Monday, September 16, 2019

New leadership and personnel within UTSA Academic Success

New leadership and personnel within UTSA Academic Success

(May 21, 2019) -- UTSA Senior Vice Provost for Academic Affairs Heather Shipley recently announced several changes in Academic Success, which includes offices that support undergraduate studies, career-engaged learning and faculty success.

Mario Vela ’04, ’08 has been hired as executive director of the UTSA Career Center. He started May 1. A native of south Texas, Vela joins UTSA from Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, where he has spent the past seven years as assistant director of business development and then director of employer relations for the Kellogg School of Management. In these roles he built and maintained strong partnerships with employers to promote recruitment of the university’s MBA students, directed 150 recruiting events and more than 4,000 job interviews, coached students, and developed strategic recruiting partnerships domestically and internationally. In 2016 Vela was recognized by Negocios Now in its annual list of Latinos 40 Under 40, which recognizes the leadership of Latinos in the Chicago area. He received his master’s in sociology and his bachelor’s in sociology and philosophy from UTSA.

Vela fills a vacancy left when previous director Audrey Magnuson retired in 2018. Yvonne Gonzalez, who stepped in to serve as interim director, will resume her role as associate director of the Career Center.

Last fall, the Career Center and the Office of Undergraduate Research moved into Academic Affairs and under Shipley’s leadership in order to strategically align UTSA’s academic enterprise with experiential learning activities and career readiness. Upon further realignment, now the Career Center, Center for Civic Engagement, Pre-Professional Office, Office of Undergraduate Research, and the Center for Innovation, Technology and Entrepreneurship (CITE) have moved under a newly created Career-Engaged Learning area within the division of Academic Success. In addition, the McNair Scholars and Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (LSAMP) programs have been moved into the Office of Undergraduate Research.

Darrell Balderrama is now the director of undergraduate research programs due to his experience overseeing the university’s McNair Scholars and LSAMP undergraduate research and retention programs for the last decade. In this new role, he will be responsible for overseeing, promoting and enhancing all undergraduate research programs and initiatives at UTSA.

Within the Faculty Success/Affairs area, Judith Verdon has been hired as director of faculty professional development. In this new role, Verdon will provide leadership, training and development expertise to support the success of the university’s faculty and academic leaders. For the past 16 years, Verdon has worked in the UTSA Training and Development office, utilizing her facilitation, organizational and analytical skills to effectively train and develop the university’s staff and faculty, including administrative leaders.

Additionally, Kirstin Wilsey, who most recently served as assistant dean for fiscal administration in the UTSA College of Engineering, has been hired as assistant vice provost of academic administration. In this position, Wilsey will oversee the faculty recruitment and hiring process in addition to providing leadership and daily management of the human resources, fiscal and business operations for all of Academic Affairs.

Lastly, Si Millican, who has served as associate vice provost for core curriculum since September 2018, has been appointed associate vice provost for undergraduate studies. In this new role, Millican will oversee the core curriculum and Texas Success Initiative office, and be responsible for administering articulation agreements between UTSA and partnering institutions, and for reviewing undergraduate student petitions, appeals, grievances, and reinstatements. He maintains his concurrent faculty position as professor of music. 

- KC Gonzalez


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