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Torres to speak at COE 2014 Spring Convocation

  |   Michael Childs   |   Permalink   |   Spotlight

Vasti Torres (M.Ed. '86, Ph.D. '97), dean of the University of South Florida College of Education.

Vasti Torres, dean of the University of South Florida College of Education and University of Georgia alumna, will be the guest speaker at the UGA College of Education's 2014 Spring Convocation on Thursday, May 8 at the Classic Center in downtown Athens. The convocation is scheduled from 1-3 p.m.

Torres (M.Ed. '86, Ph.D. '97), a seasoned educator who has nearly two decades of experience in higher education as a professor, researcher and administrator, was named education dean at USF in summer 2013. She earned her doctorate in counseling and student affairs administration from UGA and received a COE Distinguished Alumni Professional Achievement Award in 2007.

The West Palm Beach, Fla., native and Stetson University graduate joined USF from Indiana University-Bloomington, where she has served as professor of educational leadership and policy studies and director of the Center for Postsecondary Research since 2010.

The externally funded center is known throughout North American higher education for administering the annual National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE), which measures the level of student participation in institutionally sponsored programs and activities as a reflection of collegiate quality. More than 1,400 colleges and universities in the United States and Canada have taken part in NSSE over the years.

The center also conducts research on undergraduate student learning environments, faculty use of effective teaching strategies, and best practices in assessing college student learning outcomes, among other topics, for many education-focused organizations including the College Board and the Lumina and Spencer foundations.

Torres' research has focuses on the dynamics and factors linked to the academic success or failure of working students, as well as her personal research concentration on the college experience of Latino students.

Prior to her tenure at IU, where she also has served as an affiliate faculty member in Latino Studies, as program chair in higher education and student affairs, and director of the university's Project on Academic Success, Torres was an assistant professor of higher education administration at George Washington University in Washington, D.C.

She has additional experience as assistant dean of students at the University of Virginia, assistant director for residence life at Emory University, and associate vice provost and dean for enrollment and student services at Portland State University in Oregon.

A widely sought-after conference speaker and the author or co-author of four books, including the upcoming The Latino College Student Experience: Understanding Developmental and Environmental Influences, Torres was a Fulbright Specialist assigned in South Africa from November 2011 until August 2012. She is a recipient of the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators' Contribution to Research and Literature Award and was a Diamond Honoree of the American College Personnel Association in 2005.

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