|- Dr. Laura Saenz|
Saenz, who was chosen in a competitive selection process, will work closely with Dr. Kristin Croyle, vice provost for Undergraduate Education, in overseeing ongoing efforts in curriculum, teaching and assessment, as well as shepherding new initiatives. Croyle said Saenz will continue her responsibilities as a faculty member while serving in the Office of Undergraduate Studies.
"I am excited to have the opportunity to work with Laura," Croyle said. "Her experience with the public school system, administrative skill, and great problem solving abilities will all be assets to Undergraduate Studies."
Saenz holds a Ph.D. in Education and Human Development from Vanderbilt University. From 1999-2002, she was a lecturer in UTPA's College of Education before assuming a tenure-track faculty position with the special education program in the college's Department of Educational Psychology. Saenz has served as a program coordinator in the undergraduate and graduate special education programs and, recently, as associate dean for Undergraduate Studies in the College of Education.
A native of McAllen, Saenz is a graduate of McAllen High School and UT Pan American, where she received her bachelor's degree in interdisciplinary studies in 1992. She earned her teaching certificates through UTPA's teacher preparation program that same year.
Saenz taught in the McAllen and Weslaco Independent School Districts and holds Texas teaching certificates in K-Grade 8 general education and all-level special education. She has provided extensive training to school districts within and outside the state of Texas on curriculum-based measurement, peer-assisted learning strategies and response-to-intervention.
Saenz also has been and continues to be involved in federally-funded research projects. Currently, she is co-principal investigator on a research project funded through an Institute of Education Sciences grant which promotes vocabulary development among at-risk preschoolers and involves local teachers and preschoolers as participants.
Saenz said she felt honored to be selected for the position and looks forward to the opportunity to work with Croyle and the office's staff.
"UTPA is near and dear to my heart especially given that I earned my bachelor's degree here almost 20 years ago," she said."I am eager to serve this institution, its faculty, and students in whatever way I am needed."
Her appointment was effective Jan. 16, 2012.
For more information, contact the Office of Undergraduate Studies at (956) 665-7919.