Texas Tech University

College of Education Names New Dean

Amanda Castro-Crist

June 25, 2019

Jesse Perez Mendez, the dean of the Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis School of Education, will begin in his new role Aug. 1.

Jesse Perez Mendez has been named dean of Texas Tech University's College of Education, the university provost announced today (June 25). He begins in the role Aug. 1.

Since August 2018, Mendez has served as the dean and a professor of the Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) School of Education. At IUPUI, he directed the implementation of the school's administrative infrastructure, served the needs of research centers associated with the school and ensured the school maintained a high level of grant activity.

Jesse Perez Mendez
Jesse Perez Mendez

"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 are excited to welcome him to Texas Tech University and the College of Education."

A native of Wichita Falls, Mendez earned his bachelor's degree in political science and history from Midwestern State University and 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.

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.

Texas Tech recently achieved official designation as a Hispanic-Serving Institution, and of 131 Carnegie Tier One research institutions, is one of just 15 to achieve the milestone.

"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. I know what it means to be a Red Raider, love its institutional culture and enjoy the West Texas spirit of the Hub City."

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.

While at OSU, Mendez held the Donnie and John A. Brock Professorship of Education Leadership and Policy as an associate professor, and in 2010, he was awarded the College of Education Leadership and Service Award. Mendez also was a nationally selected Fellow for the American College of Education during the 2015-2016 academic year, spending his fellowship year in the Office of the Provost at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

"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."

Mendez was one of five finalists in Texas Tech's search for a replacement for Dean Scott Ridley, who led the college from 2011 until his death in October 2018. Robin Lock, a professor of special education, served as interim dean.

"I am appreciative of search committee chairwoman and Jerry S. Rawls College of Business Dean Margaret Williams and the committee for their dedication to the process and collaboration with Martin Baker of the Buffkin-Baker search firm in delivering a talented pool of clients," Galyean said. "I also am very grateful for Dr. Robin Lock's effective leadership as interim dean of the College of Education during a challenging transition period."