Dr. Alba Ortiz, a nationally recognized scholar whose work focuses on the education of bilingual students with special needs, has been selected to receive the 2008 Civitatis Award from The University of Texas at Austin.
The Civitatis Award is presented to faculty members who have demonstrated exemplary campus citizenship throughout a career of service at the university. It recognizes dedicated and meritorious service to the university above and beyond the regular expectations of teaching, research and writing.
The award's name derives from the Latin motto that appears on the university's seal--Disciplina Praesidium Civitatis--taken from the words of Mirabeau B. Lamar, former president of the Republic of Texas, meaning "Cultivated mind is the guardian genius of democracy." The recipient is selected by the university's president upon the recommendation of the Faculty Council Executive Committee.
William Powers Jr., president of the university, will present the Civitatis Award and other major university awards to recipients in a ceremony later in the academic year.
Ortiz, the President's Chair for Education Academic Excellence, has been a member of the faculty since 1980, and has served the university in many leadership roles. As chairperson of the Faculty Senate in 1994, she led the politically and organizationally complex process of merging the Faculty Senate and University Council to become the Faculty Council. As chairperson of the Faculty Council in 2005-2006, she engaged the academic community in a review of the report of the Task Force on Curriculum Reform that resulted in significant changes to the core curriculum and to the creation of the School of Undergraduate Studies.
Ortiz also has been chairperson of the Graduate Assembly and the Faculty Grievance Committee and has held other key faculty governance positions. Her administrative appointments include having been associate dean for academic affairs and research and chairperson of the Department of Special Education in the College of Education. Outside the university, Ortiz has received numerous presidential, federal commission and gubernatorial appointments. She is a past president of the Council for Exceptional Children, the nation's premier professional organization for special education.