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Regents’ Professor Candelaria accepts SMU post


May 19, 2008

ASU is saying goodbye to Regents’ Professor Cordelia Candelaria, who is leaving to assume the position of dean of Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences at Southern Methodist University in Dallas.

Candelaria has been a member of the ASU community for more than 15 years. She is a Regents’ Professor in the Department of English and the Department of Transborder Chicana/o and Latina/o Studies, a department she helped establish and chaired from 2000 to 2005.

She also serves as associate dean of the Office of Strategic Initiatives in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at ASU.

“I’m excited by this new challenge, and also at the prospect of returning to a smaller institution like those I attended: the University of Notre Dame and Fort Lewis College,” Candelaria says. “I hope to take the best approaches and innovations from our work in public universities and combine them with the finest practices of respected private institutions. The potential is powerful.”

As founding associate dean for the office of strategic initiatives at ASU, Candelaria focused on enhancing excellence in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences by achieving measurable outcomes of diversity in faculty hiring, and by advancing interdisciplinary academic programs.

Previously, as vice provost for academic affairs at the Downtown Phoenix campus, she assisted with the preparations needed to open the full-service campus in the city’s urban center. She appointed talented directors to head the Downtown Phoenix campus’ integrated information commons, a facility offering library services, electronic and digital resources, and access to global information systems to all ASU students and other downtown patrons.

“It has been inspirational to watch Dr. Cordelia Candelaria work as a researcher, mentor, administrator and poet,” says Manuel de Jesus Hernandez, a professor of Spanish and Chicano literature at ASU. “Dr. Candelaria is deeply committed to her work, and I have seen multiple examples of her success as a professor by observing the work of the students she has mentored.”

Regents’ Professor Alberto Rios agrees, saying that Candelaria “made things make sense, and she could contextualize and embrace the range of thought on all issues.”

Candelaria, who initiated her career in higher education in the 1970s, lights up every time she talks about her students and their achievements.

“As a teacher, I encourage students to have a strong, focused commitment to achieve their goals,” she says. “At the same time, I emphasize that it’s equally important to have a noble purpose larger than oneself and then to apply that purpose to making a positive difference in the world.”

She also expresses a deep appreciation for her colleagues and the impact they had in her life.

“I’ll miss my ASU familia greatly, and I wish the university and Arizona continued success,” she says.