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Home | Tag Archives: utep president diana natalicio

Tag Archives: utep president diana natalicio

Diana Natalicio, University of Texas at El Paso President, Announces Retirement

Dr. Diana Natalicio, long-time President of the University of Texas at El Paso, announced Tuesday her intent to retire as soon as a replacement can be found.

Natalicio was named president of UTEP in 1988; prior to that, she had also held several positions at the university. According to her biography on the UTEP website, Dr. Natalicio was also vice president for academic affairs, dean of liberal arts, chair of the modern languages department and professor of linguistics.

Dr. Natalicio is a graduate of St. Louis University, where she earned a master’s degree in Portuguese, she also earned a doctorate in linguistics from The University of Texas at Austin.

Since taking over UTEP in 1988, the college’s enrollment has grown from 15,000 to over 25,000 students and UTEP’s annual budget has increased from $65 million to nearly $450 million.

In 2017, Dr. Natalicio was named one of Fortune magazine’s Top 50 World Leaders.  In 2016, she was honored with the Hispanic Heritage Award in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math, and she was included on the 2016 TIME 100 list of most influential people in the world.

Dr. Natalicio and the university have scheduled media opportunities for Tuesday afternoon at 2:30, where they will share more information about her departure.

Below is the statement Dr. Natalicio released to Staff and Students, via a Facebook post

Message from President Natalicio

To: UTEP Students, Faculty, Staff, Alumni, Friends and Supporters
From: Diana Natalicio, President

With the recent commemoration of two major milestones in my long and very happy relationship with The University of Texas at El Paso—45 years as a faculty member and 30 years as UTEP’s president—I have concluded that this may be an appropriate time to begin bringing to a close this chapter in my higher education story, nearly all of which I have joyfully spent at UTEP. I am therefore announcing today my plans to retire as UTEP’s president once a successor has been officially appointed and assumed the position. To be absolutely clear, this is not a farewell message to you, but rather an early alert about my plans.

Although approaching retirement saddens me—I am as energized today by UTEP’s many assets and future potential as I was 30 years ago!—I’ve always known that this day would inevitably come. Happily, it comes at a time when I have confidence that we will remain true to our core values and continue without interruption the transformative work that has been underway on this campus for the past 30 years.

To that end, we have been very actively engaged, and have already made significant progress, in executing a strategic administrative succession plan. We are immensely proud of the caliber of candidates for the administrative positions we have recently filled—vice presidents, deans and department chairs, athletic director and coaches. Their desire to join the UTEP family strongly validates our enhanced national stature as a public research university that is successfully achieving a highly innovative access and excellence mission.

As we have navigated the challenging issues facing higher education in the 21st century, UTEP has succeeded in fulfilling a promise that most other universities consider impossible: balancing equal and intersecting commitments to both access and excellence. UTEP has received national recognition as a public research university that has been extraordinarily successful at promoting student social mobility, while simultaneously building a reputation for excellence through our externally funded research competitiveness and the development of doctoral program quality across all colleges on the campus. We are very proud of our success in repositioning UTEP on the national higher education landscape, and especially proud to have successfully done so while never defaulting on our core commitment to ensure that all talented young people who entrust us with their aspirations will have an authentic opportunity to achieve them, regardless of their backgrounds or financial means.

To be sure, our work is not done, and many future challenges await UTEP and the students we serve, as the higher education ecosystem continues to change. I will save my reflections on those challenges for another time.

Instead, first and foremost, I want to express appreciation to our UTEP students whose success—on our campus and as alumni—has strongly validated our sustained confidence and investment in them. It has also been a privilege to work with faculty and staff members across the campus, whose expertise and creativity have ensured the rigor and competitiveness of UTEP’s educational programs and served generations of UTEP students exceedingly well. I thank these esteemed colleagues for their deep understanding, their courage, and their unwavering resolve to embrace fully, and work tirelessly, to achieve UTEP’s innovative higher education vision and our mission to deliver on our commitments to both access and excellence for students in this region and beyond.

