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UTEP Announces New Acting Dean of the Graduate School


UTEP Announces New Acting Dean of the Graduate School


The University of Texas at El Paso President Diana Natalicio has announced that Benjamin C. Flores, Ph.D., will serve as the acting dean of the Graduate School, effective September 1. Flores is a professor of electrical and computer engineering and associate dean of the Graduate School.

Flores, who has received numerous prestigious awards throughout his career, was recognized earlier this year by President Barak Obama with the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentorship. He was among 22 mentors and more than 80 educators nationwide awarded for their efforts to mentor minorities who are studying science and engineering. He leads several University and statewide programs that promote increasing minorities in the workplace with the hope that the next generation of scientists and engineers will better reflect the nation's diversity.

“Ben Flores has gained international recognition for his expertise in the development and assessment of effective and high-impact strategies for fostering access to higher education," Natalicio said. “We are pleased and proud that he will serve as acting dean of the Graduate School. His expertise in creating opportunities for underrepresented minority students, especially in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) is extremely well aligned with UTEP's mission of becoming the first national research university with a 21st century student demographic."

Flores is an expert in retention strategies for nontraditional undergraduate and graduate students in the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) disciplines. From 1999 to 2007 he was the project director of the Model Institutions for Excellence Initiative, which had a funding portfolio of more than $23 million. Currently, he is director of three NSF-funded programs. Flores has gained international recognition as an expert in the effectiveness and impact of strategies for access to higher education. He regularly consults with other institutions, nationally and abroad, on these issues.

“Flores' extensive experience and expertise in mentoring and in leading programs that facilitate graduate student retention and graduation will be outstanding assets for the Graduate School as he leads it during this period," said Patricia Witherspoon, Ph.D., dean of the Graduate School, who will become acting dean of the College of Liberal Arts on Sept. 1.

“The University is going through a very important transitional period as it gears up to become the next Tier One University in Texas," Flores said. “I am very glad to serve in my new interim role. I look forward to making significant progress in our common goal of increasing the number of students who pursue and earn master's and doctoral degrees at UTEP."

Flores joined the UTEP faculty in 1990 after receiving his doctorate in electrical engineering from Arizona State University. During his tenure he has held several administrative positions, including associate dean of graduate studies for the College of Engineering and chair of the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department.

Witherspoon will be acting dean of the College of Liberal Arts while Howard Daudistel, Ph.D., dean of UTEP's College of Liberal Arts, serves as interim provost. A national search is under way to fill the provost position.

Originally posted on News @ UTEP.


The University of Texas at El Paso
College of Engineering
Engineering Building Room A148
500 W University Ave
El Paso, TX 79968

Phone: (915) 747-6444
Fax: (915) 747-5437

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