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ELPS students, faculty receive TACHE awards

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Dr. Mariela Rodríguez, Liliana Gutierrez, and Jeanette Morales from the College of Education and Human Development's Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies (ELPS) were recently named recipients of a Texas Association of Chicanos in Higher Education (TACHE) award. They will be presented with their awards at a special gala during the association's state conference in March in Dallas.

Rodrí­guez, professor and associate dean in the UTSA Graduate School, will receive the 2018 Distinguished University Faculty Award for her teaching, research, and service throughout the years.

"This award is a culmination of years of work with my graduate students," said Rodrí­guez. "It's an honor to be recognized for doing something that I love. Teaching is an art as well as a skill, and I find it to be so rewarding. I learn so much from my students and see the teaching and learning process as a reciprocal relationship."

Rodrí­guez received her Ph.D. from New Mexico State University and has been a faculty member in the college since 2004. Dr. Enrique Alemán, Jr., ELPS department chair, nominated her for the award.

"The TACHE Distinguished University Faculty Award represents the high standards held by the ELPS department and the COEHD for high-quality teaching," said Rodrí­guez. "I'm glad to be representing both the ELPS department and the college at the 2018 TACHE State Conference."

Gutierrez and Morales, graduate students in the department, were named 2018 TACHE Graduate Fellows and will each receive a $2,000 fellowship from the association.

"I feel honored to be chosen for this award," said Gutierrez. "Every year, many excellent students submit applications and I feel honored to be one of two graduate students from UTSA chosen for the 2018 TACHE Fellowship Award. Receiving this award gives me even more motivation to continue working hard and complete my doctoral degree."

Each year, TACHE awards four fellowships to graduate students studying community college education and leadership studies, and university and postgraduate education. This award, Morales said, will help them in their pursuit of their graduate degrees.

"In the short term, I hope to use the financial award to help cover my tuition and textbooks," said Morales. "In the long term, I hope to network and leverage the connections I make as a TACHE Graduate Fellow to assist me with my research and utilize the resources and knowledge within the TACHE organization to help advance my research agenda."

"This award makes me feel like my research interest in helping undergraduate single-mother students and underrepresented students succeed academically is appreciated and necessary, and that I need to continue being an advocate for them," added Gutierrez. "With the TACHE Fellowship Award, I plan to continue focusing on my research and increase my knowledge and skill set."

TACHE is a statewide organization focused on improving the educational and employment opportunities for Chicanos in higher education. The TACHE awards are presented annually to faculty, staff, and graduate students from around Texas.

"In the Latino culture, we have madrinas (godmothers) and padrinos (godfathers) that provide assistance and support as we develop physically, emotionally, and spiritually from child to adult," said Morales. "I have been fortunate to have many madrinas and padrinos guide me in life and now on this educational journey. I see this award as additional assistance, un empujón, from the educational community eager to see me succeed in my future endeavors and help address the education inequalities we are all aware of."

Learn more about the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies.

Learn more about the Texas Association of Chicanos in Higher Education.

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