New dean, scholar of Latin American literature, brings a commitment to enrich the college experience of UTEP students
New dean, scholar of Latin American literature, brings a commitment to enrich the college experience of UTEP students

UTEP Names Bencomo as Dean for College of Liberal Arts

The University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) has named Anadeli Bencomo, Ph.D., to serve as the next dean of the College of Liberal Arts effective June 1, 2022.

She comes to UTEP from the University of Houston (UH), where she served as a professor of Latin American literature and cultural studies and held several administrative posts.

“Dr. Bencomo’s wealth of experience in college administration and knowledge of Hispanic studies will advance student success in our College of Liberal Arts,” UTEP President Heather Wilson said. “I’m excited to see how her innovative leadership impacts our students and research.”

At UH, Bencomo’s administrative roles have included serving as associate dean for faculty and research in the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences, two terms as chair of the Department of Hispanic Studies, and director of Spanish Graduate Studies. Bencomo, a native of Venezuela, worked at UH for more than two decades, joining that university in 1999 as an assistant professor.

“UTEP is a leading Hispanic-serving institution that cares about its students and their success,” said Bencomo, a first-generation college graduate. “I am excited to help implement the University’s visionary strategic plan to reinforce UTEP’s position as a model of 21st-century higher education.”

With 25 departments and programs and almost 6,600 students, Bencomo will lead the University’s largest college. The College of Liberal Arts is home to UTEP’s social and behavioral sciences, humanities, and visual and performing arts programs.

“Anadeli Bencomo has excellent credentials,” said John Wiebe, Ph.D., provost and vice president for academic affairs. “She is a superb scholar, educator, researcher and author, and her years of progressive experience in administration prepare her well to lead the college in integrating its student success mission with a focus on building its research and creative profile.”

Bencomo said she would bring her commitment to excellence in higher education through encouragement of best practices in academics and research, and through collaboration among students, faculty, staff, and administrators.

“From day one, I am planning to be a consistent advocate of our commitment to enrich the college experience of UTEP students, to engage with the community of El Paso-Juárez, and to model the creativity and critical thinking demanded to thrive as professionals,” Bencomo said.

Bencomo earned her doctorate and master’s degrees in Latin American literature from the University of Pittsburgh and Universidad Simón Bolívar, in Caracas, Venezuela, respectively, and her bachelor’s degree in literature from Universidad Católica Andrés Bello in Caracas. She also earned a higher diploma in modern French studies from the Alliance Française in Paris. Throughout her career she has been awarded two Fulbright Scholarships and two Rockefeller Foundation Grants to conduct research in Mexico.

Bencomo replaces Denis O’Hearn, Ph.D., who has led the college since July 2018. He will join the faculty and renew focus on his research on Indigenous Unangan people in the Aleutian and Pribilof islands.

“The University is grateful to Dr. O’Hearn for his contributions as dean of the College of Liberal Arts, and we wish him well as he returns to his research and to the classroom,” Wiebe said.


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