UTSA English doctoral program honored second time as Excelencia Award finalist

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UTSA Professor Jeanne Reesman and Rep. Charlie Gonzales at Excelencia Award ceremony in Washington, D.C.

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By Kris Rodriguez
Public Affairs Specialist

(Oct. 17, 2012) -- For the second consecutive year, the UTSA doctoral program in English
was recognized as an Example of Excelencia Award finalist in the graduate school category at
a recent ceremony at the Capitol Building in Washington, D.C.

Excelencia in Education is one of America's top programs in increasing degree completion among Latinos at the associate, bachelor's and graduate degree levels. The organization aims to accelerate higher education success for Latino students by providing data-driven analysis of the educational status of Latino students and by promoting education policies and institutional practices that support their academic achievement.

UTSA's program was nominated by Jeanne Reesman, UTSA professor and graduate adviser of record, and Norma Cantu, UTSA professor emeritus.

"Our program deserves recognition for its focus on promoting and achieving the dramatic success of Latino and Latina students at the graduate level in the field of literary and cultural studies," said Reesman. "While the doctoral program is only 12 years old, it has demonstrated a record of achievement in graduating Latino and Latina students."

Since its establishment in 2000, the doctoral program in English has awarded 20 degrees, and 12 recipients or 60 percent, were Latina or Latino students. Of the current doctoral degree candidates, 46 percent are Latina or Latino and 52 percent of the students enrolled in the doctoral program are Latina or Latino.

With an emphasis on cross-cultural studies, Latina and Latino studies, and rhetoric and composition, the UTSA doctoral degree in English addresses the need for more doctoral degrees in English with emphasis in Latino and Latino studies and rhetoric and composition to enter academia and train future leaders and professionals.

Twenty faculty members teach in the program and have received numerous accolades including 12 Fulbright lectureships and grants from the National Education Association, National Endowment for the Humanities and the National Science Foundation. Additionally, faculty members have garnered fellowships with the Huntington Library, California Historical Society, Newberry Library, Folger Shakespeare Library and Japan Society for the Promotion of Science, and a Catedra Laboris at the Universidad de Monterrey.

Faculty honors include the National Association of Chicana and Chicano Studies Scholar of the Year in 2008, International Latino Book Prize for Poetry Translation in 2008, Nora Balakian Citation for Excellence in Reviewing in 2007 and the Modern Language Association Prize for Distinguished Bibliography in 2003.

Doctoral students in the program have received five Ford Foundation fellowships, Presidential Dissertation fellowships, Smithsonian Graduate fellowships, UTSA Graduate School H.E.B. fellowships and Louise and Michael Beldon doctoral scholarships.

>> Learn more at the UTSA Department of English website.