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Provost announces changes in UTPA Office of Academic Affairs
Posted: 12/06/2006
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Dr. Paul Sale, provost/vice president for Academic Affairs at The University of Texas-Pan American, recently announced several personnel classification changes in his division to further advance the University's transformation into the premier learner-centered research institution in South Texas.

"As the role of the provost continues to change during this transformational time in the institution's history, I am building infrastructure to assist in the timely implementation of a variety of new initiatives, programs and administration," said Sale, who indicated the changes were effective Nov. 15.

Dr. Ana Maria Rodriguez, a 33-year employee at UTPA and current associate vice president for Undergraduate Studies, was promoted to senior vice provost for Undergraduate Studies, Academic Assessment, and Retention and will serve as a senior adviser to Sale. Rodriguez served as interim provost after Dr. Rodolfo Arévalo, former provost, left UTPA to assume a college presidency in March 2006 until Sale was hired in August 2006.

UTPA President Dr. Blandina Cárdenas (right) and UTPA Provost/Vice President for Academic Affairs (left) congratulated Dr. Ana Maria Rodriguez (center) Nov. 17 on her reclassification from associate vice president for Undergraduate Studies to senior vice provost for Undergraduate Studies, Academic Assessment and Retention at the University. This was among several personnel changes in the Office of Provost/Vice President of Academic announced by Sale at a reception Nov. 17 in the University Ballroom.
Sale said this reclassification acknowledges Rodriguez' pivotal role in the provost's office and accurately reflects her current duties and responsibilities that now include academic assessment and retention. Under her leadership, courses such as Learning Framework and Learning Communities have been successfully implemented to help raise student retention rates. She has also established a system to assess student learning at the University and has now conducted assessments of 65 undergraduate and 47 graduate programs three semesters in a row thus addressing the state and national push for accountability in higher education.

"A provost needs someone who has significant institutional experience. Dr Rodriguez has been serving UTPA in a variety of roles since 1973. She is someone who is a creative thinker. Her conceptualization of the highly successful processes to enhance freshman retention is but one example of this creative thinking," Sale said.

Dr. Teofilo Ozuna, who recently assumed the position of associate vice president of Graduate Studies, and Dr. Wendy Lawrence-Fowler, associate vice president for Research, were named vice provost for Graduate Studies and vice provost of Research and Sponsored Projects, respectively. Sale said these changes also better reflected their current responsibilities in Academic Affairs as well as brought them more in line with titles in other University of Texas System components.

Current Academic Budget Officer Rose Marie Galindo will assume the additional title of assistant vice president for administration. Galindo, Sale said, will assist him in a wide range of administrative issues encountered in Academic Affairs.

"Her employment experience both in the business sector and at another institution of higher education gives her insight that has already been invaluable to me and will serve UTPA well," he said.

In addition, Assistant to the Vice President Blinda Torres will continue her primary leadership in managing the personnel process, including new immigration liaison work with the Office of Human Resources. She will also serve as the Academic Affairs' liaison for SACS (Southern Association of Colleges and Schools) faculty rosters and continue to work on a number of other initiatives, including commencement.

"This provost leadership team is beginning to conceptualize other organizational innovations to support faculty teaching, research and service work. We will be seeking faculty input on several ideas shortly," he said.

For more information on the UTPA Office of Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, log on to http://www.panam.edu/provost/.