Finally, I want to assure everyone—students, faculty and staff on the campus, our proud UTEP alumni, and our friends and partners in the surrounding community—that I will continue to support efforts to fulfill the extraordinarily deep commitment we have all made to be the best UTEP we can possibly be. We do that by serving this U.S.-Mexico border region as an exemplary public research university: creating authentic and exceptional educational opportunities for the region’s historically underserved population; conducting innovative research, scholarship and creative activity; and fostering the surrounding region’s prosperity and quality of life. Together, we have earned well-deserved national recognition for the success of the transformative work we have done over the past 30 years. I am confident that, during the forthcoming leadership transition and well beyond, we will continue to build on this strong foundation, working together to ensure UTEP’s competitiveness as a model public research university, while continuing to honor our core mission to promote educational opportunities and social mobility for all talented and hard-working students, especially those in this U.S.-Mexico border region, for whose future life pathways we have clear responsibility.

Go Miners!

El Paso Collaborative for Academic Excellence Celebrates 25 Years of Success

Concerned by the large gap that existed in the academic achievement levels of minority and non-minority children in the Paso del Norte Region, UTEP President Diana Natalicio and UTEP alumna Susana Navarro, Ph.D., a seasoned education advocate, formed the El Paso Collaborative for Academic Excellence (EPCAE) in 1992.

They brought together leaders from UTEP, El Paso Community College, Region 19 Education Service Center, the El Paso Interreligious Sponsoring Organization and the superintendents of the region’s three largest school districts to offer high quality educational opportunities to students from pre-K to graduate school regardless of their gender, race, ethnicity, ZIP codes or financial means.

“Over the past 25 years we’ve engaged in steady systemic and strategic investment in the education of talented young people in this community,” said UTEP President Diana Natalicio said. “We’ve stayed focused on our goals to improve their educational attainment and expand their future options and equally focused on the metrics to measure our progress in attaining those goals. And attain them we have.”

To mark the EPCAE’s silver anniversary in 2017, UTEP hosted a lecture on Sept. 19 to celebrate the remarkable achievements that have resulted from the Collaborative’s collective efforts. The event featured presentations from some of the EPCAE’s key players, including Robert B. Schwartz, professor emeritus of practice in educational policy and administration at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, and Kati Haycock, former president of The Education Trust.

“What absolutely has to be noted is how very different this community is from the one that we saw in 1991 and 1992,” Navarro said during the event’s panel discussion. “In those days the achievement patterns painted a pretty dismal picture. Few students achieved and were at remotely acceptable levels whether at 3rd grade, at 8th grade, or in high school. What was happening in postsecondary [education] was just as gloomy. The University’s enrollment didn’t reflect that community and too few students earned a degree.”

Navarro returned to her native El Paso in 1991 from California where she served as director of the Achievement Council, a nonprofit organization that worked to improve educational opportunities for minorities.

She considered starting an independent organization similar to the Achievement Council after data on educational achievement patterns in El Paso revealed significant underachievement among low income and minority students. Instead, UTEP President Natalicio convinced Navarro to headquarter the organization at the University.

Today, the EPCAE has become a national model for urban school reform. It has been credited with successfully improving high school graduation rates; increasing college readiness programs; and reducing academic achievement gaps across demographic groups.

“The community grabbed ahold of itself, came together to face a not very pretty picture and committed to doing much better for each and every young person in El Paso,” said Navarro, who retired in 2011 after serving as the EPCAE’s director for 20 years. “We pulled ourselves together and pulled together our own best ideas and the best ones out there and we set out to find resources and funds. Today the vast majority of students in elementary schools are passing state assessments and moving to the next grade prepared for the content in that grade, and the vast majority of students in high schools are taking college prep courses and being prepared for college. And enrollment at UTEP is reflecting the demographics of our community.”

Since the start of the EPCAE, UTEP has experienced impressive growth in enrollment and in the total number of education degrees awarded.

Total UTEP enrollment has grown from 17,000 in 1992 to more than 25,000 in fall 2017. Hispanics make up 80 percent of the University’s enrollment, compared to 60 percent 25 years ago. UTEP degrees conferred have increased from around 1,500 per year in the early 1990s to over 4,500 per year currently.

