Ann Quiroz Gates, Ph.D., a nationally recognized computer science scholar with an extensive background in higher education administration, research and education in science, has been named vice provost for faculty affairs at The University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP).
Gates’ appointment is effective Aug. 1, 2020.
Gates joined the UTEP faculty as an assistant professor of computer science in 1994 and was promoted to professor and chair of the Department of Computer Science in 2005. She served as associate vice president for research and sponsored projects from 2008 to 2012, then returned to her position as department chair until 2019.
Gates earned a doctoral degree in computer science from New Mexico State University, a master’s degree in computer science from UTEP, and a bachelor’s degree in mathematics and biology from UTEP.
With extensive experience in higher education leadership, particularly in the areas of faculty development, faculty and student mentorship, and faculty hiring, Gates is a champion for diversity, equity and inclusion.
“Faculty are the engine driving innovation, quality and student success in a research university,” said John Wiebe, Ph.D., provost and vice president for academic affairs. “The work that Dr. Gates has led in her career thus far is integral to UTEP’s mission, and it has prepared her well to move the institution forward when it comes to the support and development of our faculty.”
Gates is a founding member and lead of the Computing Alliance of Hispanic Serving Institutions (CAHSI), a nationally recognized network of more than 60 colleges, universities and stakeholders that focus on the recruitment, retention, mentorship and advancement of Hispanics in computing.
CAHSI is one of six national alliances funded by the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) Inclusion across the Nation of Communities of Learners of Underrepresented Discoverers in Engineering and Science (INCLUDES) program, a comprehensive initiative to develop STEM talent from all sectors and groups in our society.
In 2018, her work with CAHSI led to UTEP’s partnership with Google’s Tech Exchange program, where UTEP students and faculty, along with peers from other Hispanic-Serving Institutions and Historically Black Colleges and Universities, participate in an immersive summer internship at Google in Silicon Valley.
Gates’ commitment to educational opportunities has elevated UTEP’s retention and graduation efforts, and bolstered awareness from industry leaders such as Microsoft. In 2019, during her tenure as chair of the Department of Computer Science, Gates accepted the University Award from the Center for Minorities and People with Disabilities in Information Technology, a national award for universities that have retained students from underrepresented groups in computer science programs.
In 2018, she and the UTEP College of Education designed a graduate-level certificate program for area educators to teach coding and AP computer science. This year, Microsoft’s TechSpark program, which aims to expand economic opportunity in the Borderplex region, funded 14 scholarships for high school math teachers.
Gates also has an extensive portfolio of academic accomplishments and research awards. She is the recipient of the 2015 Great Minds in STEM Education award, created to honor the nation’s best and brightest Hispanic engineers, scientists and technology experts. That same year, Gates was recognized with the A. Nico Habermann Award for her outstanding contributions in increasing the numbers of underrepresented groups in the computing research community. Her development, research and implementation of the Affinity Research Group model – a set of practices that support the creation and maintenance of dynamic and inclusive research groups in which students learn and apply the knowledge and skills required for research and cooperative work – has been recognized and adopted at institutions outside of CAHSI. In 2006, she was named to Hispanic Business magazine’s 100 Influential Hispanics for her work on the Affinity Research Group model. She is a founding member of the National Center for Women in Information Technology (NCWIT) and the NSF Advisory Committee for Cyberinfrastructure. Gates is also the recipient of the 2010 Anita Borg Institute Social Impact Award, and the recipient of the 2009 Richard A. Tapia Achievement Award for Scientific Scholarship, Civic Science and Diversifying Computing. Gates was a member of the Naval Research Advisory Committee from 2016 to 2018 and currently serves on the State University of New York Research Council.
Her work in cyberinfrastructure has been well-supported by the National Science Foundation. She is the director and lead principal investigator of the NSF-funded Cyber-ShARE Center of Excellence at UTEP, which is nationally known for the study of collaborative science and engineering, and develops and applies models of team-based, cooperative learning, interdisciplinary teamwork, and knowledge integration and management.
Additional competitive grant awards include the Scholarship for Service (SFS) grant from the NSF and the Department of Homeland Security, and an NSF award with El Paso Community College and California State University, Stanislaus to increase enrollment and diversity in cybersecurity.
“I am honored to work with the dedicated staff in the Provost’s Office, and I look forward to collaborating with faculty and staff on efforts that promote and enhance UTEP’s academic and research portfolios,” Gates said. “I am especially excited to be part of a team that is dedicated to elevating UTEP’s national profile as a model institution for serving Hispanics.”
Gates’ appointment coincides with the departure of David Ruiter, Ph.D., associate provost for strategic initiatives, who has accepted a position leading faculty and student development at the University of California, San Diego after devoting 22 years of his career in service to UTEP.
“We are proud of the work that Dr. Ruiter has led to promote student and faculty success at UTEP, and we are excited to collaborate with him in his new role at UCSD,” Wiebe said. “We wish him the best as he takes on this challenge.”