillis Wheatley and Honorée Fannone Jeffers.

Inequity in San Antonio Revealed in West Side Murals

Friday, Feb. 19, 2021, 9 - 10:30 a.m.

Several San Antonio murals depicting inequity.

Take a video virtual tour delighting in the beauty and analyzing the iniquities in health and education, the humanity of immigrants and the call to sustainability, the gang violence and domestic violence. Join in conversation with Sister Martha Ann Kirk who lives amid the murals. Discuss and work in teams doing education, advocacy, or research.

Immigrants and Refugees: Learning, Teaching, and Serving

Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2021, 6 p.m.

Join a three-part series sponsored by the Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word, “Globalizing compassion, cooperation, and solidarity.” Webinar 1: “A Heart Open to the Whole World” – Fratelli Tutti (Chapter 4), February 24, 6 p.m. with Archbishop Gustavo Siller, Sister Tere Maya, CCVI and others. Future webinars will be “Human Dignity Knows No Borders,” and “Relief at Your Hands.” Details coming soon.

As educators in Catholic institutions, what do we need to know, what should we teach, and how could we serve in solidarity? Learn about educational programs, resources and service opportunities. The Incarnate Word Sisters invite all to compassionate action. To participate, contact Sister Adriana Calzada, CCVI, at

Interior shot of UIW Chapel with photos of immigrant children on tripods.

Pictured above: faces of immigrant children who died in US Detention Centers were displayed in the Chapel of the Incarnate Word for local prayer in solidarity with a national plea “End the Inhumanity.” Read more about  CCVIs Participate in Catholic Day of Action for Migrant Children.

Friday, Feb. 26, 2021, 9 - 10 p.m.

San Antonio Community Resource DirectoryLearn to be an investigator from Billy Neely, founder of SACRD, who works to connect resources and those in need and of, the network of 900 compassionate groups working together, and help the network grow. Also, learn of UIW Spanish faculty, Dr. Amalia Mondriguez, Dr. Gabriel Saxton-Ruiz, Dr. Michael Tallon, and students serving thousands by translating text. Computer training is an ongoing opportunity. Learn with the Social Justice Leaders class on Friday morning, Feb. 26, 9 - 10 a.m. Contact ECCLS Service Learning Assistant, Alyssa Kennedy, at

March Women’s History Month: A Showcase on Human Trafficking - Women Are Victimized


Originally scheduled for: Monday, March 15, 2021, 10 a.m. - 5:30 p.m.

A showcase to learn from the National Executive Director of Sisters Against Human Trafficking on how to do online advocacy, education and research against trafficking. Attend a presentation of a successful service-learning project around human trafficking which has been done and published by graduate Nursing students and faculty, “Implementation of a Human Trafficking Screening Protocol,” in the Journal for Nurse Practitioners. Other presentations will be provided by Theatre for Social Change students. Information for students, staff, or faculty to submit proposals to present by March 3, 2021.

Globalizing Compassion, Cooperation, and Solidarity

March 17, 2021, 6 - 7:30 p.m. 

Part II of this three-part webinar entitled "Human Dignity, Knows No Borders" will focus on immigration and the events that are happening on the Texas/Mexico International border. This dynamic trio panel discussion will elaborate on current events, the legal jargon and journey, and what we can do as an advocate and global citizen. The Sisters of Charity of The Incarnate Word invite faculty and students to be apart of this event. Faculty, students may sign up on "give pulse" for the opportunity to earn service-learning credit hours. 

The event will be moderated by Dr. Arturo Chavez, UIW Associate VP/DEI, Mission, and Ministry.

Call for Proposals 

March 25, 2021 Submission Deadline 12 p.m.

The EcoExchangeEdu’s 6th Sustainability Showcase will take place on Tuesday, April 20, and Wednesday, April 21, 2021. 

Through a year shaped by the global COVID pandemic, San Antonio’s institutions of higher education have remained committed to making their own campuses more sustainable and to preparing students for the challenges of the 21st century. EcoExchangeEdu, San Antonio’s inter‐campus sustainability organization, is proud to bring attention to our instructions’ commitment by offering its 6th Annual Sustainability Showcase in a virtual format. EcoExchangeEdu invites students, faculty, and staff from area colleges and universities to submit videos highlighting sustainability initiatives at their institutions. EcoExchangeEdu peculiarly encourages submissions that connect to one or more of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, which serve as a framework shaping sustainable development ( Video submissions may follow any format, including (but not limited to) formal presentations, performance art, fine art, prototype demonstrations, public service announcements, and mini‐documentaries. Video submissions should fit one of two categories: Short Video (60 seconds or less) or Full Video (1–5 minutes). Videos should be submitted as files (.mp4, .wmv, or .mov) rather than links.

Submissions will undergo a review process, with presenters notified no later than two weeks prior to the event. Accepted submissions will be screened during a showcase session or made available on demand during the showcase.

Proposal Submission Page


Contact us at

UIW Research Week 2021 and the Service Learning Showcase

April 12-16, 2021

Let’s “showcase” your good work! Let the light of your engaged scholarship shine! The UIW Research Week 2021: Inclusive Inquiry will be held April 12-16. Call for abstracts before January 25, 2021. Both faculty and students are invited to submit here. Or view presentations from previous years.

Showcase Submit Page

April Earth Month: Student Showcase on Compassion Tree Projects and Other Sustainability Efforts

Friday, April 16, 2021, 9 - 11 a.m.

