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NMSU College of Engineering dean to be recognized for contributions toward increasing diversity

The Association of Public and Land-grant Universities' Commission on Access, Diversity and Excellence has named Ricardo Jacquez, Ph.D., P.E., dean of the College of Engineering at New Mexico State University, as the 2012 recipient of the Distinguished Service Award for significant contributions to increasing diversity and access in the higher education community. The award will be presented during a luncheon on Nov. 11 during the 125th A.P.L.U. Annual Meeting in Denver, Colo.

This is a head-and-shoulders photo of NMSU College of Engineering Dean Ricardo B. Jacquez.
New Mexico State University College of Engineering Dean Ricardo B. Jacquez will be recognized for his life-long dedication toward increasing diversity and access to minorities in higher education. (NMSU photo by Darren Phillips)

Now in its 13th year, the Distinguished Service Award was established to recognize individuals who have demonstrated sustained accomplishments in one or more of the commission's targeted focuses, including providing access and opportunity in higher education; enhancing the undergraduate experience; increasing diversity in the academic community; creating socially beneficial partnerships; and providing leadership related to diversity and beneficial social change.

"The CADE mission of dedication toward increasing access and opportunity and enhancing diversity in the academic community of our nation is one that we at New Mexico State University share," said Jacquez. "I am greatly honored to be recognized by the commission. NMSU's leadership, faculty and staff are very committed toward the same goal and I believe that our efforts are successful. I'm especially proud of the progress that has been made in the College of Engineering, where increasing minority representation is a particular challenge. More than half of our students are underrepresented ethnic minorities and women, and they make significant contributions toward our nation's dire need for engineers."

"Dr. Jacquez represents the kind of intentionality, commitment and entrepreneurial leadership that is needed by faculty everywhere to support student success," said Lorenzo Esters, vice president for Access and the Advancement of Public Black Universities at A.P.L.U. "He has been an advocate for underrepresented minority students and his outstanding grantsmanship has resulted in success for students at all levels of the academic community with an emphasis on the science, technology, engineering and mathematics disciplines. This is an historic moment for us as Dr. Jacquez is the first faculty member to receive this award in the 13-year history of the award's existence and I cannot think of any human being who is more deserving of this honor. May his service be an example for us all."

Jacquez has dedicated his academic career toward encouraging minority students to pursue higher education and to seek careers in science, technology, engineering and math. Jacquez has served as principal investigator for grants totaling more than $40 million, with the majority of these efforts focused on the mentoring and professional development of community college and university students throughout New Mexico.

Jacquez was founding director of the New Mexico Alliance for Minority Participation and the New Mexico AMP Bridge to the Doctorate program. Approximately 8,000 underrepresented minority students in the state have received STEM degrees through the AMP program since it began in 1983.

In 2008, Jacquez established the Integrated Learning Community program at NMSU, also funded by NSF, to address retention of at-risk engineering students. Entering freshmen move through basic courses as a group and receive supplemental instruction, assistance with academic planning and support and are engaged in hands-on projects. Three times as many at-risk students are retained in engineering if they participate in ILCs.

Also to Jacquez's credit are the founding of the Collaborative for Excellence in Teacher Preparation, the Hewlett Foundation Engineering Schools of the West Initiative, the Computer Science, Engineering and Mathematics Scholarship Program and the STEM Talent Expansion Program.

Jacquez has served as a board member of the New Mexico Mathematics, Engineering, Science Achievement (NM MESA) program; co-chair of the NMSU STEM Education Working Group and faculty adviser to the American Indian Science and Engineering Society. He was founding adviser for the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers student chapter at NMSU, one of the first student chapters in the nation.

In 2007, Jacquez was recognized for his leadership as the recipient of the prestigious Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Mentoring, a White House initiative managed by the National Science Foundation.