“This region has a very special educational interdependence,” President Natalicio said. She has been chair of the Collaborative since 1993. “More than 80 percent of UTEP students are graduates of high schools in this region and an estimated 75 percent of area teachers are graduates of UTEP. This means we have a mutuality of interests and a shared stake in our collective success, as well as huge opportunities for innovative collaborations, data sharing and reciprocal accountability.”

Schwartz served as program director for education at the Pew Charitable Trust in 1992 when Pew’s Community Compacts for Student Success program awarded the EPCAE a $1 million seed funding grant.

During his keynote remarks, Schwartz credited the Collaborative’s success to its leadership. He also said the region’s geographic isolation served as a huge advantage because it compelled education institutions, community organizations and employers to work together to improve education in the region.

“The motivation for the creation of the Collaborative was if the institutions could pull their resources and if the University could bring to the table high-quality tools and resources for teachers and leaders in the schools and provide the kind of support system and structures that current teachers needed, as well as … build partnerships with schools for the preparation of the next generation of teachers … this would be a win-win for the schools and school districts that participated, and certainly a big win for the University,” Schwartz said.

Generously supported by grants from the National Science Foundation, the U.S. Department of Education and numerous national foundations, the EPCAE launched several initiatives, including professional development workshops for teachers and administrators and a program that provided math and science teacher mentors. It also helped to enhance teacher preparation programs in mathematics, science, literacy and technology.

“In the College of Education, the alignment of curriculum through standards across grade levels extended into our academic programs, which produced courses that emphasized the progression of learning from K-16,” said William H. Robertson, Ph.D., the college’s interim dean. “For the students in our Teacher Preparation Program, this meant a greater understanding of how curriculum is aligned and how to effectively build lessons that lead to continual learning.”

While the EPCAE spurred education reform in the region, its work is far from over.

One of the Collaborative’s major goals over the next 25 years is to increase the number of dual-credit and advanced courses offered in high schools and prepare more teachers with credentials required to teach these college-level courses.

A 2016 study by UTEP’s Center for Institutional Evaluation, Research and Planning showed that El Paso area high school students who took dual credit courses from 2005-15 earned higher GPAs, were 40 percent more likely to continue their studies in higher education, and 60 percent more likely to graduate in six years or less. They also saved $36 million in tuition and fees.

“The next phase of the Collaborative will be to amplify opportunities for the talented and motivated youth of this community to engage in a college-going culture through expanded access to dual credit and early college high school,” said Ivette Savina, UTEP assistant vice president for outreach and student access and EPCAE manager. “[It will do this] by engaging with business and civic leaders to support the economic development necessary to create the high-paying jobs that match the post-secondary educational attainment and aspirations of the students in our region.”

Author:  Laura L. Acosta – UTEP Communications

UTEP President Receives National Hispanic Award

The Hispanic Heritage Foundation has announced that UTEP President Diana Natalicio is a recipient of the 2016 Hispanic Heritage Award in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM).

The national HHF awards recognize the contributions and accomplishments of leaders in various fields while celebrating Latino cultural pride and Latinos’ great promise for America’s future.

“I am overjoyed to accept this award on behalf of UTEP’s 24,000 students, and our faculty and staff who have enabled us to achieve our dream of creating outstanding opportunities for highly talented young people whose modest financial means and complex life challenges often limit their educational and career options,” said President Natalicio. “UTEP’s origins as a mining school and our historic strengths in the STEM disciplines have offered us a strong foundation upon which to build teaching and research excellence in engineering and science disciplines and exciting opportunities for our 80 percent Latino student population.”

UTEP has been nationally recognized for its success in developing strong and sustained collaboration with area school districts and the El Paso Community College to engage Hispanic students’ interest in pursuing STEM careers, and to support and enhance opportunities for them once they enroll by offering strong academic and research program options. Among those initiatives is the UTEP computer science faculty’s leadership in forming the Computing Alliance of Hispanic-Serving Institutions (CAHSI) in 2004 as a grassroots effort to increase the number of Hispanic students who pursue and complete baccalaureate and advanced degrees in the computer and information sciences and engineering (CISE) and cybersecurity areas.

