Posted: 6/03/21

TAMIU Campus Organizations Grow, Progress Under All-Female Leadership



A recently published article by UN Women, a United Nations entity that dedicates itself to gender equality and female empowerment, noted the global increase of women in positions of leadership.

According to UN Women, these claimed spaces by female leaders include a record-breaking number of female CEOs among Fortune 500 businesses, a gender-equal Olympic Games – Tokyo 2021 that includes a near 49 percent participation rate by female athletes, a health and social care workforce that is comprised of nearly 70 percent females, and women who now serve as Heads of State or Government in 22 countries.

At Texas A&M International University (TAMIU), female leadership is taking shape through the combined efforts of women leading campus-wide organizations.

For the second year in a row, women are leading TAMIU’s Faculty Senate led by current president Dr. Lola Norris, associate professor of Spanish and Translation and incoming president Dr. Maria de Lourdes Viloria, associate professor of Education; Staff Senate current president Ana Maria Vargas, associate director of Web and incoming president Cihtlalli Perez, institutional effectiveness officer at University College; and Student Government Association past Student Body president Mariana Rodríguez and incoming president Lourdes Boardman. 

Through their leadership efforts, they help represent and advocate for the interests of faculty, staff, and students at the University. Individuals are appointed to their respective positions by vote and help formulate recommendations to the University administration.

For Norris, assuming a leadership position was an opportunity to help serve others. Through the guidance of her mentors, the late Dr. Frances Gates Rhodes and Dr. Kenneth Tobin, Norris was elected as President of the Faculty Senate in 2019 and re-elected in 2020. She is the 20th president and third woman to lead the Faculty Senate, and the first to serve two terms. 

“Service is an essential part of a university professor’s job next to research and teaching. I have served in many departmental, college, and university committees over the years and gradually taken on more leadership responsibilities. Service is very important to me and so is shared governance,” explained Norris.

Incoming president Dr. Maria de Lourdes Viloria also noted her dedication to service leadership and acknowledges the impact made by past Faculty Senate presidents.

“Service leadership has always been part of who I am as a mother, sibling, aunt, mentor, educator, and colleague. Therefore, as soon as I had an opportunity to represent my college at the university level in the Faculty Senate, I welcomed the opportunity,” said Viloria.

For Staff Senate President Ana Maria Vargas, advocating for the University’s staff members alongside an all-female 2020-21 Staff Senate Executive Board were instrumental in the organization of appreciation events.

“Serving on the Staff Senate Executive Board these past three years has allowed me to obtain a more enlightened and humanistic view of our University. Together with fellow Board members, we’re able to serve our peers, provide their suggestions and feedback to the University’s Executive Council, and collaborate with others on different campus initiatives to make the University a better place to work,” said Vargas.

Incoming Staff Senate President Cihtlalli Perez hopes to continue the collaborative efforts between the University’s faculty, staff, and student organizations.

“The goal is to continue for the Staff Senate Board to be the voice for staff matters and to highlight and celebrate the hard work of our staff. Furthermore, I would like to continue the new collaboration between Faculty Senate, SGA, and Staff Senate to have better communication, awareness, and collaboration to better support our TAMIU community,” said Perez.

Despite the ongoing COVID-19 Pandemic, outgoing Student Body President Mariana Rodríguez noted the pivotal role students played in maintaining campus safety, while also supporting campus togetherness.

“This year, I tried to focus on building relationships, increasing student morale, and supporting Dustdevils. With projects like the promotion of the Open Educational Resources, the Big Event Fundraiser, the TAMIU Juice, the creation of the Diversity and Inclusivity Committee, and the upcoming Celebration of Life and the Dustdevil Discount, we were able to accomplish our goals,” said Rodríguez.

Incoming Student Body President Lourdes Boardman is prepared to take on her new role and to reinvigorate the student experience as students return to the in-person classroom setting. 

“I want to continue and maintain all the positive changes that past SGA members have made and I felt like I had the support and passion needed to fulfill the position of Student Body President…I want for students to come back or start their University experience with motivation and certainty that they are being listened to and cared for,” said Boardman.

TAMIU’s Fall 2021 plans are focused on a return to a full and vibrant on-campus experience for all students, faculty and staff at the 300-acre northeast Laredo campus. 

Future students can visit https://www.tamiu.edu/prospect for more information.

Registration for Summer sessions and Fall at TAMIU is currently underway. Fall classes begin Monday, Aug. 23, 2021.

For more on Registration, go to https://www.tamiu.edu/registrar/registration

A broad range of additional University information is also available online at https://www.tamiu.edu and from the University’s social media channels on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter and YouTube.

Pictured, from L - R is Mariana Rodriguez, Dr. Maria de Lourdes Viloria, Cihtlalli Perez, Lourdes Boardman, Ana Maria Vargas and Dr. Lola Norris.

For the second year in a row, women are leading TAMIU’s Faculty Senate, Staff Senate and Student Government Association. Pictured, from L - R is Mariana Rodriguez, Dr. Maria de Lourdes Viloria, Cihtlalli Perez, Lourdes Boardman, Ana Maria Vargas and Dr. Lola Norris.