FEATURES: San Miguel acclimates to provost promotion
By Neto Gonzalez
Published Sunday, Dec. 3, 2023
In a significant change for TAMIU, the former College of Arts and Sciences dean stepped into the esteemed position of provost this semester. She brings with her a wealth of experience and a lifelong dedication to student success.
Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Claudia San Miguel was always deeply committed to higher education, and her journey to becoming Texas A&M International University’s provost is a testament to her dedication. Her recent appointment proves to be a dream come true; she can’t curb her enthusiasm for the promotion.
“[I’m] absolutely thrilled, super excited, overjoyed, all of that level of enthusiasm when you finally achieve something you’ve been wanting for such a long time,” she said.
As a lifelong TAMIU community member, San Miguel’s connection to the institution runs deep. She graduated with her bachelor’s and master’s from the University. After earning her doctorate and a brief stint at another institution, she returned, fortunate to have the opportunity to give back to her alma mater.
Her entire career focuses on student success, particularly in a region where academic resources are not as readily available. She dedicated herself to ensuring TAMIU students have access to quality programs and support services. Becoming the provost was the culmination of this lifelong dedication, and said she can’t help but feel humbled and thrilled.
San Miguel’s responsibilities as provost extend to overseeing academic affairs, modifying existing degree programs and proposing new ones based on market needs. Her vision encompasses not only academic programs, but also support services for students. Her role is crucial and she is determined to make a lasting impact.
In the short term, San Miguel’s focuses on aligning academic programs with job market demands. She aims to equip students with both core and marketable skills, along with the essential soft skills that make them attractive to employers.
“We’re making sure that our students not only get the foundational skills, but also the accelerated skills to be able to be successful once they graduate,” San Miguel said.
On the faculty side, she emphasized the importance of providing the necessary infrastructure and support to help educators excel in their roles. Ensuring the institution’s accreditation is another priority, as it is essential for the University’s credibility.
When it comes to innovations in academic programs and curriculum, San Miguel said she is open to exploring various methods to cater to a diverse student population. She mentioned synchronous classes and hybrid courses as possibilities, highlighting the success of synchronous classes in certain programs.
“It’s making sure that we offer different types of modalities for different types of student populations,” she said.
She also expressed an interest in multidisciplinary classes that could help students understand the interconnectedness of different fields. One of the initiatives she finds most exciting is the promotion of experiential learning and internships. She believes in the power of students applying classroom knowledge into the real world, helping them bridge the gap between theory and practice.
“I’m a huge proponent of experiential learning experiences, more internships, more service learning opportunities, where students are able to connect the dots between what they’re learning in the classroom,” San Miguel said.
She also envisioned offering multidisciplinary courses centered around a single topic, allowing students to dissect it from various angles, helping them develop critical thinking skills.
San Miguel’s journey, from department chair to dean of arts and sciences, prepared her for the provost role. These experiences had given her insights into the complexities of academic administration, problem solving and mediation. Her background as a faculty member allows her to empathize with the challenges faced by educators.
She emphasized that the University is a collective effort. She encourages open discussions and collaboration from students and faculty, underlining the importance of shared responsibility in ensuring the University’s success. Her appointment as provost was not just about her vision but about the shared dream of creating a thriving academic community at TAMIU.