August 13, 2008
DALLAS (SMU) — Southern Methodist University Wednesday welcomed Cordelia Chávez Candelaria, an award-winning university administrator, as the new dean of Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences. A campuswide reception was held for her in the Umphrey Lee Center Ballroom.
"It’s an honor for me to follow in the footsteps of so many outstanding educators who have led Dedman College," Candelaria said. "The ingenuity and leadership of my predecessors going back to the University’s founding, combined with the indispensable contributions of the faculty, have built the solid foundation that the world knows as SMU. My goal is to build upon the spirit of innovation that lies within the very core of Dedman."
Candelaria comes to SMU from Arizona State University in Tempe, where she was Regents Professor in the Department of English and the Department of Transborder Chicana/o and Latina/o Studies, a department she once chaired. She also served as associate dean of the Office of Strategic Initiatives in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at ASU.
"Cordelia Candelaria has the experience and vision to provide the leadership needed to meet our aspirations," said SMU President R. Gerald Turner. "From SMU’s opening in 1915, the humanities and sciences have been the centerpiece of the University. As we approach our centennial with a new major gifts campaign, we are committed to raising resources in particular for enhancements to Dedman College."
As founding associate dean for the Office of Strategic Initiatives at ASU, Candelaria focused on enhancing diversity among faculty, administrators and staff for the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, as well as advancing interdisciplinary academic programs. Previously, as vice president for academic affairs for the ASU downtown Phoenix campus, she assisted with preparations to open the full-service city campus, including ASU’s first Information Commons integrating IT, campus library and global Web information systems. She was instrumental in developing curricula and establishing a faculty governance system for the downtown campus.
Candelaria has remained an active teacher and researcher, receiving 18 grants from external funding agencies totaling $3.5 million—12 grants as the principal or co-principal investigator and six as a member of the research team. She is the sole author of six books and "chapbooks," pamphlets containing poems, ballads, stories or religious tracts. Among her publications are the scholarly books Seeking the Perfect Game: Baseball in American Literature and Chicano Poetry, A Critical Introduction. Along with serving as executive editor of the two-volume Encyclopedia of Latino Popular Culture, she has edited or co-edited 10 books, monographs and periodicals and has written nearly 200 book chapters, articles, reviews and poems in periodicals and anthologies.
Candelaria earned a B.A. degree with honors in English and French from Fort Lewis College in Durango, Colorado; a master’s degree in English from the University of Notre Dame; and a Ph.D. degree in American literature and linguistics from Notre Dame. In 1970-72 she studied under a Woodrow Wilson Graduate Fellowship.
Among her numerous awards was receiving the Outstanding Latina Cultural Award in Literary Arts and Publications from the American Association for Higher Education Hispanic Caucus in 2005 and being named Scholar of the Year by the National Association for Chicana and Chicano Studies in 2001. She previously was named a Senior Fulbright Scholar in American Literature at Universidad Católica de Lima, Perú.
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