Victor Garcia has been selected as Indiana University of Pennsylvania’s 2013-14 Distinguished University Professor.
Garcia is a professor in the anthropology department and director of IUP’s Mid-Atlantic Addiction Research and Training Institute, known as MARTI.
The name of the award, formerly the University Professor award, was changed this year by IUP President Michael Driscoll.
“This title reflects a very special honor given to truly exceptional faculty members who have made significant contributions in the classroom, in research and in scholarship, and who have been leaders in our university community,” Driscoll said.
The change in title, made in consultation with the University Professors group, is designed to reflect the importance of these professors’ positive impact on IUP, he said.
“I have sincerely appreciated the wise counsel and advice that this group of faculty leaders has provided to me as a new president. It has been very apparent that these faculty members continue to serve as leaders for the institution, setting an example of excellence as teacher-scholars who are working to move the institution forward.”
Though the award is given annually, recipients retain the title for life.
“I’m very pleased to have Dr. Garcia join this Distinguished University Professor group,” Driscoll said. “His work exemplifies the university’s priority of diversity and inclusiveness, and he has an incredible record of outstanding work inside and outside of the classroom.”
Garcia, who has been at IUP since 1991, is known internationally as an expert researcher and scholar on the study of Latino immigrants and migrants, the educational plight of Latinos and substance abuse problems among transnational workers from Mexico and Central America.
Much of his work has been conducted in southeastern Pennsylvania among Latino workers in the mushroom industry. His work has been featured in a 2008 PBS documentary series, “Unnatural Causes: Is Inequality Making Us Sick?” in the “Becoming American” episode.
For his research, Garcia has secured 19 grants totaling close to $1.5 million, including a $750,000 grant from the National Institutes of Health. He is a sought-after presenter who has offered 50 research papers and seven posters at national and international conferences and has served as a session organizer, chair or discussant at 24 conferences. He has written 13 research reports and 27 publications, five book chapters and three papers in conference proceedings.
He is co-author of a 2013 book, “Barriers Faced by Hispanic Students Transferring from Community Colleges to the University: An Ethnographic Approach.”
According to Garcia, multicultural issues are a challenge to teach to non-minority students, many of whom were not exposed to other cultures until their arrival at IUP.
“By building on similarities with minority communities, as well as explaining that these students’ communities have been impacted by the same global processes as these minority communities, the students are learning to apply cultural relativism and to understand the changing world around them,” he said.
He has a bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Davis, a master’s degree in Latin American studies from Stanford University and master’s and doctoral degrees in anthropology from the University of California, Santa Barbara.
In addition to his Distinguished University Professor honor, Garcia received the Outstanding Researcher Award from IUP’s College of Humanities and Social Sciences in 2008 and the Outstanding Achievement in Research Award from IUP’s School of Graduate Studies and Research in 2001.