Monday, December 3, 2018

By News and Internal Communications

RIO GRANDE VALLEY, TEXAS – The UTRGV College of Education and P-16 Integration was one of four minority-serving institutions awarded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to join the Branch Alliance for Educator Diversity (BranchED), recently recognized as a national Teacher Preparation Transformation Center.

Dr. Alma Rodriguez, interim dean of the College of Education and P-16 Integration, and Dr. Sandra Musanti, associate professor in the Bilingual and Literacy Studies Department, worked on the grant proposal and will co-lead grant implementation.

They will work collaboratively with Branch Ed, which will provide training, technical assistance and funding to UTRGV to advance the outcomes, and amplify the contributions as the second-largest Hispanic Serving Institution in preparing highly effective diverse teachers to educate America’s citizens.

The initial school district partner in the project is Harlingen CISD. Veronica Kortan, administrator for Organizational Development; Jennifer Herrera, Talent Acquisition and Development; and Ms. Celeste Santa Ana, fifth-grade teacher and UTRGV alumna, are part of the project’s initial leadership team.

Funding from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation will help the College of Education and P-16 Integration support ongoing initiatives and program faculty committed to transforming teacher preparation.

“Being part of the Teacher Preparation Transformation Center is a unique opportunity to continue our actual commitment and ongoing initiatives to high quality, sustainable, practice-based, culturally and linguistically sustaining teacher preparation,” Rodriguez said.

The grant is for $374,998 over three years beginning Jan. 1, 2019.


The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV) was created by the Texas Legislature in 2013 as the first major public university of the 21st century in Texas. This transformative initiative provided the opportunity to expand educational opportunities in the Rio Grande Valley, including a new School of Medicine, and made it possible for residents of the region to benefit from the Permanent University Fund – a public endowment contributing support to the University of Texas System and other institutions.

UTRGV has campuses and off-campus research and teaching sites throughout the Rio Grande Valley including in Boca Chica Beach, Brownsville (formerly The University of Texas at Brownsville campus), Edinburg (formerly The University of Texas-Pan American campus), Harlingen, McAllen, Port Isabel, Rio Grande City, and South Padre Island. UTRGV, a comprehensive academic institution, enrolled its first class in the fall of 2015, and the School of Medicine welcomed its first class in the summer of 2016.