Dr. Dahlia Guerra, chair of the Department of Music for The University of Texas-Pan American, said her career at the University has come full circle with her appointment as the new dean of the College of Arts and Humanities July 19.
Over the years, Guerra has served the University in numerous capacities including lecturer, assistant and associate professor and her current title as chair, which she has held since 1999.
"Together with this faculty and our students I am ready to take the College of Arts and Humanities to the next level," she said.
Guerra, who has been with UTPA since 1985, will begin her duties as head of the college Sept. 1. As dean, she will lead six departments that offer 12 bachelor's and seven master's degrees.
In her new position, Guerra said she plans to align the college with the University's strategic goals; develop new undergraduate and graduate programs; facilitate research and creative activities; raise funds for student scholarships; support international programs and exchanges with other higher education institutions; and work with administration on the design of the new Fine Arts Academic and Performance Complex.
"Our college is the largest, most diverse, and should be the most visible college in the University and the South Texas community," Guerra said. "The College of Arts and Humanities within UTPA plays a major role in the cultural life of the Rio Grande Valley and is capable of becoming the cultural, artistic, and research center in South Texas."
In addition, Guerra said she would like to establish a network between the college and communities, cities and public schools to create awareness and opportunities for current and future students at UTPA.
Guerra is credited with the establishment of the award-winning UTPA Mariachi program, which she began in 1989 and features the Mariachi and Mariachi Femenil. Under her direction, the UTPA groups have won numerous national and international music competition titles.
The Edinburg native is also an accomplished pianist and has performed in numerous local, state, national and international solo piano recitals.
"Dr. Guerra's commitment to promoting the cultural music of the region and her dedication to engaging the students and community of South Texas in the arts makes her the best candidate for dean of the College of Arts and Humanities," Dr. Ana Maria Rodriguez, interim provost/vice president for Academic Affairs, said.
Guerra received her Bachelor of Arts in piano performance from then-Pan American University in 1976, and her Master of Music in piano performance and piano pedagogy from Southern Methodist University in 1978, and a Doctorate of Musical Arts from the University of Oklahoma in 1997.
The College of Arts and Humanities includes the departments of art, communication, English, history and philosophy, modern languages and literature, and music. The college currently enrolls more than 2,500 undergraduate and 190 graduate students, with a roster of more than 200 full- and part-time faculty.
Guerra will replace Dr. Wallace Tucker, who postponed his retirement in January 2005 to serve as interim dean of the College of Arts and Humanities until an official search was completed.