TitleProfessor of Bicultural-Bilingual Studies, The University of Texas at San Antonio
Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction, 1999
As a University of Texas Alum, I am honored to be recognized by the Curriculum & Instruction faculty. Prior to pursuing my doctorate, I had fifteen years of experience in education as an early childhood bilingual teacher, a school counselor, and a university bilingual education teacher coordinator. While I found these positions rewarding, I was driven by a social justice vision of educational equity and the desire to obtain a faculty position; hence, I decided to pursue my doctorate.
In selecting UT, over other Tier I universities, I was drawn to the C&I doctoral program for two reasons. Foremost, the program allowed me to intersect my research interests in bilingual education and educational psychology. Second, I wanted to learn from nationally known faculty, such as Drs. George Blanco, Doug Foley; and Richard Valencia. While at UT, I also had the opportunity to take classes with other outstanding faculty like Drs. Diane Schallert and Teresa Garcia. While my doctoral classes challenged me to think critically, these faculty members encouraged me to develop original research ideas. I can confidentially state that my doctoral program prepared me well.
Life After UT
In 2000, I received the Outstanding Dissertation Award from The National Association for Bilingual Education. As an assistant professor, I received the 2004 University of Texas at San Antonio President’s Distinguished Award for Research Excellence. Based on my dissertation and early research work, in 2003, I founded the UTSA’s Academy for Teacher Excellence (ATE). As ATE’s principal investigator, I have secured over $17 million dollars to recruit, prepare, and retain Latinos and other minorities into the critical teacher shortage areas, such as bilingual education, mathematics, science, and special education. To provide educational opportunities, along the PreK-20 continuum, I have designed, implemented, and studied various innovative projects such as La Clase Mágica (an afterschool technology-integration program); iCLASS: Innovative Community of Learning Advancing Student Success (early college for Latino youth); Teacher Academy Learning Community (teacher candidate support); and Teacher Academy Induction Learning Community (novice teacher mentoring). As a result of these efforts, ATE was honored by the UTSA President’s Distinguished Inaugural Award for Diversity and as an Example of ¡Excelencia! Finalist in Washington, D.C. As a researcher, I have published numerous articles in top journals and I am the lead editor of Teacher Preparation for Bilingual Student Populations: Educar para Transformar. In recognition of my work, in 2012, I was inducted into the San Antonio Women’s Hall of Fame and was selected as the Texas Association for Bilingual Education Higher Education Honoree. At UTSA, I am currently Professor and Chair of the Bicultural-Bilingual Studies Department. Formally, I was Provost Fellow and the Chair of the Interdisciplinary Learning and Teaching Department.
Advice for Students
My advice to current and prospective students is to be a visionary thinker, challenge yourself in your studies and research, share your ideas with faculty and peers, and become a transformative innovator and leader. At UT, this is possible and much more, follow your dreams!