The University of Texas-Pan American Educational Leadership Doctoral Program received a tremendous boost Thursday, March 1 by joining the University Council for Educational Administration (UCEA) through The University of Texas at Austin.
The formal agreement was signed by UTPA President Dr. Miguel A. Nevárez, Dr. Rodolfo Arévalo, provost/vice president for Academic Affairs; Dr. Michelle Young, UCEA executive director; and Dr. Maricela Oliva, director of the UTPA Educational Leadership Doctoral Program.
"One of this institution's overarching goals is to not only produce the most teachers but also the best prepared," Nevárez said.
"Along with that goal is an emphasis on producing the administrators, principals, superintendents and even post-secondary administrators that will support good teaching. Another goal is to become the regional research university for South Texas, so UTPA and the UCEA share mutual goals of inclusiveness, research, educational leadership and teacher preparation."
Arévalo agreed, adding the partnership will benefit both UTPA faculty and students.
"I think the signing of this agreement is simply an indication that other research granting institutions value the product that we have at UTPA, and the relationship that will be established with UCEA will provide an opportunity not only for our faculty but also our students to be more engaged in research projects," Arévalo said.
"UCEA has a number of goals that include research, program improvement and the dissemination of knowledge to impact policy and practice," he continued. "The activities that we do to fulfill those goals include graduate student seminars, junior faculty seminars, research publication outlets, regional meetings, and national conventions."
In its 45th year, the UCEA is a consortium of nearly 60 major research universities in the United States and Canada. Its missions are to improve the preparation of educational leaders and promote the development of professional knowledge in school improvement and administration.
"As members of the UCEA, UTPA will be able to access resources that they didn't have access to before," said Young, who also gave a Wednesday night public lecture on educational leadership preparation.
The UTPA doctor of education (EdD) prepares participants for leadership careers in education. It was offered at the University as a cooperative program with UT Austin beginning in 1993, and the first three graduates of the cooperative program received degrees in December 1996.
It has been offered as a stand-alone program since 1998, with degrees being granted by UTPA.
"From the perspective of the doctoral program, I think our much closer engagement with Research I programs across the country at places like Ohio State, the University of North Carolina and UT Austin will make it possible for our doctoral program to mature a lot more quickly," Oliva said. "I think it will benefit our program, region and students here."
Every two years, a cohort of about 14 people is admitted, with students taking classes together. The next cohort is being selected this spring to begin fall classes.