Select Page

20150410

Featured, from left: Congressman Rubén Hinojosa, D-Mercedes; Pedro Reyes, Ph.D., formerly of Alamo, Executive Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs at The University of Texas System in Austin; and Ernest Aliseda of McAllen, Member, The UT System Board of Regents, in Edinburg on Tuesday, August 14, 2014.

Photograph By MARK MONTEMAYOR

Pedro Reyes, Ph.D., the Executive Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs for the mammoth University of Texas System, and who has built a legacy as a long-time champion for student success, is stepping down to return to full-time teaching and research at The University of Texas at Austin. Reyes, who is originally from Alamo in the Rio Grande Valley, will stay through December 2015 in a pivotal role for the UT System leadership, providing guidance on UT-RGV, UT System’s engineering and computer science initiative, the establishment of the Americas Institute and other high-profile projects. “Working with the UT System’s academic presidents to make significant improvements in student success on such a wide scale has been one of the richest and most rewarding experiences of my professional career,” Reyes said. “But now it’s time for me to return to my other passion – teaching and research.” As the top academic leader in the UT System for the last several years, Reyes led a far-reaching – and successful – effort to increase student success and retention at every academic institution. He and his team coordinated funding, training and resources to help each campus set and strive to reach its targets. News of Reyes’ decision came on Thursday, April 9, the same day that Congressman Rubén Hinojosa, D-Mercedes, announced that The National Science Foundation awarded two separate grants to UT-RGV totaling $685,976 for a program that creates a pathway to obtaining a Master’s degree in Mathematics and a workshop that will encourage and assist women of color in entering the field of political science. “The National Science Foundation has long been a great source of support for many vital programs in education throughout our nation”, said Hinojosa. “These grants will benefit so many students at our new UT-RGV for many years. I am very pleased to see that our higher education system in deep South Texas continues to grow in ways that will enhance our communities and our residents throughout the Rio Grande Valley.” The goal of the conference is to provide attendees the necessary skills and networks to enter the political science profession, successfully achieve tenure and sustain their careers thereafter. This workshop brings together scholars from different universities, at different stages in their careers, to deepen intellectual engagement and to build coalitions that support excellence in diversifying the political science profession. Research demonstrates that women of color face barriers such as lack of mentorship, financial resources, and significant familial responsibilities in their pursuit of higher education and subsequent careers in political science. The awards are scheduled to begin this month and May of 201

••••••

Valley native Pedro Reyes, Ph.D., top academic leader at UT System, to return to the classroom; Congressman Hinojosa announces $685,976 grant for UT-RGV students in math and political science

By JENNY LaCOSTE-CAPUTO
and
KAREN ADLER

Pedro Reyes, Ph.D., the Executive Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs for the mammoth University of Texas System, and who has built a legacy as a long-time champion for student success, is stepping down to return to full-time teaching and research at The University of Texas at Austin.

Reyes, who is originally from Alamo in the Rio Grande Valley, will stay through December 2015 in a pivotal role for the UT System leadership, providing guidance on UT-RGV, UT System’s engineering and computer science initiative, the establishment of the Americas Institute and other high-profile projects.

“Working with the UT System’s academic presidents to make significant improvements in student success on such a wide scale has been one of the richest and most rewarding experiences of my professional career,” Reyes said. “But now it’s time for me to return to my other passion – teaching and research.”

As the top academic leader in the UT System for the last several years, Reyes led a far-reaching – and successful – effort to increase student success and retention at every academic institution. He and his team coordinated funding, training and resources to help each campus set and strive to reach its targets.

News of Reyes’ decision came on Thursday, April 9, the same day that Congressman Rubén Hinojosa, D-Mercedes, announced that The National Science Foundation awarded two separate grants to UT-RGV totaling $685,976 for a program that creates a pathway to obtaining a Master’s degree in Mathematics and a workshop that will encourage and assist women of color in entering the field of political science.

The first program is The Pathways to Graduate School and Careers in the Mathematical Sciences project grant for $636,071.00. This program is designed to increase the number of trained scholars ready to enter the STEM workforce.

Scholarship support will be offered to students in South Texas Rio Grande Valley pursuing professional careers in fields requiring a significant background in Mathematics. The effort’s broader impacts lie in the creation of infrastructure for a necessary and permanent South Texas bridge to graduate school and professional careers in the mathematical sciences.

