MSU grad Jesse Perez Mendez named dean at Texas Tech

MSU grad Jesse Perez Mendez named dean at Texas Tech

Jesse Perez Mendez, a 1996 graduate of Midwestern State University, has been named the dean of Texas Tech University's College of Education, the university provost announced Tuesday.

Mendez has served as the dean of the Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis School of Education since August 2018. He will begin his new role at Tech Aug. 1.

Mendez is a Wichita Falls native who graduated high school from Notre Dame Catholic School in 1992. He earned his bachelor's degree in political science and history at MSU Texas in 1996 before earning his master's degree in political science from Texas Tech. He earned his juris doctorate from the Maurer School of Law and his doctorate in higher education and student affairs from the School of Education, both at Indiana University-Bloomington.

"Jesse is a natural-born leader, and gets along with many different types of people," said Dr. Samuel Watson, Dean of Prothro-Yeager College of Humanities and Social Sciences. "I witnessed this early on in my time here when he was an undergraduate in some of my classes, active in the Student Government Association (he eventually was elected president), and a member of the MSU College Bowl team I helped coach."

Texas Tech recently achieved official designation as a Hispanic-Serving Institution. Only 15 of the 131 Carnegie Tier One research institutions have accomplished that.

"Through the work of our thoughtful faculty and our student-centered staff, the college is not only poised to directly address the three priorities of Texas Tech's strategic plan, but to also take its place as the country's premier College of Education within a Hispanic-Serving Institution, focusing on societal issues that face children and families from all walks of life through our grant activity, engaged scholarship and instruction," Mendez said. "My interest in returning to Texas Tech was also personal. I'm not only a native Texan from Wichita Falls, but also an alumnus of Texas Tech University - a bond that I share with my brother, who lives in Lubbock with his family."

Mendez's research interests include the dynamics of postsecondary access and policy issues in higher education. His work has been published in the Community College Review, the Journal of Diversity in Higher Education, the NASPA Journal on Women in Higher Education, and the Journal of American Indians in Education. He recently edited the book "Hispanic-Serving Institutions in American Higher Education: A Comprehensive Overview," which offers insight on these institutions and the challenges they face.

Mendez's professional experience includes service as the associate dean for academic affairs and a professor in the College of Education and Human Performance (now the College of Community Innovation and Education) at the University of Florida, the head of the School of Educational Studies at the College of Education at Oklahoma State University (OSU), and as a governor-appointed regent at Northern Oklahoma College, where he also served on the college's foundation board.

His foundation came in Wichita Falls. And Watson is among those not surprised at all by Mendez's success.

"As an instructor and faculty advisor, it is always special when talented students develop to their full potential in their chosen profession, as Jesse has done since he graduated," Watson said. "I am very excited and proud for him in his new role as dean of education at Texas Tech."

Texas Tech is excited to see Mendez returning to his home state.

"Dr. Mendez's varied professional experience, including serving at urban and rural universities, a land-grant institution, a community college and a Hispanic-Serving Institution, gives him a distinct perspective on higher education and how to serve different kinds of communities," Texas Tech Provost Michael Galyean said.

"We welcome Dr. Mendez to Texas Tech University and look forward to his efforts to build upon a legacy of excellence as dean of the College of Education," said Texas Tech President Lawrence Schovanec. "He brings with him an extensive background in higher education and qualities that will further the college's mission of promoting high-quality training and preparation of future educators."

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Mendez elected to teacher education board

Jesse Perez Mendez, dean of Texas Tech’s College of Education, has been elected to the Board of Directors for the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education.
As a board member, Mendez will share in the fiduciary and policy-setting responsibilities of the association. His three-year term starts on March 1.
“I’m honored to have been elected by my peers across the country as an at-large member of the Board of Directors for the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education,” Mendez said. “The College of Education is seen as a state and national leader in educator and administrator preparation. I am thrilled to take on this role during an important time, as our nation faces challenges in meeting the need for well-prepared teachers, administrators, and policymakers.”
The American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education is a national alliance of educator-preparation programs dedicated to high-quality, evidence-based preparation that ensures educators are profession-ready as they enter the classroom.
Mendez, a native of Wichita Falls, has been dean of the Texas Tech College of Education since August 2019.