Patricia Nava, Ph.D., has been named interim dean of The University of Texas at El Paso College of Engineering, effective March 4, 2020. | Photo: UTEP Communications
Patricia Nava, Ph.D., has been named interim dean of The University of Texas at El Paso College of Engineering, effective March 4, 2020.
“Dr. Nava’s distinguished record of scholarship and service to UTEP and the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering has prepared her well to guide the college during this time of transition,” said John Wiebe, Ph.D., interim provost and vice president for academic affairs.
“She is recognized by her peers as an effective leader who is committed to creating opportunities for students and faculty. I am pleased that she will take on this vital role to help us move forward at a time of opportunity for UTEP Engineering.”
Nava arrived at UTEP in 1996 as an assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering. She was named professor in 2008. She served as program director for the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering in 2004, then subsequently served as chair of the department until 2011.
She was appointed associate dean for academic affairs and undergraduate studies from 2011 to 2017.
Nava will succeed Theresa A. Maldonado, Ph.D., who has accepted a position as vice president for research and innovation at the University of California System.
“We’re grateful for the effort that Dr. Maldonado has put into leading the college at a time of institutional transition, culminating in a successful accreditation review by ABET,” Wiebe said.
Before her work at UTEP, Nava taught at Northern Arizona University and California State University, Los Angeles, and worked as an electronics engineer at White Sands Missile Range and as a design engineer at IBM.
Nava was awarded her bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in electrical engineering from New Mexico State University.
In addition to her scholarly work in engineering, she has a strong record of service to students. Nava is a 2019 inductee of the UTEP Academy of Distinguished Teachers and a recipient of The University of Texas System Regents’ Outstanding Teaching Award (2009), the Chancellor’s Council Outstanding Teaching Award (2004), and the Lockheed Martin Award for Teaching Excellence (2003).
In 2016, Nava was instrumental in leading the Texas Regional STEM Degree Accelerator initiative at UTEP, an opportunity to expand the institution’s efforts to prepare students for a dynamic and diverse workforce in STEM fields. She has worked with dozens of graduate students in research and mentored them toward their master’s and doctoral degrees.