Ben Flores Appointed Dean of UTEP Graduate School
October 01, 2012 | UNIVERSITY COMMUNICATIONS
The University of Texas at El Paso President Diana Natalicio has announced that Benjamin C. Flores, Ph.D., has been appointed dean of the Graduate School. Flores is a professor of electrical and computer engineering and has served as associate and interim dean of the Graduate School.
Flores earned his bachelor's and master's degrees in electrical engineering from UTEP in 1985 and 1986 and began his work at the University as an assistant professor in 1990 after receiving his doctoral degree in electrical engineering from Arizona State University. During his tenure, he has held several administrative positions, including associate dean of the Graduate School, associate dean of graduate studies for the College of Engineering, director of the Division of Computing and Electrical Engineering, and chair of the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department. In 2010, he was appointed interim dean of the Graduate School.
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 received more than $23 million in funding. He is director of the PUENTES program, a project funded by the U.S. Department of Education that promotes post-baccalaureate opportunities for Hispanics, as well as the UT System Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation, a project dedicated to increasing the number of underrepresented minorities who pursue graduate degrees across Texas. 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.
"Drawing on his own experience as a UTEP undergraduate and the professional development that it enabled for him, Ben Flores has a deeply personal understanding of the importance of UTEP's role in developing the talent of this region's young people and thereby contributing to greater diversity in the STEM workforce," said UTEP President Diana Natalicio. "Today, as a successful professional, he is devoting his talent and time to fostering enriched educational opportunities for generations of students who are following in his footsteps, at UTEP and at universities across Texas."
Flores is the recipient of numerous prestigious awards throughout his career. In 2010 President Barack Obama recognized him with the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentorship. He was among 22 mentors and more than 80 educators nationwide recognized for their efforts to mentor minority students in science and engineering. He leads several University and statewide programs that promote increasing the number of minorities in the workplace with the hope that the next generation of scientists and engineers will better reflect the nation's diversity.
"I am truly honored to serve our institution at a remarkable point in its history and to lead the UTEP Graduate School in its visionary goal of becoming a national model for emerging research universities that aspire to bring high-quality graduate programs to a 21st century student demographic," Flores said. "Now more than ever, the Graduate School faculty and staff are committed to promoting a culture of excellence in education, research and student services and to preparing the next generations of experts and leaders in Texas, the nation, and the world."