In making the announcement, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Rodolfo Arévalo said that Rocha had broad support from the faculty within the college and from other administrators on campus.
"His background, in terms of being a faculty member and department chair and of having had additional experience through the American College of Education Fellows program, provided the greatest fit for what we were looking for," Arévalo said. "He is an individual who both understands the various departments (within the college) and possesses administrative experience."
Rocha, who earned a PhD in history from Texas Tech University in 1981, has been serving as interim dean of the College of Arts and Humanities since last spring, when he took over for Dr. Will Davis, who took a leave of absence from the university.
An associate professor of history who first joined the faculty in 1978, Dr. Rocha served as associate dean of the college in 1997-98 and has been chair of the Department of History since 1993. He also served as interim department chair in 1984-85 and as curator as the Rio Grande Valley Historical Collection from 1982 to 1989.
He has been a member of the editorial board for the publication of the proceedings of the Mexican-Americans in Texas History Conference since 1992 and is a member of the Southwestern Historical Association and the Texas State Historical Association.
During the 1998-99 academic year, he was an ACE Fellow, serving administrative internships at Southwest Texas State University and UT Pan American, and during the spring semester, he was co-chair of the Library Director Search Committee at UTPA.
Rocha also serves as a faculty member in the doctoral program in educational leadership in the College of Education and has been a visiting professor in the Division de Estudios Superiores de la Facultad de Letras y Filosofia at Universidad Autonoma de Nuevo Leon in Monterrey, Mexico.
He has numerous publications and has been a presenter at conferences throughout the U.S. and Mexico.