Recently, the National Science Foundation awarded UTEP $1.9 million to increase the number of computer science graduates over the next five years.

Other innovative programs of note include the Program to Educate and Retain Students in STEM Tracks (PERSIST), a three-course freshman research sequence funded by a five-year Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) grant; and the A-PRIME-TIME initiative that helps students complete their undergraduate degrees and M.D.s in six years rather than eight.

“Although UTEP is viewed as a regional institution, we are making a disproportionate contribution to the national priority of increasing diversity among STEM professionals at the highest level,” President Natalicio added. “We are punching way above our weight in contributing to the diversity of professions across the STEM spectrum, where Latinos continue to be grossly underrepresented.”

President Natalicio joins an elite group of 2016 awardees who have been announced, including Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor (Leadership Award), Pulitzer Prize-winning author Junot Díaz (Literature Award), actress/singer Angelica Maria (Legend Award), and Latin music’s breakout new superstar J Balvin (Vision Award).

The Hispanic Heritage Awards were established in 1987 by President Ronald Reagan to commemorate the creation of Hispanic Heritage Month in America. Since that time, the Hispanic Heritage Awards are considered among the highest honors for Hispanics by Hispanics.

“The Hispanic Heritage Foundation is very proud to honor Dr. Natalicio with the Hispanic Heritage Award for STEM,” said Jose Antonio Tijerino, president and CEO of the Hispanic Heritage Foundation. “At a critical time in our country’s need for STEM education and workforce development, Dr. Natalicio has taken a leadership role along with our sponsor ExxonMobil. Her impact on Latino students and our community has been tremendous. With two-thirds of new jobs over the next decade projected to be filled by Latinos, Dr. Natalicio is preparing our students in the STEM fields to help move America forward. We are grateful to ExxonMobil in partnering to highlight the inspiring commitment of Dr. Natalicio to STEM and Latino students.”

UTEP’s leader for the past 28 years, and the longest-serving president of a U.S. public research university, President Natalicio has guided UTEP’s transformation into a national model for educating a 21st century student population. Recognizing the critical importance of pre-college preparation to students’ enrollment and success at UTEP, she has been a driving force in creating community partnerships to raise the aspirations and educational attainment of all young people in the Paso del Norte region and, through a deep commitment to both access and excellence, to provide them authentic and stimulating educational opportunities. She is a leading voice in the national conversation on higher education, and an advocate for reaching past borders to develop robust international collaborations.

“Through my many years at UTEP, I’ve been privileged to participate in the transformation of many thousands of lives, and my life’s work has become entirely focused on increasing access for all young people – particularly the nearly 40 percent of UTEP students who report a family income of $20,000 a year or less – and ensuring their engagement in the same kinds of enhanced educational experiences offered to their peers in more affluent settings,” she said.

President Natalicio’s sustained commitment to provide all residents of the Paso del Norte region access to outstanding higher education opportunities has helped make UTEP a national success story.

In April, President Natalicio was recognized in the TIME 100 “Leaders” category among 31 global icons including U.S. President Barack Obama, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande.

In 2015, the Carnegie Corporation of New York honored President Natalicio with its prestigious Academic Leadership Award in recognition of her exceptional achievements.

A graduate of St. Louis University, President Natalicio earned a master’s degree in Portuguese and a doctorate in linguistics from The University of Texas at Austin.

The 29th annual Hispanic Heritage Awards will take place Sept. 22 at Washington D.C.’s Historic Warner Theatre and will be broadcast nationally 10-11 p.m. ET on Friday, Sept. 30, on PBS during Hispanic Heritage Month.

UTEP Names New Assistant Vice President for Alumni Relations

Maribel Villalva has been named assistant vice president for alumni relations at  announced Tuesday.

Villalva, whose new appointment commences immediately, has since 2013 been director of UTEP’s Centennial Museum and Chihuahuan Desert Gardens. In addition, in 2014, she served as executive director of the University’s Centennial Celebration.

