The Word: UIW Community Newsletter - November 6, 2020


Welcome Home, Alumni!

UIW President Dr. Thomas M. Evans, welcomes our alumni back to the "virtual" nest for Homecoming 2020!

There's still time to join us for our remaining festivities. Remember, home isn't a place. Home is our UIW family!

See remaining events


Nursing Achieves 100% NCLEX Exam Passing Rate

Three nursing students in masks stand together

Congratulations are in order for the Ila Faye Miller School of Nursing faculty and 2020 graduates on their 100% passing rate on the NCLEX exam. The NCLEX exam is the national licensure exam for employment for nurses in the United States, Canada, and Australia. According to the Texas Board of Nursing, the national passing rate is 88.07% and the passing rate for Texas is 91.90%. 

Dreeben Faculty Present Work at State and National Conferences

A headshot of Dr. Deepti KharodDr. Deepti Kharod, assistant professor of Teacher Education at the Dreeben School of Education, presented “Play and Nature in Times of Stress” at the 2020 Texas Association for the Education of Young Children (TXAEYC) 56th Annual Conference on Oct. 13 with co-presenters Dr. John A. Sutterby, associate professor at UTSA, and Linda Charlton, nature school lead educator of Cibolo Nature School.  

The annual TXAEYC conference brings together teachers, faculty, and students across Texas to learn about the latest early childhood education research and trends. The theme this year was “Diversity in Action: The Power of the Multicultural Community.” 

“According to Frost & Sutterby (2017), nature-based and outdoor play are critical for young children’s growth and development across all domains,” said Dr. Kharod. “This presentation focused on the benefits of risky play (including emotional and physical risk taking) and sensory play (water, mud, shaving cream, and even sunshine).”  

“Participants learned about play in a nature preschool and family gardening program. Presenters shared research and resources with educators to develop and support their own nature-based learning opportunities and to share information with parents,” she said.  

Dr. Kharod’s teaching focuses on early childhood and elementary education. Her research involves young children’s relationships with nature including the role of play and caring. Dr. Kharod serves as co-editor of Early Years, the official journal of TXAEYC. She also serves as the UIW chapter counselor for Kappa Delta Pi, an international education honor society. Prior to teaching pre-service teachers, Dr. Kharod taught elementary students for 10 years in San Antonio. 

A headshot of Dr. Arthur HernandezDr. Arthur E. Hernández, professor of Education at the Dreeben School of Education, presented “A Discussion of the Meaning of and Differences Between Trait, State and Emergent Diversity: Implications for Practice” at Eval20 Reimagined: A Virtual Experience, an annual conference of the American Evaluation Association held on Oct. 27. 

The American Evaluation Association is an international association of approximately 7,300 members dedicated to the application and exploration of program evaluation, personnel evaluation, technology and other forms of evaluation. 

“I wanted people to take away from my session the importance of examining the literature for guidance regarding diversity focused activities and recognizing and accounting for trait, state and emergent diversity considerations in planning, implementation and evaluation,” Dr. Hernández explained.  “This session reflects the consensus that key mediators exist which influence the diversity-performance relationship which in turn are subject to key moderating influences,” he said. “However, in practice most activities related to the diversity of teams seems to conflate or ignore the distinction between stable diversity attributes and compositional variables and does not begin to consider the dynamic relationship between diversity and teams over time.” 

Dr. Hernández is a nationally certified school psychologist and counselor, a diplomat of the American Board of Psychological Specialties and is a licensed psychologist, and licensed specialist in school psychology. He currently serves on the Joint Committee on Standards for Educational Evaluation, a Canadian/American standards organization which represents a coalition of major professional organizations. Dr. Hernández has and continues to contribute to funded research, service and teaching projects as principal investigator, co-investigator, evaluator or consultant. 

English Faculty Poetry Published

A headshot of Dr. Joshua RobbinsDr. Joshua Robbins, associate professor of English, was recently published in Contra: Texas Poets Speak Out and in a running exhibit of Robert Indiana's work at the McNay Art Museum. 

Poetry, like any other form of artistic creation, is one of the pillars of the humanities. By following the paths of emotion, sensitivity and the imagination, the poem transmits knowledge and human values and shapes the human being, body and soul. 

Contra: Texas Poets Speak Out is a collection of poems from Texas writers including current San Antonio Poet Laureate Andrea “Vocab” Sanderson and Octavio Quintanilla, a previous poet laureate. The contributing works speak to our current times, the fears many people are facing, justice being fought for on the streets, and a commitment to pro-democracy. The collection is a publication of Flower Song Press, a publisher that describe themselves as Literary, Lyrical, Boundless, and welcoming of "allies that understand and join in the voice of people of color and our struggle, truth, and hope."

