Provost and Deans Bring Opportunity and Experience
Due Diligence: New UTEP Provost Proves Hard Work Pays Off
Carol Parker, The University of Texas at El Paso’s new provost and vice president for academic affairs, enjoyed an idyllic childhood growing up on a dairy farm in rural Michigan. Watching her parents run the family farm and being the oldest of eight siblings, she learned responsibility and the value of hard work early in life.
After graduating high school, Parker attended community college as a first-generation college student. Having to work full time made attending college a challenge. She would often have to leave school and go back. Fueled by support from family and professors, she never gave up.
“It was my professors who helped open my eyes to life of the mind, so to speak, and helped me envision more and more possibilities for my future,” Parker said.
Years of persistence eventually paid off: Parker earned her bachelor’s degree in humanities from the Michigan State University Honors College, a master’s degree in information science from the University of Michigan, and a law degree from Wayne State University in Detroit.
After law school, Parker worked as a research attorney for the Michigan Court of Appeals. She later returned to academia and became a law library director, law professor, associate dean, and then vice provost, all at the University of New Mexico (UNM).
Parker said participating in the American Council on Education (ACE) Fellowship program was a pivotal point for her professionally, and her first introduction to UTEP.
The ACE Fellowship is a year-long leadership development program for higher education administrators. The program included visits to more than 30 institutions of higher education, foundations, government agencies and nonprofit organizations.
“We visited a lot of universities … including UTEP,” Parker recalled. “During that visit, I met President Natalicio and learned about the wonderful things UTEP was doing. I kept an eye on UTEP ever since.”
In Parker’s new role, she will be responsible for the oversight and administration of all academic programs, ensuring that they prepare students for a broad range of postgraduate and career opportunities, and increase prosperity and quality of life for the surrounding region.
- Christina Rodriguez
College of Engineering
Maldonado Named Dean
Engineers may be known for designing and building machines, but new College of Engineering Dean Theresa Maldonado, Ph.D., looks forward to constructing possibilities.
"I love the opportunity of being here," said Maldonado, who was appointed dean and professor of electrical engineering effective July 1, 2017. "My parents grew up in border towns; my dad went into the military to get out. I feel like this country needs us - the Latinos, the Hispanics. We need to inspire, embrace and empower Hispanics to be leaders in this country more than they are, and I hope I can really contribute to that because there is so much intelligence and capacity. I just want to build opportunities for these students."
Maldonado most recently served as founding senior vice president for research, innovation and economic development at The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley.
Starting her engineering career at AT&T Bell Laboratories, Maldonado went on to earn a Ph.D. in electrical engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology and pursue research and teaching at The University of Texas at Arlington. She also has served as associate dean of engineering at Texas A&M University, associate vice chancellor of the Texas A&M University System, and division director at the National Science Foundation.
With a distinguished career as an expert on optics, Maldonado has published her work in the Journal of the Optical Society of America, the Journal of Lightwave Technology, and Applied Optics. She has competed successfully for millions of dollars to fund research and education from federal and state sources. She also has received numerous awards for teaching, research and leadership.
- Lauren Macias-Cervantes
College of Health Sciences
New Dean Plans to Expand College’s Global Role
A young boy comes to North America with his poor, immigrant family, not knowing a word of English. He learns about sacrifice and hard work from his loving parents, and excels academically through perseverance and the help of dedicated educators.
The story of Shafik Dharamsi, Ph.D., is similar to that of many students who attend The University of Texas at El Paso. That is among the primary reasons why the first-generation college student accepted the responsibility of becoming the new dean of UTEP’s College of Health Sciences and professor of public health.
Dharamsi previously was an associate dean at the School of Osteopathic Medicine at the University of the Incarnate Word in San Antonio, Texas. The married father of two college students is a native of Tanzania who grew up in Toronto, Canada. He earned his doctorate in 2003 from the University of British Columbia, where he also served as a professor of family medicine. He has extensive education, research and community development experience in Asia, the U.S., Africa and Canada.
He said UTEP’s mission mirrored many of his professional passions, such as a commitment to students, interdisciplinary research, and helping vulnerable populations around the world through community-engaged scholarship.
“UTEP’s College of Health Sciences is in a strong position to help prepare our learners to better understand and engage with a broad range of global issues that affect health and well-being worldwide, (and) to be socially responsive global citizens who can address some of the world’s most pressing problems,” Dharamsi said.
- Daniel Perez