New Grant Funds from the Wabash Center for “Critical Thinking, Compassion, and Paths to Civic Engagement” Workshops

All San Antonio university and college educators invited to participate in virtual workshops

A grant from the Wabash Center for Pedagogies for Social Justice and Civic Engagement was awarded to Sr. Martha Ann Kirk, Th.D., Dr. Sandra Guzman-Foster, Associate Professor in UIW’s Dreeben School of Education and Sister Theophane Power Endowed Chair in Education and Dr. Dhawn Martin, executive director of the Sol Center, for their project “Critical Thinking, Compassion, and Paths to Civic Engagement.” The project includes a day-long virtual workshop August 11 and a half-day workshop in December, for all San Antonio university and college educators to learn more about teaching strategies and approaches. Dr. Arturo Chavez, president of the Mexican American Catholic College, will share in the opening workshop. For those unable to attend August 11, a recording will be posted here and Kirk, Guzman-Foster, and Martin will share and answer questions about inter-active content Saturday, Aug. 15, 9 to 10 am  and, Friday, Aug. 28, 3 to 4. Register for this.

San Antonio was committed to be a “City of Compassion” within the Charter for Compassion movement by a City Council Resolution in 2017. “This pilot grant stands with the city-wide effort to have compassion education for all levels and to truly live our title as a ‘City of Compassion,’” says Guzman-Foster. “The grant will provide mentoring for San Antonio educators to grow in pedagogical skills all year and document that progress as a pilot study of best practices.”

Compassionate SA LogoThe workshop is in collaboration with the inaugural San Antonio Compassionate Institute 2020, a citywide initiative and workshop series for K-12 teachers and college and university-level educators. Invited by San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg, all of the city colleges and universities, and 85% of the school districts, selected representatives based on their previous work in equity, diversity and compassion, commitment to their community, leadership skills and character who participated.  Listen to the press conference with Mayor Nirenberg and participants affirming the value of this intensive five-week institute and encouraging further efforts. Guzman-Foster, Kirk and Martin are among the Compassionate Institute’s organizers.

“San Antonio has the dubious distinction of the highest percentage of people living in poverty among the 25 largest U.S. cities and of being one of the most economically segregated cities with huge gaps in neighborhoods, education, job opportunities, housing and medical care availability,” said Kirk, a Sister of Charity of the Incarnate Word, founders of UIW. “Since 1718, students have learned about the divine, but they have not always been guided to recognize their neighbors as created in the image of the divine and have not been guided to unite for equity for others.”

These efforts are in keeping with the Mission of the University of the Incarnate Word to help students become the concerned and enlightened citizens that the world needs now more than ever. The workshop empowers educators outside the UIW system to shape their students in a similar manner by stressing the significance of active compassion and its implications.

Girls of St. Joseph’s Orphanage, 1885
“Girls of St. Joseph’s Orphanage, 1885.” After about 10% of the population of San Antonio had died of plagues in the 1800’s, Mayor Wilhelm C.A. Thielepape begged for assistance and the first Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word came. Soon the community urgently needed help for the many orphans. (Photo from the archives of the Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word)

In the workshop, faculty will learn methods to teach critical thinking, to guide students in strategies of sight, strategies of “empathetic accountability,” and effective compassionate agency. A small group of Religious Studies teachers will be in a cohort all year to explore teaching strategies. Kirk, Guzman-Foster and Martin will guide reflection and evaluation and gather what has been successful as a pilot project.


Event Information: 

Critical Thinking, Compassion, and Paths to Civic Engagement

Tuesday, Aug. 11, 2020, 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.

A free, virtual workshop for all San Antonio university and college educators. Faculty will learn methods to teach critical thinking, to guide students in strategies of sight, strategies of “empathetic accountability,” and effective compassionate agency.

Keynote speakers Chavez, Guzman-Foster, Kirk and Martin

Keynote speakers: Arturo Chavez, Ph.D., president of the Mexican American Catholic College, and grant leaders Sandra Guzman Foster, Ph.D., UIW associate professor, and  Sr. Martha Ann Kirk, Th.D, and Dhawn Martin, Ph.D., SoL Center, University Presbyterian Church.

Online Registration Required