Sept 8, 2015Vol. 46, Issue 1

Welcome, Deans Vela and Jacquez

This fall, the University welcomes the addition of two new deans. Eddie Vela, former interim dean of the College of Behavioral and Social Sciences (BSS), was permanently appointed March 18; and Ricardo Jacquez, former dean of the college of engineering at New Mexico State University (NMSU), joined the College of Engineering, Computer Science, and Construction Management (ECC) Aug. 1.

Vela’s new role is the latest in a history of campus leadership positions. Since joining the Department of Psychology in 1989, he has served as associate dean, director of the Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching, and interim chair of the Department of Multicultural and Gender Studies.

Eddie Vela

A recipient of outstanding professor and master teacher awards, he is also actively involved in service at the University; he currently serves on the University Internship Policy Committee, University Diversity Council, Liberal Studies Advisory Board, Academy e-Learning Advisory Board and Academic Planning Committee.

Vela has a broad interest in the field of cognitive psychology and conducts research on topics related to memory, problem solving, concept formation, perception, and evolutionary psychology. He holds bachelor’s degrees in psychology and philosophy from Texas State University, and master's and doctorate degrees in cognitive psychology from Texas A&M University.

“Being asked to serve as the dean for the College of Behavioral and Social Sciences is among the highest honors I have received in my career,” he said. “In line with my approach in the classroom, my fundamental goal is to do everything I can to promote high-quality educational experiences and opportunities for our students. The dedicated efforts of our faculty and staff are fundamentally important, and ultimately responsible, for the success of our students. A focus on promoting faculty and staff well-being and professional growth is therefore crucial to the wider goal of providing exceptional educational experiences for students.”

Like Vela, Jacquez served in numerous leadership positions prior to his appointment as dean of ECC. At NMSU, he served as chair of the civil engineering department, associate provost, and, since 2010, dean of the college of engineering, where he led 150 faculty and staff and served 2,600 students. 

Ricardo Jacquez

Throughout his 31-year career, Jacquez has focused on increasing college access to students from diverse backgrounds. AT NMSU, he served as founding director of the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) Louis Stokes Alliances for Minority Participation, which works to improve diversity among graduates of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics programs. In 2012, he received a distinguished service award from the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities Commission on Access, Diversity, and Excellence for his contributions to increasing diversity and access in higher education.

He is also the recipient of a 2007 Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Mentoring from the NSF, and has served as principal investigator for more than 30 grants totaling about $40 million. 

A registered professional engineer, Jacquez’s technical discipline is civil-environmental engineering with a particular interest in the application of microbiology to treating wastewater. He holds undergraduate and graduate degrees in civil engineering: a doctorate from Virginia Tech and master’s and bachelor’s degrees from NMSU.

“I am excited about my appointment to serve as dean of the College of Engineering, Computer Science, and Construction Management at CSU, Chico,” Jacquez said. “The college’s programs of study provide academic excellence, meaningful engagement, and important pre-professional experience to our students as they prepare to serve the state of California and the nation. I look forward to working with the faculty and staff, and I am committed to serving the students as the leader for the college.”

Vela can be reached at; contact Jacquez at

—Sarah Langford, Editor 



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