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Education Professor Recognized for Scholarship on Student Success

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Estela Zarate, professor of educational leadership, has accepted the invitation to be a senior faculty fellow at the Diana Natalicio Institute for Hispanic Student Success at the University of Texas El Paso.

In this yearlong role, Zarate will support the DNI’s research projects, grant writing and development, and strategic and organizational planning. She will have a joint visiting faculty appointment with the College of Education’s Educational Leadership and Foundations Department.

The DNI, launched in 2021, is a national platform for research that advances student success at Hispanic-serving institutions. The institute has been awarded multiple grants, including a recent $7 million grant from the National Science Foundation, to support programs and HSIs that seek to increase student success.

Diana Natalicio, for whom the institute is named, is widely recognized as having transformed UTEP into a national model HSI during her 31-year tenure as president.

“It is impressive to observe and feel what intentional ‘HSI-servingness’ looks like on a campus, from top to bottom,” Zarate said about UTEP.

In establishing its research agenda, the institute will amplify the learnings from UTEP and other established HSIs, and lead conversations and partnerships highlighting Hispanic-serving institutions’ role in increasing college access and retention nationally.

“I am excited to have been invited to this role and honored to have my scholarship recognized this way,” Zarate said.

Zarate’s scholarship on college access and teaching aligns with the DNI’s goals, and this appointment recognizes her contributions to the field. Moreover, her leadership experiences, including being vice provost at Cal State Fullerton for two years, bring an administrator’s perspective to the work of the institute. “Zarate’s scholarship, eliminating inequities in student learning and outcomes, combined with her leadership experience in student success, is aligned with the DNI goals of contributing actionable research that supports HSI institutional identities,” said Anne Marie Nuñez, executive director of DNI and professor of education at UTEP.

Texas also happens to be where Zarate grew up. “It is an extra bonus that El Paso feels like home,” Zarate said.

Estela Zarate