Following the departure of Calvin Phillips back in April 2012, the University has made due with an interim dean of students. But now the void has been filled, as Mari Fuentes-Martin has been appointed to the role of associate vice president and dean of students starting Jan. 14.
Martin was offered the position in mid-December, before faculty and staff left for the holiday break. The decision was announced by VP of Student Affairs Martha Cantu, Jan. 8 via a memo to students, faculty and staff.
Martin has served in the same role at The University of Texas-Brownsville and Texas Southmost College since 2004. Martin, who resides in Weslaco, had been with UTB since 2000.
“When I read the recent strategic plan that UTPA released in early fall, I felt that many of my professional goals closely matched the new institution goals,” Martin said. “As a native of the RGV, I want to make an impact on the development of the future leaders of the Valley and the State.”
The position has been held by Magdalena Hinojosa, but now that the position is filled, Hinojosa will return to her normal job as senior associate for enrollment services at the Office of Enrollment Services.
According to Delma Olivarez, assistant to the dean of students, Martin’s focus will be to advocate for students as an administrator. Some of her responsibilities will be the management of student services and student programs such as the Office of Student Involvement, Student Rights, and the Student Union itself.
“I would like to see more students involved with more departments and services that are available to enhance their college experience,” Martin said. “Students should get the most out of all of the opportunities college has to offer at UTPA.”
Martin earned her undergraduate degree in history and business administration and a master of science degree in administration from the University of Notre Dame, as well as a doctorate of education from Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi. During her time at these institutions, Martin held teaching and administrative positions.
“Serving students and making their college experience a well-rounded one is why I love my job,” Martin said. “It will take awhile to become familiar with UTPA and how it’s organized, and to get to know everyone. I’m looking forward to working with Dr. Cantu and my new colleagues and meeting as many students as I can.”