Thursday, May 12, 2022
  Awards and Recognitions, Faculty Focus

By News and Internal Communications

UTRGV Faculty Excellence Award Winners
2021-2022 UTRGV Faculty Excellence Award Winners

RIO GRANDE VALLEY, TEXAS – Ten faculty members have been named recipients of the 2021-2022 UTRGV Faculty Excellence Awards.

The awards are given annually and recognize UTRGV faculty who have demonstrated outstanding work in seven areas: teaching (both for tenure/tenure-track and non-tenure track ranks), online teaching, research, service, student mentoring, community-engaged scholarship and sustainability education.

Two new awards were installed this year: Distinguished Career and Emerging Scholar.

Dr. Janna Arney, UTRGV executive vice president and provost, congratulated the honorees.

“We are proud to celebrate our esteemed faculty and all they have accomplished,” Arney said. “UTRGV is fortunate to have exceptional faculty shaping our students and having an impact on the university and the Rio Grande Valley community. These awards recognize their dedication and their successes, and I am grateful they are Vaqueros.”

Each faculty winner receives a $5,000 monetary award.

Recipients of the 2021-2022 UTRGV Faculty Excellence Awards are:

  • Teaching (Tenure and Tenure-Track): Horacio Vasquez, professor, Mechanical Engineering, College of Engineering and Computer Science. 
  • Teaching (Non-Tenure Track): Salma Mahmood, lecturer III, School of Mathematics and Statistical Sciences, College of Sciences.
  • Research-Scholarship-Creative Work: Karl Berg, associate professor, Biology, College of Sciences.
  • Online Teaching: Kathryn Perez, associate professor, Biology, College of Sciences.
  • Service:Robert Dearth, professor, Biology, College of Sciences. 
  • Student Mentoring:Pushpa Soti, assistant professor, Biology, College of Sciences. 
  • Community Engaged Scholarship:Christopher J. Vitek, professor, Biology, College of Sciences. 
  • Sustainability Education:Sylvia A. Robles, assistant professor, International Business and Entrepreneurship, Robert C. Vackar College of Business and Entrepreneurship.
  • Distinguished Career: Mohammed Farooqui, professor, Biology, College of Sciences.
  • Emerging Scholar:Alejandro Lopez-Juarez, assistant professor, Health and Biomedical Sciences, College of Health Professions.

The awards are sponsored by the university’s Office of the Executive Vice President and Provost; Office of Faculty Success and Diversity; Division of Research; Center for Online Learning and Teaching Technology; and Division of Institutional Advancement.


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.