Planting trees is a way of combating climate change. Research the beauty, symbolism and value of trees. Plant some trees. Information on sustainability projects and submitting proposals to present by April 4, 2021.

Register for the April 16 event

Looking Forward: Exploring Service Learning Options for Next fall

Friday, April 16, 2021, 11:30 a.m. - 1:30 p.m.

This session features ten-minute presentations on the basics of service-learning (offered on the hour and half-hour), as well as an opportunity to explore UIW’s existing partnerships with community agencies. Drop into the session when it’s convenient, and consider opportunities for adding service learning to a course in next Fall. More details coming soon.

View the UIW Places for Service page to see some of our community partners over the years.

GivePulse: A Useful or a Useless Tool for Helping to Form “Social Justice Leaders and Engaged and Enlightened Citizens"?

GivePulse is a system that students use. In the process of getting mechanical systems to track student's activity, has the critical part of tracking student's learning been weakened or blocked? A school may be tracking how many hours a child has been in the building, but is the school finding out if the child can read and staying in a process of supporting the teachers as needed.

Is GivePulse, an online system that students have and use, a useful or a useless tool towards developing social justice leaders? How could we make the system useful for the learning outcomes in our classes. How can we use the GivePulse feature of connecting all with the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals? How can a teacher “see into GivePulse” if students are learning and what they are learning? How can a teacher initiate a GivePulse posting for a class? How can a teacher find GivePulse postings relevant for classes?

Join a conversation with Sandy Guzman Foster, Ben Miele, LuElla D’Amico, Gabriel Saxton Ruiz, and others reflecting with Yesenia Caloca, Alysssa Kennedy, and Sr. Martha Ann Kirk who have been piloting Give Pulse in the class “Social Justice Leadership.” Consider if GivePulse might help all in UIW Core Educational Outcomes of social justice, critical thinking, integration and spirituality.  Click here if you want to start the conversation now considering the service learning in your class?

View a selection of videos introducing GivePulse.

Interfaith Youth Core

Interfaith Projects generously funded by the Interfaith Youth Core are enriching UIW and the city and building bridges. Be “interfaith literate” and learn about our upcoming Interfaith events, including virtual ones. 

A Guide to Service Trips

What is some of the research on service trips? What have we been learning in service trips in the last four decades? What can we spell out to guide us into the future? What are reasonable goals, educational outcomes, reflection and assessment? Consider some answers to these questions and more at a conversation led by Sr. Martha Ann Kirk who has been asked to compile a UIW Guide to service trips and experienced faculty and emerging doctoral students. Please write if you would like to help select the date and time at

The Edward Zlotkowski Faculty Service Learning Award

The Edward Zlotkowski Faculty Service Learning Award recognizes a faculty member for innovations in engaged scholarship that integrate service into the curriculum and for efforts to institutionalize service-learning in his/her discipline, school, college or university. Nominations are due March 20, 2021. The award presentation is at the April Faculty Appreciation event. Learn more about the Edward Zlotkowski Faculty Service Learning Award


San Antonio Compassionate Institute

Compassionate SA - San Antonio's Faith-Based Initiative Logo

Compassionate Integrity Training (CIT)

Continuing to further San Antonio as a City of Compassion, the SA Compassionate Institute 2020, which garnered representation from 85% of San Antonio’s institutions of education, continues into 2021 with the first Compassionate Integrity Training. This training will be offered in January and continue weekly for the 10-session virtual series from the Center for Compassion, Integrity, and Secular Ethics led by San Antonio facilitators.

Compassion for Self, Compassion for Others, Compassion in Systems

Charter for Compassion Logo

Mayor Ron Nirenberg and the San Antonio City Council via City Resolution have partnered globally with the Charter for Compassion and 450 other Compassionate Cities. The 2017 Compassionate SA Resolution encourages us as residents and educators to “have all ages explore and teach compassion, based on the understanding that extensive research and resources validate the full spectrum of the benefits of compassion, from the bottom line of business to being a part of the human DNA.”

See a short film of how Compassion is growing in SA. Read a description of the CIT program with weekly 2 hour sessions. The course materials, manual and resources to reflect on during the week are available online. Those who successfully complete the training will receive a certificate.

Thirteen months ago, the center had a goal of having 50 more US educators trained and 50 outside of the US. Because people are finding this useful, there are now 626 trained educators in 74 different countries.  The team of local facilitators will be led by Sandy Guzman-Foster, Ph.D. and Martha Ann Kirk, Th.D. View CIT facilitator profiles.

Complete the 2021 CIT Program inquiry form

Compassion Tree Project

Charter for Compassion Environment LogoAs a Service Learning Project that could be related to your class learning outcomes and will be done individually by students and families, participate in the global Compassion Tree Project. Teach the significance of trees and the beauty of trees. In the face of climate change, trees can make a crucial difference. Plant trees for oxygen helping to re-green the earth. Learn more about the Compassion Tree Project movement on the UIW campus and the UIW partnership with San Antonio Parks and Recreation locally. See our President, Dr. Thomas Evans and his family planting, along with our students and city mayor.

How many trees could you and your students pick up off campus individually and adopt? What is the cost? Your promise to care for each sapling you adopt, to cherish God’s creation, tenderly care for it, and to be a life-long learner and lover of trees. View tree planting initiatives on the City of San Antonio website. To help initiate tree adoption, contact the ECCLS Service Learning Assistant, Alyssa Kennedy, at