Walter Díaz

Walter Díaz

Candidate Evaluation Form:

Evaluation forms due by Thursday, May 22, at noon.

Candidate CV (PDF)

Dr. Walter Díaz is currently the Dean of the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences (CSBS) at the University of Texas-Pan American (UTPA) in Edinburg, Texas, and has served in that position since September of 2011. His academic appointment at UTPA is as a tenured Professor of Political Science. UTPA is an HSI with a student enrollment of just over 20,000. Almost 90% of these students are Hispanic, mostly of Mexican-American descent. A great majority of them are first-generation college students.

As Dean of the CSBS Dr. Díaz has, in collaboration with his staff and colleagues:

  • Worked with faculty to organize programs into more coherent academic units.
  • Encouraged the development of proposals to create new programs such as a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology and MAs in Border Studies, Disaster Studies and Political Science. All of these programs are designed following the notion of engaged scholarship and interdisciplinary collaboration.
  • Enhanced the visibility of the College in the community by expanding its Annual Research Conference, creating its first External Advisory Council and greatly expanding the capabilities of its Center for Survey Research.
  • As a means to increase student success, has stressed the importance of student engagement and mentoring through participation in faculty research projects.
  • Created a Student Advisory Board that meets regularly with him and/or his Assistant Deans.
  • Has successfully advocated for resources to enhance research capabilities across the College. This has included providing support to faculty developing a proposal to develop a Community Clinic that will be part of the Clinical Psychology Ph.D. program.

Prior to arriving at UTPA, Dr. Díaz was a faculty member in the Political Science program in the Department of Social Sciences at the University of Puerto Rico-Mayagüez (UPRM) for 20 years. There he served as Interim Chair of the Department of Social Sciences and as Director of its Center for Applied Social Research. He has an extensive background in interdisciplinary research through his interest in disasters and applied technology. This experience has permitted him to co-teach courses on technological resources available to undergraduates and a course on weather observation technology along with colleagues from the UPRM Department of Electrical Engineering. Though his department did not have graduate programs, he had the opportunity to serve as a member of thesis and dissertation committees in Civil Engineering and served as graduate school representative in Master's and Ph.D. dissertation defenses in Civil Engineering, Mathematics (statistics), Hispanic Studies, English and Electrical Engineering. He has also served as a committee member on Master’s and Ph.D. dissertation committees in Sociology at the University of Delaware thanks to his longstanding collaboration with that university’s Disaster Research Center. His research work has been in collaboration with colleagues from many academic disciplines including the social sciences, electrical and mechanical engineering, biology, physical oceanography, seismology and meteorology.

Support for this work has come from the NIH, NSF, the US Army Corps of Engineers, the National Weather Service and Sea Grant, amongst others. The engaged nature of this work permitted him to serve on the US Army Corps of Engineers Island Hurricane Task Force (2000-2003) and until departing to UTPA in 2011, on the Puerto Rico Tsunami Hazard Mitigation Committee activities as well as those of NOAA's National Tsunami Hazard Mitigation Program (NTHMP).