The University of Texas-Pan American announced Feb. 2 the appointment of Dr. Ana Maria Rodriguez as interim provost and vice president for Academic Affairs. She will fill the position now held by Dr. Rodolfo Arévalo, who recently was named president of Eastern Washington University in Cheney, Wash. The appointment will be effective March 1, 2006.
"Dr. Rodriguez was the only choice for this interim provost position. She is smart, dedicated and very likely the hardest working person at UTPA. She gets results and treats people well while she's doing it. I feel confident and comfortable with her at the helm," UTPA President Dr. Blandina Cárdenas said.
"I was deeply honored that President Cárdenas would consider me to serve as interim and even more honored at the faculty response to my being appointed. It has been overwhelmingly good," she said. "I am very supportive of the President and I want to help her in whatever way I can based on my experience at this institution and my knowledge of the Valley and of the students. Some of the directions she wants to go in have been goals of mine for a long time."
Rodriguez said her first goal was to see that the projects underway, particularly those related to improving retention and graduation rates, were followed through to fruition.
"We have already made lots of progress on both and I want to make sure that we continue those," she said. "Another thing that will be at the forefront will be getting geared up for the next year in terms of full implementation of work load policies and helping faculty to focus on more intensive research."
Rodriguez said she was very grateful to Arévalo for his support because under him she was allowed to pursue programs she believed in such as the development of a process to help incoming freshmen bridge the gap between high school and college so the University could improve their retention. This effort resulted in the implementation of the Learning Framework course and Learning Communities courses.
"I couldn't have done it without him," she said.
Rodriguez earned a bachelor's degree (Summa Cum Laude) in secondary education with majors in business administration and English from Texas College of Arts and Industries in Kingsville; her master's degree from Pan American University (now UTPA) with a major in guidance and counseling; and her doctorate from the University of Houston with a major in guidance and counseling.
Rodriguez, who will serve until a permanent provost is selected, said the search to fill the position will begin immediately and the position will possibly be filled by September 2006.