University of New Mexico Associate Provost Virginia Scharff announced today the appointment of Professor A. Gabriel Meléndez as director of the Center for Regional Studies effective March 1, 2017. 

“I am very pleased to have Gabriel join UNM’s leadership team,” said Scharff. “He is a highly accom­plished scholar and distinguished professor in American Studies.  His record of exemplary leadership, service and support of student success made him an ideal choice for the position.”

Meléndez is a distinguished UNM professor and former chair of the department of American Studies at UNM. After obtaining his doctorate from UNM in 1984, he taught at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City, Utah and at Mills College in Oakland Calif. before returning to UNM to complete a Rockefeller Humanities Fellowship at the Southwest Hispanic Research Institute in 1991. He joined the faculty in American Studies in 1994, and is a well-established scholar of southwest borderland studies.

“I am delighted to be selected as the director of the Center for Regional Studies,” said Meléndez.  “I am excited about this opportunity and look forward to working with the Center’s staff and faculty to advance research and scholarship on southwest borderland topics. I also look forward to building on the efforts of Interim Director Aracely Chapa to create new programs, seek fundraising and foster campus partnerships to enhance CRS’ mission and goals.”

Meléndez has more than 10 years of administrative experience and a successful record of placing undergraduate and graduate students in careers in higher education and other professions. While at UNM, he has been at the forefront of efforts to make the University a standout minority/majority-serving institution, been co-chair of the Title V Faculty Advisory Board - a group that oversaw a $2.8 million Title V grant that sponsored faculty workshops on diversity and implemented programs to improve the retention and graduation rates of first-generation and traditionally underrepresented students.  He also served on the advisory committee for the Mellon Diversity Dissertation Program that offers graduate fellowships to eligible Latino and Native American students. 

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