Enthusiastic lecturer wins excellent awards

Sunday, May 03, 2020

Those who know Julian Rodriguez agree that he deserves awards, and now, so does the university administration--a Provost’s Award for Excellence in Teaching.

This teaching award recognizes the invaluable work of the Department of Communication, Rodriquez said. We have successfully created a Hispanic media program that has been graduating Emmy award-winning journalists since 2010. The award especially highlights my work as an educator, one focusing on the advancement of Hispanic media education, journalism and research during times when Latino communities need reliable and impartial information.

Winning a Provost’s Award begins with nominations of faculty members. Supportive teaching materials from the nominees; student statements; evidence of teaching effectiveness; evidence of innovation and professional impact as well as student and colleague’s testimonies are gathered as part of the investigation to determine a recipient. When the evidence was gathered, it provided overwhelming confirmation that Julian Rodriguez deserved the award.

Among his many talents, Rodriguez, a broadcast lecturer, uses his high energy, creative methods and his enthusiastic diligence .to provide opportunities for students to learn the competitive broadcasting communication field. He is responsible for creating UTA’s Hispanic Media Initiative, which was the first of its kind for a Texas university’s Communication Department. It includes development and undergraduate research opportunities as well as media and public partnerships for students interested in Spanish-language media. This has been so successful that it is now part of a course that produces UTA News en Espanol.

Some of the media partnerships he has acquired successfully through this initiative are with Univision, Telemundo, Ford and GM.

…Julian will push the envelope and go where few others have for our students and programs, said Charla Markham Shaw, communication department chair.

An example of this is Rodriquez’s participation in a transnational research project concerning climate change. He traveled with one of his students to Colombia to gather data. On another trip, he accompanied a student to conduct research and interviews in the Amazon and the Cocuy Glacier. Rodriguez plans another trip this year to Antarctica. Activities such as these confirm his commitment to student success and have contributed to another university award for Rodriguez.

Rodriguez’s efforts to provide free resources for students led to a $10,000 CARES grant from UT Arlington. The grant is to fund his OER textbook for students interested in Spanish-language media production. During its pilot semester, this resource saved students from around the world about $12,000. Besides his textbook, he has several publications that include a book chapter and peer-reviewed articles.

I decided to make my textbook an OER because I needed a multimedia platform able to deliver rich content without the burden of cost, Rodriguez said. This OER is the first one of its kind and universities around the nation now will be able to further improve the quality of Hispanic media education. Delivering this content at no cost to the student removes a burden that often prevents education from being accessible and effective. We need this content everywhere and without paywalls. This OER doesn't only reflect my views as the author but the spirit of the UTA Libraries and UT Arlington—for students to have access to world-class education and to succeed academically and professionally.

The CARES grant is sponsored by the UT Arlington Libraries as an effort to support creation of open education resources (OER). These resources will make college more affordable for students. They include textbooks, quizzes, worksheets and videos. Rodriguez joins three other faculty members who are recipients of a CARES grant this semester. CARES is an acronym for Coalition for Alternative Resources.

…Julian Rodriguez regularly, exquisitely and enthusiastically represents UTA, Markham Shaw said. He is a freak of nature in his seemingly endless supply of energy and willingness to bravely try things that few have even imagined.