Dr. Melissa A. Fitch, a University Distinguished Professor in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese, will join the Honors College leadership team as Associate Dean of Academic Affairs.
“I have a longstanding commitment to, and connection with, the Honors College. I still maintain contact with many graduates from the college from the last twenty years," Fitch says. "Honors College undergraduates are among the most diverse and multifaceted at the University of Arizona. I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to get to know them better.”
As University Distinguished Professor, Fitch's teaching, research, and service are recognized locally, nationally, and internationally. Since 2009, she has received three Fulbright Awards, most recently to Hong Kong, SAR, China in 2011-12 and to Delhi, India in 2016-17. At UA, she received the Creative Teaching Award (2013), the Five Star Teaching Award (2008), and the General Education Teaching Award (2004).
Fitch is also a second-generation Mexican-American who was born in Los Angeles and raised in the city of San Francisco. During 2015-16 and 2017-18, she served as the Faculty Fellow at the Guerrero Center, the Chicano-Hispano Students Association. Her research has focused on Asian representations of Latin American popular culture. She is author of the book Global Tangos: Travels in the Transnational Imaginary (Bucknell UP, 2015) and Side Dishes: Latin/a American Women, Sex and Cultural Production (Rutgers UP, 2009). In 2015 she was named one of three university-wide 1885 Society Distinguished Fellows, based on her research, teaching, and service.
"Professor Fitch is a natural for the position," says College of Humanities Dean Alain-Philippe Durand. "We are very excited to continue working with her in this new role, and to take COH's longtime relationship with the Honors College to an even higher level."
As Associate Dean of Academic Affairs, one of Fitch’s primary responsibilities will be collaborating with Colleges around the University of Arizona campus to develop academic pathways for Honors students who study in those colleges. The Honors College offers courses to its students which are taught by Honors Interdisciplinary Faculty. In addition, students take courses that are not Honors-exclusive but still provide Honors credit. Fitch will collaborate with colleges and their administration and professors to create unique pathways for honors students to receive honors credit through an honors-worthy experience.
"Perhaps the defining feature of the job, as I see it, is an understanding that one size does not fit all," Fitch says. "There is a need for flexibility whether working with students, staff, parents, alumni and/or community members."
Story written by UA Honors College here.