Posted: 11/16/20

TAMIU’s Professor Bernat Named One of 22 Regents Professors and Regents Fellows


Dr. Frances P. Bernat
Regents Professor Dr. Frances P. Bernat  

The Texas A&M University System Board of Regents has designated Texas A&M International University (TAMIU) professor of Criminal Justice Dr. Frances P. Bernat as one of 15 faculty members and seven agency service, extension or research professionals within the A&M System named Regents Professors and Regents Fellows for 2019-2020. 

“These individuals exemplify the commitment to excellence in research and service that sets A&M System employees apart,” said Elaine Mendoza, Chairman of The Texas A&M University System Board of Regents, “I hope their example will inspire others in their own endeavors.” 

Dr. Bernat has been a member of the TAMIU faculty since 2010.  A prolific researcher, her research interests include: Criminal law and procedure, cybercrime, domestic violence, human sex trafficking, immigration and cross border violence, law and society, STEM education, unaccompanied minors and criminal justice, women and the law and youth resilience and deviance. 

TAMIU president Dr. Pablo Arenaz said Dr. Bernat’s selection is well-deserved.

“Dr. Bernat is truly remarkable and her research acumen and scholarly contribution to her field and our students is unparalleled.  She sets a sterling standard for all members of TAMIU’s gifted faculty and inspires students daily. We commend this affirmation by our Board of Regents, ” Dr. Arenaz said.

TAMIU’s Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, Dr. Claudia San Miguel, concurred that Bernat is an inspiring figure on campus as well as a  national leader and international researcher in her field.

"She has been the editor of an important journal in her field, is a seasoned scholar with an international reputation for documenting the plight of victims of human trafficking, and is a strong and effective advocate at TAMIU for excellence in both teaching and scholarship.  She is an inspiring and valued member of our faculty," Dr. San Miguel said.

Bernat holds her Ph.D. in Political Science from Washington State University and her J.D. from the State University of New York at Buffalo (SUNY-Buffalo).  Her Master of Arts in Sociology was earned at SUNY-Buffalo, as was her Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice.  Prior to coming to TAMIU, she served on the faculty at Arizona State University.

At TAMIU she has been named the Distinguished Scholar of the Year for 2017 and recipient of TAMIU’s Instructional Technology Excellence Award. She received the national Coramae Richey Mann Leadership Award from the National Academy of Criminal Justices, Minority and Women’s Section in 2012. Bernat is a founding member of the Section. In 2018, she was selected as Criminal Justice and Criminology Outstanding Alumni Scholar Award for Washington State University. 

The Board established the Regents Professor Awards program in 1996 and the Regents Fellow Service Awards program in 1998 to recognize employees who have made extraordinary contributions to their university, or agency, as well as to the people of Texas. 

In addition to Dr. Bernat, this year’s recipients of the Regents Professor Award are:

  • Dr. Julia Ballenger, Texas A&M University-Commerce
  • Dr. Jane Bolin, Texas A&M University Health Science Center
  • Dr. Fred Bonner II, Prairie View A&M University
  • Dr. Yassin Hassan, Texas A&M University
  • Dr. Alex Hunt, West Texas A&M University
  • Dr. Patrick Louchouarn, Texas A&M University at Galveston
  • Dr. Bhimanagouda Patil, Texas A&M University AgriLife Research
  • Dr. Luz Mary Rincon, Texas A&M University-Texarkana
  • Dr. Susan Roberson, Texas A&M University-Kingsville
  • Dr. Christine Stanley, Texas A&M University
  • Dr. Gregory Stunz, Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi
  • Dr. David Threadgill, Texas A&M University Health Science Center
  • Dr. Edward Westermann, Texas A&M University-San Antonio
  • Dr. Peter Yu, Texas A&M University.

This year’s recipients of the Regents Fellow Service Awards are:

  • Dr. Diane Boellstorff, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension
  • Mr. D. Lance Bullard, Jr., Texas A&M Transportation Institute
  • Dr. Susan Chrysler, Texas A&M Transportation Institute
  • Mr. John Crawford, Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station
  • Mr. Alphonse Davis, Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service
  • Mr. Wes Moorehead, Texas A&M Forest Service
  • Dr. Ruben Saldaña, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension. 

The selection process for the awards begins with a call for nominations from the chancellor. Final nominations are put forth to the chief executive officer of each respective entity. They are then subject to a System-level review consisting of academic vice chancellors and past recipients of the awards. Finally, nominations are forwarded to the chancellor and the board for final approval.

To date, 268 A&M system faculty members have been recognized with the Regents Professor Award and 157 agency professionals have received the Regents Fellow Service Award. 

About the Texas A&M University System

The Texas A&M University System is one of the largest systems of higher education in the nation with a budget of $6.3 billion. The System is a statewide network of 11 universities; a comprehensive health science center; eight state agencies, including the Texas Division of Emergency Management; and the RELLIS Campus. The Texas A&M System educates more than 151,000 students and makes more than 22 million additional educational contacts through service and outreach programs each year. System-wide, research and development expenditures exceeded $1 billion in FY 2019 and helped drive the state’s economy.

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