The Pathways project will mentor UT-RGV undergraduates through the vital period from their freshman year to the completion of a Master’s degree. Financial and academic support will be provided to 22 students within UT-RGV’s five-year BS/MS degree in mathematics.

The objective of the project is to prepare students for careers in mathematics, statistics, and related fields through a close support network, early involvement in research, and an emphasis on graduate degree attainment. The recruitment, retention, mentoring, development, and academic support installed through this coordinated approach will provide a solid foundation for future STEM scholars in the Rio Grande Valley. Program assessment and data collected will provide evidence to inform strategies for increasing the success of mathematics mentoring programs at other Minority Serving Institutions.

“The National Science Foundation has long been a great source of support for many vital programs in education throughout our nation”, said Hinojosa. “These grants will benefit so many students at our new UT-RGV for many years. I am very pleased to see that our higher education system in deep South Texas continues to grow in ways that will enhance our communities and our residents throughout the Rio Grande Valley.”

The second grant award for $49,905.00 will be used for a workshop titled, Recruitment and Retention of Women of Color in Political Science to Improve Scholarship and Teaching, San Francisco, CA, September 2015.

The goal of the conference is to provide attendees the necessary skills and networks to enter the political science profession, successfully achieve tenure and sustain their careers thereafter. This workshop brings together scholars from different universities, at different stages in their careers, to deepen intellectual engagement and to build coalitions that support excellence in diversifying the political science profession.

Research demonstrates that women of color face barriers such as lack of mentorship, financial resources, and significant familial responsibilities in their pursuit of higher education and subsequent careers in political science

The awards are scheduled to begin this month and May of 2015.

REYES INSTRUMENTAL IN ESTABLISHMENT OF UT-RGV

“Dr. Reyes has been a tremendous advocate for our students, focusing his efforts on activities that have furthered student excellence across all our campuses,” said Vistasp M. Karbhari, Ph.D., president of The University of Texas at Arlington. “His passion and commitment for student success have been inspirational, and we will miss his quiet and unassuming yet determined manner of ensuring that we exceeded our goals.”

Reyes also was instrumental in the establishment of the new UT-Rio Grande Valley, which will open its doors this fall. UT-RGV will combine the resources and assets of UT Brownsville and UT Pan American, and for the first time, make it possible for residents of the Rio Grande Valley to benefit from the Permanent University Fund.

“Establishing UTRGV has been an exciting and complex process, and we would not be poised to open this historic institution without Dr. Reyes’ formidable leadership,” Chancellor William H. McRaven said. “I have only known Dr. Reyes a few short months, but it doesn’t take long to see the impact of his commitment on Texas higher education. The UT System and each of its academic institutions have made significant advancements under Dr. Reyes’ guidance, and I am grateful for his extraordinary service.”

UT-RGV President Guy Bailey, Ph.D., has worked very closely with Reyes over the past year and also when he served as provost of UT San Antonio from 1998 to 2005.

“I’ve had the pleasure of working with Dr. Reyes while serving at two different UT institutions. I’m so impressed both by his broad understanding of higher education and higher education policy and by his commitment to students and their success,” Bailey said. “It is an honor to work with him and for him.”

In addition to Bailey, Reyes has overseen the appointment of two other academic presidents and has left his mark on numerous other initiatives, including the Institute for Transformational Learning, which, in part, leverages technology to make education more accessible and affordable.

The Academy of Distinguished Teachers was established in 2013 to recognize outstanding educators and to provide a venue to foster innovation and share best practices throughout UT academic institutions.

“We will always be thankful for Dr. Reyes’ amazing dedication to students, staff and faculty throughout the UT System,” Regents Chairman Paul Foster said. “While we’ll miss him in his current role, I’m so pleased that he will continue his good work at UT-Austin.”

Though he will be leaving his current role when a successor is named, Reyes will continue to serve as a special assistant to the Chancellor through December 2015 to provide guidance on UT-RGV, UT System’s engineering and computer science initiative, the establishment of the Americas Institute and other high-profile projects.

Following a sabbatical at Princeton University, Reyes will return to teaching at UT Austin in the fall of 2016.

••••••

Patricia Guillermo contributed to this article.

Share This

Share this post with your friends!