As part of the project, Dr. Robbins also participated in a public reading and benefit for MOVE Texas, a non-partisan, nonprofit, grassroots voter registration organization on Oct. 2.

In addition, Robbins' poem, The Electric Cat, was selected as part of the McNay Art Museum exhibit, Robert Indiana: A Legacy of Love. The exhibit will run through Jan. 24, 2021. The combination of visual art and poetry breathes life into the respective mediums and propels visual art into an active experience for the gallery visitor, transforming the gallery into a place of active looking and listening. The combination also provides an opportunity to focus on a particular work, but also to see that work from different perspectives and think about it in new ways. 

Robert Indiana, one of the preeminent figures in American art since the 1960s, played a central role in the development of assemblage art, hard-edge painting, and Pop art. A self-proclaimed “American painter of signs,” Indiana created a highly original body of work that explores American identity, personal history, and the power of abstraction and language, establishing an important legacy that resonates in the work of many contemporary artists who make the written word a central element of their oeuvre.

Dr. Roger Barnes Named Distinguished Alumnus

A headshot of Dr. Roger BarnesDr. Roger Barnes, chair and professor of Sociology, was recognized as the Distinguished Alumnus for 2021 by Dodge City Community College in Dodge City, Kansas. Dr. Barnes graduated with his A.A. degree in 1971 before going on to the University of Kansas to complete his baccalaureate and graduate work.  

Dr. Barnes will provide the commencement address in May 2021 for Dodge City Community College. 

Physical Therapy Faculty Member Co-Authors Manuscript

A headshot of Dr. Stephen GoffarDr. Stephen Goffar, UIW School of Physical Therapy associate dean for Academic Affairs, recently co-authored a manuscript for publication entitled, Identification of Risk Factors Prospectively Associated with Musculoskeletal Injury in a Warrior Athlete Population. The focus of the manuscript is to understand risk factors to predict injury and therefore create individualized injury reduction therapy programs. One of the co-authors, Dr. Scott Shaffer, will join the UIW Physical Therapy faculty in January 2021.

SMSE Invites UIW Community to TEI Conservation Seminar

Children pet an elephantDr. Carlos Garcia, dean of the School of Mathematics, Science and Engineering, invites the UIW community to Think Elephants International – Education’s Contribution to Conservation, a seminar presented by Dr. Jennifer Pokorny. Dr. Jen Pokorny is Chief Programs Officer for Think Elephants International (TEI), a non-profit focused on the conservation of Asian elephants through research and education. Since 2010, TEI has been running education programs to bring conservation, biology, and scientific research directly to students, and has also conducted research with Asian elephants, primarily in Thailand. In this talk, Pokorny will provide an overview of the organization, addressing how animal behavior research can be applied to conservation and why education is a critical component of conservation efforts. In Thailand, human-elephant conflict is one of the main causes of the declining Asian elephant population. TEI’s curriculum aims to educate students on issues surrounding elephant conservation, peak an interest in research, and inspire them to develop novel ways to mitigate human-elephant conflict through interactive and hands-on activities. To date, over 500 children in Thailand and 100 children in the US have participated in the program. Pokorny will talk about the design of the education program, how TEI assesses the efficacy of the program and what they have found thus far, and how TEI has facilitated students collaborating on research projects with scientists.  

The seminar will be presented via Zoom at 3 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 12. Contact Yvonne Burns at for Zoom information. 

Mission & Ministry

Alumni Memorial Liturgy of the Word

Two women visit a burial site

University Mission and Ministry and the UIW Department of Alumni & Parent Relations invite you to attend our weekly Sunday Morning Prayer on Nov. 8 at 11 a.m. (left, 2019 Alumni Memorial Mass archive photo). This week's service we will also be celebrating the close of Homecoming weekend. This has been an honored tradition of recognizing the 50th Reunion Class and remembering those who have gone before us.

While we cannot gather in person to celebrate the Sunday Eucharist in Our Lady’s Chapel or the Chapel of the Incarnate Word, we can gather virtually and unite our prayers of petition during this celebration of the Liturgy of the Word as we pray with the scriptures for the 32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time and remember those who have touched our lives over the years. There were wonderful bonds created and these memories are what make "coming home" such a special part of how our university family celebrates together - alumni, future alumni, faculty, staff, Sisters, parents, and friends of UIW.

The service will be held on Zoom. The platform will open at 10:45 a.m. for an opportunity to greet one another before prayer. For more information, please email 

Register here

Community News

34th Annual Light the Way: Holiday Drive Edition

UIW Light the Way Holiday Drive image with logo

Celebrate the 34th Annual Light the Way, presented by H-E-B, from the comfort of your own sleigh (vehicle) this year! Light the Way is coming to you in a safe, socially distant format. You'll be able to enjoy a night under a million twinkling lights at the beautiful University of the Incarnate Word campus in a new, drive-thru experience.

