Assistant to President at UTPA returning to classroom, named faculty athletics representative
Posted: 02/16/1999
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R. Neal Rieke, assistant to the president at The University of Texas-Pan American and assistant professor of speech communication, has been named the university's faculty athletics representative and is gradually returning to his teaching duties.

"I've certainly missed the interaction with the students, and I'm very pleased to have the opportunity to be back in the classroom," Rieke said. "I've certainly enjoyed my administrative responsibilities in the last four and a half years. I hope that I was able to make a positive difference during my tenure as an administrator."

Rieke, who specializes in interpersonal and organizational communication, is splitting his time this semester as an administrator in the Office of the President and a faculty member in the Department of Communication teaching two speech communication courses.

His duties as faculty athletics representative, or FAR, will include acting as the standing chair of the Athletic Advisory Council, a voting member of the Athletic Compliance Committee and an ex officio member of the Bronc Athletic Foundation. In addition, the FAR is one of the five recognized institutional individuals authorized to make contact with the National Collegiate Athletics Association member services staff in the normal interaction between the NCAA and the university. The position provides oversight and advice in the administration of the intercollegiate athletics program to ensure academic integrity, facilitate institutional control of intercollegiate athletics and enhance the student-athlete experience.

UTPA president Dr. Miguel A. Nevárez said that Rieke, as a tenured faculty member and an experienced administrator, is the most qualified to assume these important duties.

"Neal is very familiar with the needs of our athletic program and the requirements of the NCAA," he said. "As my assistant, he worked closely and successfully with the NCAA during the last four years involving critical compliance and certification issues and concerns. He is one of the chief architects of our recently approved Action Plan for Rules Compliance.

"It's a natural fit at this point," Dr. Nevárez added. "He has the direct experience and knowledge necessary to effectively serve as the senior faculty adviser on athletics-related matters to the CEO."

Rieke has been serving as the interim FAR since May 1998, when Linda O'Daniel, the previously appointed FAR, retired from the university.

He began teaching at then-Pan American University in 1976. In 1994, when he was hired as a full-time administrator, he was also recognized as a distinguished educator in Who's Who Among America's Teachers. He holds master's degrees in speech communication and public administration from the University of North Texas and a bachelor's degree in speech communication and political science from Pan American University.

Rieke will return to the classroom full-time beginning in fall 1999.