Dr. Maria Lamarque Named Hispanic Outreach Faculty of the Year

A&M-Commerce and the Office of Hispanic Outreach and Student Programs has awarded Dr. María Lamarque a Hispanic Outreach Faculty of the Year Award for 2012-2013. The award honors a professor who dedicates his or her experience, knowledge and scholarship to Latino students. Awardees must demonstrate commitment to academic excellence, diversity and service. Student nomination is required.

Lamarque, an associate professor in the department of Literature and Languages and the director of Spanish Graduate Studies, visited 15 high schools to recruit teachers for the Spanish master’s program last year. The student population in the program is 70 percent high school teachers. Under Lamarque’s leadership, the number of new Hispanic enrollees in the Spanish master’s program, including international students, and the number of Hispanic students graduating from the program have both doubled.

In his nomination, Gilbert Hernández, coordinator for Hispanic Outreach and Student Programs and former student of Lamarque’s, said that her willingness to clarify any questions and to seek financial support for her students makes her a worthy choice.

“Her charismatic approach for instruction and her high expectations of her students are the perfect combination for a great learning environment. Dr. Lamarque certainly leaves a positive impact on the lives of students at A&M-Commerce,” Hernández said.

Lamarque organizes the Hispanic Film Showcase and the Spanish Tertulia for A&M-Commerce, allowing the community exposure to Hispanic art and a space to practice Spanish in informal gatherings. However, Lamarque’s push for diversity and globalization extends beyond the campus. She has taught classes in Brazil and Spain. Her international research has produced 26 publications, and she has presented in more than a dozen countries.

Despite her achievements, Lamarque did not expect to receive the award.

“It was a great surprise for me,” said Lamarque. “It is a great honor to serve all students at the university and to promote a place free of prejudices and biases toward other cultures. My goal has always been to strive to be an advocate for integration and to make this university truly a ‘universe’ of globalized ideas and knowledge. I am sincerely grateful that I have this opportunity and thankful to have been even considered for such a nomination.”