“Maribel Villalva’s contributions to the University have been extensive and impactful,” said President Natalicio. “We are very pleased to be able to bring her community- building experience to Alumni Relations.”

Villalva received her bachelor’s degree in journalism from UTEP in 1997 and joined the staff at the El Paso Times as an arts reporter covering the border region’s performing and visual arts. She also served as a multimedia reporter for the Times from 2004 to 2008 and was a sports and features writer at the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens for The University of Texas at El Paso, UTEP President Diana NatalicioGannett News Service, then the parent company of the El Paso Times.

In 2008, Villalva became executive director of the El Paso Holocaust Museum, where she oversaw the museum’s day-to-day operations, fundraising, coordination of local and traveling exhibits, year-round programming, and promotion of the institution and all of its activities.

“As a proud graduate of UTEP, I am thrilled to step into this role at Alumni Relations,” Villalva said. “I welcome the opportunity to engage with UTEP alumni around the world so that they can remain a part of the UTEP community.”

Villalva replaces Richard Daniel, Ph.D., who led UTEP Alumni Relations for nearly 10 years and has accepted a position as the Vice President for Institutional Advancement at Saint Michael’s College in Colchester, Vermont.

Villalva commented, “Dr. Richard Daniel and his team have developed a successful alumni program and I hope to build on this success.”

UTEP President Natalicio details Health Scare, Recovery

Nearly a month and a half after her on-campus collapse, UTEP President Dr. Diana Natalicio released information Tuesday afternoon regarding the incident and her recovery.

In a memo addressed to the university’s staff, students, alumni and friend titled “The Beat Goes On,” Dr. Natalico credits the knowledge and quick action of a UTEP PD Officer, who performed life-saving CPR on her.

“I happened to be walking with Officer Bell who knew exactly how to administer CPR and call for EMS support…his quick action, the EMS’s rapid response and the outstanding care I received at the Providence Memorial Hospital–mostly from UTEP-educated healthcare professionals—saved my life.”

Dr. Natalicio went on to say that while in the hospital, she was diagnosed with a cardiac arrythmia; which she says has now been addressed.

She added, “I’m especially happy to report that I’ve been able to return to my office this week. The UTEP campus has never looked quite so beautiful!”

Diana Natalicio became UTEP’s first woman president in 1988 and is today the longest-serving still sitting president of a major public research university in the United States.

Below is Dr. Natalicio’s memo in its entirety.

March 29, 2016

TO: UTEP Students, Faculty, Staff, Alumni and Friends

FROM: Diana Natalicio, President

SUBJECT: The Beat Goes On…..

As many of you are aware, on February 18, I suffered a health scare which began with my collapse on the UTEP campus. Fortunately, at that moment, I happened to be walking with UTEP Police Officer Bion Bell, who knew exactly how to administer CPR and call for EMS support. His quick action, the EMS’s rapid response, and the outstanding care I received at the Providence Memorial Hospital–mostly from UTEP-educated healthcare professionals—saved my life. While in the hospital, I was diagnosed with a cardiac arrhythmia, which has been addressed. I’m especially happy to report that I’ve been able to return to my office this week. The UTEP campus has never looked quite so beautiful!

This story’s happy ending certainly began with the highly competent initial response to my emergency and the excellent care I received while hospitalized. It was also shaped by the hundreds of cards, email messages, beautiful flowers and plants, and delicious food, all of which conveyed to me well wishes and healing thoughts and prayers from UTEP students, faculty and staff, and from UTEP alumni, colleagues and friends in the surrounding community and across the globe. There is no way that I can fully express my appreciation individually to everyone whose competence saved my life and whose heartfelt support accelerated my recovery. I will also always be grateful to my many UTEP colleagues who stepped up to ensure that UTEP’s important work continued without interruption during my absence.

The moral of this story is that, like the students we so proudly serve, the extended UTEP family is remarkably resilient, with capacity to achieve our greatest aspirations in an ever-changing higher education context. Important work remains to be done to increase opportunities for our students and continue reinforcing UTEP’s national model of access and excellence. I am deeply gratified to be able to continue partnering with all of you to get this work done!

Go Miners!

 

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