This year's Light the Way experience will include a tour of the UIW campus, performances by UIW students, event activations along the route and a chance to see our special guests Red the Cardinal and Santa Claus!

The Light the Way Holiday Drive will be offered Nov. 20, 21 and 22 from 6 - 9 p.m. Admission is free, but ticket reservations are required. Tickets are available now. 

If you miss the celebration, we invite you to visit our campus from your vehicles starting Monday, Nov. 23 to enjoy the lights that will remain lit every evening through Jan. 6, 2021.

Reserve your ticket

UIW Behavioral Health Services Resources

A headshot of Dr. Christie MelonsonThis year has been challenging, but UIW Behavioral Health Services is available to help students take care of their mental health. We'll be sharing some tips and resources with students and community members from UIW Behavioral Health Services over the next few weeks. Today, we focus on the services available to students. 

Dr. Christie Melonson, director of counseling, discusses some of the resources UIW students will find at Behavioral Health Services. 

"Our counselors focus on students’ strengths and resources and help them in creative ways to reach their personal goals. Counseling is a collaborative relationship where students have a safe space to express their emotions, learn about themselves, modify their outlook on things to become calmer and more confident, and to build skills that will help them be successful in the university setting and in their personal lives. We do not diagnose students to reduce stigma. We always look at the whole person when working with students. We focus on helping students to reach their goals and ultimately building resiliency and providing them with tools they can take wherever they go in life."

Learn more about UIW Behavioral Health Services

Veterans Day Ceremony

a group of people helping each other up a mountain at sunsetOn Wednesday, Nov. 11, the UIW community will honor our nation’s veterans with a virtual Veterans Day Ceremony. The ceremony will be available for streaming at noon at UIW's Veteran's Day site. All are welcome to tune in!

In the News

San Antonio Business Journal: UIW kicks off $5M modernization of historic Dubuis Residence Hall

A rendering of the exterior of Dubuis Residence Hall"The University of the Incarnate Word has begun work on an approximately $5 million project to modernize a historic residence hall.

The renovation of Dubuis Residence Hall on UIW's Broadway main campus will retain the building's gothic style but infuse modern features that will "rival or surpass" those of its newest halls, Dr. Rafael Hoyle, associate vice president of planning and campus management, told the Business Journal.

'The building’s beautiful gothic style will continue to project a reverence for our tradition and history, while its new elements will reflect the forward thinking that started with the founders and thrives today in our intellectual tradition,' Hoyle said in a statement."

Read the full article


UIW Presents at 34th Annual HACU Conference

A group of people pose for a group photo

(Archive photo from previous service project sponsored by the Ettling Center)

Dr. Ricardo Gonzalez and Yesenia Caloca from the Ettling Center for Civic Leadership and Sustainability, Dr. Russell Coates from the UIW Rosenberg School of Optometry, Ramona Casas from ARISE Adelante, and Tiffani Carrasco from Remote Area Medical (RAM) presented on “Developing Student Leadership Through Service: South Texas Border Experience” at the virtual 34th Annual HACU Conference on Oct. 28. The theme for this year’s conference was Championing Hispanic Higher Education Success: Fostering Excellence and Social Justice.  

Since 2015, the University of the Incarnate Word has conducted education and health service missions to support the ARISE “colonia” community of McAllen/Pharr, Texas. These annual missions have been able to assist over 1,590 school-aged children in providing a summer STEM camp and over 1,300 residents with full eye examinations and health checks. 

Cardinal Corner

Cardinals Enjoy Fall Festivities

Two students carve pumpkinsUIW Campus Engagement has been hard at work providing fun, safe fall activities for our Cardinals. In just the last several weeks, students have been treated to pumpkin patch activities, outdoor movie screenings, an Oktoberfest celebration and more. Students interested in engaging in campus life can log in to UIW Engage via Cardinal Apps to see upcoming student events.

Alumni and Parent Relations

Veteran's Day Car Parade

The U.S. flag over an image of a standing soldierJoin us in honoring our U.S. military veterans on Wednesday, Nov. 11 at 1 p.m. for a Veterans Day Car Parade through the Broadway campus. Together, we will honor our nation's veterans, their sacrifice and the sacrifices of their loved ones in a special drive through campus. All are welcome to participate in appreciation of our U.S. veterans. 

Enter your vehicle


Student-Athletes On Track to Becoming Physical Therapists

A student draws an image of a brain while another student types

While not all student-athletes pursue careers as professional athletes, the values, challenges and lessons learned through sports stay with them through their professional careers, no matter what it may be.

For top track student-athlete alumni, Adan Narvaez ’13, Zariah Noyola ’15, and Irma Garza ‘15, personal injuries in high school guided them to pursue the physical therapy field at UIW.

