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Internationally Recognized Scholar Named Dean of UNH College of Arts and Sciences

Release Date:
12/5/2011 5:35 PM
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Dec. 5, 2011

University of New Haven: Lourdes Maria Alvarez, features Lourdes Maria Alvarez

WEST HAVEN, CONN. --- Lourdes Maria Alvarez, chair of the department of Modern Languages and Literatures at Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., has been appointed dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of New Haven

Alvarez, who also serves as an associate professor of Spanish at Catholic University, is an internationally recognized scholar of medieval Spain and earned her doctoral degree from Yale University. She will join UNH in February, 2012.

“Dr. Alvarez brings to UNH strong experience in developing interdisciplinary opportunities across department and college lines,” says President Steven H. Kaplan.  “We anticipate that, by promoting innovation and teamwork, she will further strengthen the interdisciplinary culture of excellence that has been fostered in our College of Arts and Sciences.”

At Catholic University, Alvarez has overseen a period of rapid change and expansion, adding several non-Western languages to the curriculum, fostering active partnerships across school and departmental lines, revamping the curriculum, and rethinking language instruction to increase rigor and strengthen student performance.

She also has created a certificate program in Spanish for health care professionals offered in conjunction with the School of Nursing at Catholic University, and has expanded offerings in Spanish translation that included numerous opportunities for students to put their translation and interpretation skills to use in the community.

Alvarez also served as director of Catholic University’s Center for Medieval and Byzantine Studies where she oversaw interdisciplinary programs at the graduate and undergraduate levels and coordinated the efforts of more than 40 faculty members from schools across the university.

Before joining Catholic University in 2001, Alvarez was as an assistant professor and director of the Spanish section in the division of Languages and Literature at Bard College, where she was director of the Interdisciplinary Program in Latin American and Iberian Studies from 1995-2000.

Alvarez, a recipient of a Fulbright Senior Research Fellowship for Morocco in 2000, earned her B.A. in neurobiology at the University of California at Berkeley, her M.A. in Spanish from San Francisco State University and her Ph.D. in Spanish from Yale University, where she was awarded the Richard Franke Fellowship in the Humanities.

Conversant in five languages, Alvarez is the author of a book and numerous book chapters, journal articles and conference papers.

The University of New Haven is a private, top-tier comprehensive institution recognized as a national leader in experiential education. Founded in 1920 on the campus of Yale University in cooperation with Northeastern University, UNH moved to its current West Haven campus in 1960. The University provides its students with a unique combination of a solid liberal arts education and real-world, hands-on career and research opportunities. UNH enrolls approximately 6,400, including nearly 1,800 graduate students and more than 4,600 undergraduates – the majority of whom reside in University housing. Through its College of Arts and Sciences, College of Business, Henry C. Lee College of Criminal Justice and Forensic Sciences, Tagliatela College of Engineering, and University College, UNH offers 75 undergraduate and graduate degree programs. UNH students have access to more than 50 study abroad programs worldwide and its student-athletes compete in 17 varsity sports in the NCAA Division II’s highly competitive Northeast-10 Athletic Conference.