Posted on September 14, 2023 by Chloe Johnson

The HACU has named Mary Hernandez (left) and Erica Sosa (right) as fellows in its leadership academy, La Academia de Liderazgo

The HACU has named Mary Hernandez (left) and Erica Sosa (right) as fellows in its leadership academy, La Academia de Liderazgo

The Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU) has named Mary G. Hernandez, UTSA senior associate vice president for administration and operations, and Erica T. Sosa, a professor and associate dean for research success in the UTSA College for Health, Community and Policy (HCAP), as fellows in its leadership academy, La Academia de Liderazgo. Hernandez and Sosa will join 48 other higher education professionals from across the country who were also admitted to the program for the 2023-2024 academic year. 

Established in 2019, the year-long leadership academy is designed to develop and train the next generation of well-rounded higher education leaders from a diverse range of backgrounds. The program prepares participants for senior-level leadership roles at colleges and universities, with an emphasis on existing and emerging Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSIs).

“UTSA is committed to developing outstanding future leaders, and this program is a great opportunity to learn how higher education leaders can better serve today’s students,” said Heather Shipley, UTSA interim provost and senior vice president for academic affairs. “We’re excited to support Mary and Erica with this fellowship and help them continue to build on the remarkable leadership skills that they have already demonstrated thus far at UTSA.” 

Hernandez joined UTSA in 2019, bringing with her more than 25 years of higher education administration experience. In her current role, she oversees many critical administrative units at UTSA, including People Excellence, Campus Services, the Business Affairs Business Service Center, Risk and Emergency Management, Business Affairs Strategic Communications and Pandemic Operations.

Prior to joining UTSA, Hernandez served as the chief of staff to Texas Southmost College President Jesús Roberto Rogríguez and as board liaison. In this role, she improved institutional operations and governance. Prior to Texas Southmost, Hernandez was the senior executive director for procurement and travel services at Texas State Technical College.

Sosa joined UTSA faculty in 2009. In addition to serving as the associate dean for research success in HCAP, she is also graduate advisor of record in the UTSA Department of Public Health and chair of the college’s ad-hoc scholarship committee. Furthermore, Sosa co-directs the UTSA Center for Community Based and Applied Health Research, which promotes health equity and examines health issues impacting the community. 

In 2019–2020, Sosa participated in the first cohort of the UTSA Next-Gen Faculty Leadership Fellow Program, a competitive faculty leadership development program offered by UTSA Academic Affairs. The initiative has supported more than a dozen UTSA faculty fellows, many of whom, like Sosa, have assumed leadership roles within the university.

HACU fellows spend the year exploring leadership principles and current issues in higher education by participating in a series of conferences, seminars and webinars. The academy’s faculty—which includes over a dozen nationally recognized university presidents and senior-level administrators—covers topics like establishing an institutional vision, advocacy and external relations, and fundraising and resource development. Fellows will use knowledge gained over the course of the year to develop a special project or initiative designed to positively impact their home institution.

Additionally, participants will attend a seminar in Spain that coincides with HACU’s biennial international conference, giving fellows an immersive look at global matters in academia and a chance to network with colleagues around the world.

Learn more about HACU and La Academia de Liderazgo.
Discover professional development opportunities for UTSA faculty.

Six UTSA faculty members and administrators have been selected for the HACU Leadership Academy since the program’s inception, including Enrique Alemán (2019-2020), Rhonda M. