RISE 2019 Conference

Transforming University Engagement In Pre- and Post-Disaster Environments: Lessons from Puerto Rico

Walter Diaz

Dean of Arts and Sciences

University of Texas Rio Grande Valley


havidan rodriguez photo

Dr. Walter Díaz is the Dean of the College of Liberal Arts at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV) in Edinburg and Brownsville, Texas. Before then, from 2011-2015, he was the Dean of the College of Social Sciences at UTRGV legacy institution the University of Texas Pan American. Prior to this, he was a Full Professor of Political Science in the Department of Social Sciences at the University of Puerto Rico at Mayagüez (UPRM). As a UPRM faculty member he served in various capacities such as Interim Chair of the Department of Social Sciences and Director of its Center for Applied Social Research. At UPRM he taught introductory social science courses, US government, research methods, capstone seminars and quantitative methods. His primary research interests have centered on the social roots and consequences of extreme events, the implications of technology on political participation involvement, access (and success) to higher education and other areas in which the application of social science methodology could be useful. In doing so he developed strong interdisciplinary approaches that led to collaborations with colleagues in fields such as Anthropology, Sociology, Engineering and Biology, as well as with agencies such as the Puerto Rico and Federal Emergency Management agencies, NOAA, the USACE and the US Census Bureau. Dr. Díaz received his BA in Political Science from the University of Puerto Rico, and his MA and Ph.D. in that field from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.