Latin American Literature Scholar to Lead UTEP’s Liberal Arts College

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The University of Texas at El Paso has appointed a scholar of Latin American literature from Houston as dean of the College of Liberal Arts.

Anadeli Bencomo, originally from Venezuela, will officially start work on June 1. Bencomo was previously a professor of Latin American literature and cultural studies at the University of Houston.

She also held a few administrative positions at the university; as Associate Dean for Faculty and Research at the University of Houston College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences. She has also served as Chair of the Department of Hispanic Studies and Director of Spanish Graduate Studies.

She started working at the University of Houston as an assistant professor in 1999.

Bencomo will lead the university’s largest college; which has 25 departments and programs serving nearly 6,600 students.

Like many at UTEP, Bencomo is a first-generation college graduate. In the 2020-2021 academic year, 51% of UTEP graduates identified themselves as first-generation college graduates.

UTEP President Heather Wilson said in a press release this week that Bencomo’s background in Hispanic studies would fit well at Borderland University.

“Dr. Bencomo’s extensive experience in university administration and his knowledge of Hispanic studies will advance student success in our College of Liberal Arts,” Wilson said in the statement. “I am thrilled to see the impact of his leadership innovative on our students and on research.”

The new dean of the College of Liberal Arts at the University of Texas at El Paso, Anadeli Bencomo.  Courtesy picture.

Bencomo earned a doctorate and master’s degree in Latin American literature from the University of Pittsburgh and Simón Bolívar University, Caracas, Venezuela, respectively. Bencomo holds a higher diploma in modern French studies from the Alliance Française de Paris.

She has received two Fulbright Fellowships and two Rockefeller Foundation Grants for conducting research in Mexico.

“From day one, I plan to be a constant advocate for our commitment to enriching the college experience for UTEP students, engaging with the community of El Paso-Juárez, and modeling creativity and critical thinking needed to thrive as professionals,” Bencomo said in the statement.

Bencomo replaces Denis O’Hearn who led the college since July 2018. O’Hearn will become a faculty member and focus on his research on the indigenous Unangan people of the Aleutian and Pribilof Islands.

“The University is grateful to Dr. O’Hearn for his contributions as Dean of the College of Liberal Arts, and we wish him well as he returns to his research and the classroom,” UTEP Provost and Vice -President for Academic Affairs John Wiebe said in the statement.

UTEP’s College of Liberal Arts oversees programs in social and behavioral sciences, as well as humanities and visual and performing arts.

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Cristina Carreon can be reached at [email protected] and @Cris_carreon90 on Twitter.

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