Dr. Veronica Lopez Estrada is an Associate Professor and Department Chair for the Department
of Curriculum & Instruction. She is originally from Santa Elena, a small ranch community in
Starr County, TX located in the lower Rio Grande Valley. Dr. Estrada earned her Bachelor of
Arts degree in English Communications Arts from St. Mary’s University at San Antonio, TX.
She also holds a Master of Arts degree in English and a Master of Arts degree in English
Education from The Ohio State University. Her doctoral degree is a PhD in Education Studies,
also earned at The Ohio State University. Her doctoral specialization is in the area of
Language, Literacy & Culture.
Dr. Estrada's public school teaching experience began as an English teacher at Mission High
School at Mission, TX in the early 1990’s. She also taught 7th-11th grade students at The
Ohio State University as an Instructor for the Academic Scholars Program for five years while
working on her graduate and doctoral degrees. Her teaching experiences with middle and high
school students at both institutions predominantly included racial and ethnic minorities from
low socioeconomic backgrounds and students who were English Language Learners.
Dr. Estrada has taught at UTPA since 1995. She was a lecturer for two years prior to being
hired as an Assistant Professor in 1998. Dr. Estrada has served her department and college
as a Program Coordinator of the Secondary Education Program, the Master of Education in
Reading Program, Department Chair, Interim Associate Dean, and currently, she is the All-Level
Teacher Certification Program Coordinator. Among many university and college
committees, Dr. Estrada was elected to be a Faculty Senator for the College of Education
during her tenure track, and
she has served as Counselor of Kappa Delta Pi International Honor Society in Education for
the past 9 years.
Dr. Estrada has written, directed and evaluated numerous external grants during her tenure
at UTPA. Her research interests include qualitative studies in education, technology and
teacher education, teacher mentoring and induction, and cognitive and literacy development
of diverse learners.
Teaching Philosophy/Style: My teaching philosophy reflects a social
constructivist model of teaching that is inclusive of qualitative inquiry as a form of
learning. The goal of education, in my view, is a transformation of self and society
where prospective teachers see themselves as reflective thinkers, change agents, inquirers
and activists for children and adolescents. During the past few years, my teaching has been
enhanced due to my inclusion of online technology applications in my teaching that are readily
available in our new College of Education Complex. My research interests continue to generate
toward discovering ways that cognitive growth and literacy development are affected through
electronic online technology applications and to also discover implications for pedagogy and
What I like about teaching at UTPA: The University of Texas Pan American is
a wonderful place to work for several reasons: #1. Since most of the students at UTPA are
first generation college students, they have a hunger to learn and to immediately apply what
they have learned in our field-based teacher preparation programs
(undergraduates) and in
their classrooms (graduate students); #2. Abundant educational research opportunities in a
predominantly Mexican American or Latino/a population in this area make UTPA
an attractive institution in which to work; #3. Faculty and staff are
friendly, collegial and genuinely interested in working with one
another; and #4. This university has a mission to grant more and more
graduate and doctoral degrees in an effort to ultimately transition to a
research institution. This is inspiring and exciting.