BLACKSBURG, Va., Sept. 22, 2008 – Manuel A. Pérez-Quiñones, has been appointed to the new position of associate dean in residence and director for the office of diversity programs in The Virginia Tech Graduate School.
Pérez-Quiñones, an associate professor of computer science at the university, is the first to hold this new part-time position. Concurrently, he will continue to teach and research in a reduced capacity in the Department of Computer Science.
“This position allows me to continue the diversity activities I have been involved with for some time, and to develop new initiatives for The Graduate School community,” said Pérez-Quiñones
In 2006 Karen DePauw, dean of the Virginia Tech Graduate School, developed a taskforce to study diversity issues within the graduate community. Chaired by James Turner, professor of mathematics, the taskforce created the new position Pérez-Quiñones now holds.
“The Virginia Tech Graduate School will become a destination for scholars from diverse backgrounds who wish to pursue graduate study. We will become excellent at not only attracting diverse students, but retaining and graduating them,” says DePauw.
New initiatives will be organized under the categories of recruitment, retention, and fostering an inclusive and welcoming climate. Pérez-Quiñones states the management of climate is the most challenging task he will face.
“Part of my duties will be to improve graduate education by creating an environment of inclusiveness that makes all students welcomed and accepted during their tenure at Virginia Tech,” says Pérez-Quiñones.
Throughout his career, Pérez-Quiñones has been involved in service activities focused on diversity such as being a member of the national organization Coalition to Diversify Computing, and co-directing the Collaborative Research Experiences for Undergraduates (CREU). At Virginia Tech, he is a member of the MultiCultural Fellows, a group sponsored by the Office for Inclusion and Equity (http://www.oei.vt.edu/) that serves as a sounding board for university practices regarding diversity initiatives. This academic year he also serves as chair of the Hispanic Faculty and Staff Caucus.
Pérez-Quiñones earned a doctor in science degree from The George Washington University in 1996. He received a National Science Foundation Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Award during his tenure as an assistant professor in the electrical and computer engineering department at the University of Puerto Rico at Mayagüez. Pérez-Quiñones was appointed to the teaching faculty at Virginia Tech in 2000.