From Texas A&M Marketing & Communications

Rafael Lara-Alecio, Regents Professor of Educational Psychology at Texas A&M University, has been selected as a winner of the Southeastern Conference (SEC) 2016 Faculty Achievement Award.

The annual awards recognize faculty members at SEC universities who have outstanding records in teaching, research and scholarship. To be eligible for the SEC Faculty Achievement Award, officials say the individual must have achieved the rank of full professor; have a record of extraordinary teaching and have a record of scholarship that is recognized nationally and/or internationally.

Prof. Lara-Alecio has been a faculty member in Texas A&M’s College of Education and Human Development since 1991. Widely considered an expert in bilingual education, he was honored in 2010 by the Texas Association of Bilingual Education. He has received numerous awards from the university, including the Outstanding Faculty Mentoring Award; Distinguished Achievement Award by The Association of Former Students; and a Diversity Award presented by the Offices of the Provost and Executive Vice President and Dean of Faculties and Associate Provost.

In 2009, he was selected as principal investigator for the President Oscar Arias Multilingual Foundation Project in Costa Rica to conduct a national study for the acquisition of English as a second language. He served on the Texas Education Agency Steering Committee for the development of the Bilingual Target Language Proficiency Test standards and also served on the agency’s State Dual Language Training Development Steering Committee.

Texas A&M Provost and Executive Vice President Karan Watson, who formally submitted the information supporting Lara-Alecio’s nomination for the prestigious award, said he is well deserving of this tribute in which the SEC honors outstanding faculty at its member institutions.

“I could not be more pleased to celebrate the work of Dr. Lara-Alecio, our 2016 SECU Faculty Achievement Award winner,” Watson said. “His accomplishments in teaching and research for bilingual education helps Texas A&M achieve our mission of preparing the next generation of teachers for Texas and is only surpassed by his consummate service to his profession, college and our university community.”

Lara-Alecio said he was honored to be selected and cited the support he has received throughout his professorial career.

“This is an extreme honor for me to have been selected as the Texas A&M SEC Faculty Achievement Award Winner for 2016,” he said. “Being selected for this prestigious Award is humbling and is greatly due to the support of all the countless colleagues, administrators, staff, and students across Texas A&M.”
Dean Joyce Alexander of the College of Education and Human Development said the SEC recognition of Lara-Alecio is well deserved.

“We have always known the wide-spread impact and high quality of Dr. Lara-Alecio’s work here at Texas A&M,” Dean Alexander stated. “The SEC Faculty Achievement Award provides additional recognition for a faculty member who truly transforms lives with his work.”

Top SEC officials underscored the purpose of the awards and cited the benefits to the recipients.

“The SEC Faculty Achievement Awards provide a unique opportunity for our conference to recognize the work of world renowned faculty members from each of our 14 universities,” said Nicholas S. Zeppos, chancellor of Vanderbilt University and president of the Southeastern Conference. “This year’s winners represent some of the brightest and most accomplished individuals in their disciplines, and I offer each of them my sincerest congratulations.”

SEC Faculty Achievement Award winners receive a $5,000 honorarium from the Southeastern Conference and become his or her university’s nominee for the SEC Professor of the Year Award. The SEC Professor of the Year, to be named in April, receives an additional $15,000 honorarium and will be recognized at the SEC Awards Dinner.

SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey said, “The SEC is honored to support the scholarship and research of these 14 men and women, who represent nearly 14,000 full time, tenured professors in the SEC. We appreciate all they have done to empower and encourage students to make a difference, and to positively showcase the Southeastern Conference within the region and around the world.”