Dr. Rodolfo Rocha, chair of the Department of History and Philosophy at The University of Texas-Pan American, has been named interim dean of the university's College of Arts and Humanities while a national search is conducted to replace Dr. William Davis III, who has served as dean since 1996.
"After serving double administrative duty for several years, Dr. Davis is taking a much deserved rest," said Dr. Rodolfo Arévalo, provost and vice president for academic affairs at UTPA. "Dr. Davis has been devoted to this institution for some 28 years, and every time he has been asked to take on an extra responsibility, he has willingly done so.
"Over the years, Dr. Davis has served as interim vice president for academic affairs twice, as interim associate vice president for academic affairs and as interim dean of both the College of Liberal and Performing Arts (now Arts and Humanities) and the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences," Dr. Arévalo said. "He is one of the hardest working, most respected people on campus, and we can't thank him enough for always being there for the university."
Dr. Davis began working at the university as a faculty member in the Department of English in 1971 and chaired the department for five years beginning in 1986. His abilities as an outstanding professor were recognized when he was named the Piper Professor of 1993, a prestigious statewide teaching award presented by the Minnie Stevens Piper Foundation. Also in 1993, he received the UT System's Chancellor's Award for Outstanding Teaching.
Dr. Rocha, who recently returned from a semester-long internship at Southwest Texas State University as an American Council on Education Fellow, received his PhD in history from Texas Tech University and also holds BA and MA degrees in history from then-Pan American University.
He has been a full-time faculty member at UTPA since 1978, and has also taught history in the public schools, as a part-time instructor at Texas Tech and as a visiting professor at the Universidad Autónoma de Nuevo León in Monterrey. He was curator of the university's Rio Grande Valley Historical Collection for seven years and also served as interim chair of the Department of History in 1984-85.
The provost said that UT Pan American "is fortunate to have someone of the caliber of Dr. Rodolfo Rocha to take the reins of the College of Arts and Humanities during the remainder of this academic year."
"Dr. Rocha, an alumnus of UTPA and a member of the history faculty for 20 years, knows this institution well and is providing a smooth transition in leadership for his college," Dr. Arévalo noted.
University President Dr. Miguel A. Nevárez has appointed a committee to conduct a national search for a permanent dean for the College of Arts and Humanities.
Dr. Arévalo said the search for a permanent dean is already under way and it is expected that a new dean will be appointed by August 1999.
Dr. Michael Weaver, associate professor of history, is serving as interim chair of the Department of History and Philosophy, a position he has held since the beginning of the fall semester due to Dr. Rocha's ACE fellowship.