“Through high school I had the typical athlete injuries and would have to do physical therapy to get back on the field,” said Adan Narvaez. While trying to recover from a back injury, he saw three different physical therapists, and nothing was working and his opinion in physical therapy was anything but positive. It wasn’t until he saw the last physical therapist that he started to think differently.

“The final physical therapist visited was really able to help me get back to playing and actually playing better than before my injury,” he said. “That was the moment I knew I wanted to go the physical therapy route when I attended UIW.”

After graduating from the UIW School of Physical Therapy, Narvaez worked as a physical therapist at Texas Med Clinic and a therapy clinic technician at a private outpatient center before opening his own physical therapy practice with a friend in Brownsville, Texas.

While at UIW, Narvaez competed with the 4x100 relay team that would become Lone Star Conference champions and NCAA Division II All-Americans. He was also the first sprint All-American competing in the 55m and 100m events. Narvaez said his four years of competing in track and field taught him a lot about himself and knowing there is always room for improvement.

“I was kind of an under-achiever until my junior year when my 4x100 team hit the qualifying mark and that was the switch that I needed to push myself to be better,” Narvaez said. He could always lean on that feeling when he felt himself slipping in physical therapy school, where he was among the class of 2014, the first to graduate the newly accredited PT program. “Being able to complete four years of collegiate track was part of the reason I was successful in PT school. Track taught me to be disciplined and dedicated, to be successful in everything. Any time I felt myself getting behind in PT school and second guessing myself, I asked if I was doing enough to just get by or am I challenging myself to become the best I can.”

Zariah Noyola worked at a rehab hospital in San Antonio with patients with spinal cord injuries after graduation and currently works with kids in a clinical setting.

Noyola always knew she wanted to be in the medical field, and after a dislocated hip in high school, she found physical therapy would be her best option. “I came to UIW because I knew it would be a great school that would challenge me to be a better clinical technician.”

For a student-athlete that competed in 12 events over her career and is still the 400m hurdle record holder, Noyola realized that competing helped her persevere through challenges and have a good work ethic.

“PT was hard, and sports taught me to always persevere and strive for the best results.” Noyola said.

Irma Garza chose UIW for her undergraduate education to stay close to home and for its Rehabilitative Sciences program before going to Midwestern University for their physical therapy program. The school record holder in the 1500m run credits UIW for providing her the necessary foundation for her career now working with special needs children in pediatric care.

“UIW laid the foundation academically and with its values to better serve the community,” said Garza. “I have tried to instill the values that UIW has taught me and use it in my care for patients and learning how to care for everyone.”

Though their experiences and paths that led them to physical therapy are all different, Narvaez, Noyola and Garza are all putting the perseverance they learned on the track into their work and living the UIW Mission by caring for others and responding to their needs.

“It is one of the most rewarding professions to see someone unable to walk or move when they come in, then seeing the same person able to walk out on the other side of treatment is amazing. It can be a life changing profession to help people. If you enjoy helping people, your work will never feel like work.” Narvaez said. 

The New Track to PT School

The new crop of student-athletes pursuing a career in physical therapy are continuing the legacy of making a difference for others.

UIW’s Landon Kimbro, a redshirt senior on the baseball team, credits physical therapy for helping him continue to play the game he loves. After sustaining an injury in junior college, Kimbro decided to transfer to UIW because it had a competitive physical therapy program, which drew him to San Antonio.

“If it wasn’t for PT, I wouldn’t be able to pursue what I want to do. This process is a steppingstone for what I want to do for my career, I have to keep stacking good assignments in the classroom to maintain a high level of success.” Kimbro said.

“I have been able to work at an outpatient center this summer and was able to experience the diversity of physical therapy and the possibilities of where my career can take me.”

Sophomore football student-athlete Carson Mohr credits his current path to physical therapy education to the great physical therapist he worked with when growing up in athletics. And felt UIW can provide him with the necessary tools to develop into another great physical therapist in the future.

“I have learned a lot about myself as I have worked towards a degree in physical therapy,” he said. “One of the biggest takeaways for me is that I am capable of more than I had thought. This is best explained through the words of David Goggins – ‘When your mind is telling you you’re done, you're really only 40 percent done.’”

“The combination of a great campus, large city with a lot to do, playing football and being a part of a great Rehabilitative Science degree program led me to choose UIW and I want to be able to pass down the good experience I had from physical therapy on to others,” Mohr said.


COVID-19 Resources

A student in a UIW mask looks at a computer

The University of the Incarnate Word continues to monitor the local, regional and state-wide progression of COVID-19 to inform decisions about safe campus operations. Below you will find links to helpful information regarding UIW's COVID-19 warning indicators, case tracking, safety guidelines and resources for the UIW community. These sites will be updated to reflect changes or new information.

Cardinal Daily Health Check

COVID-19 Information Site

COVID-19 Case Updates

Cardinal Flight Plan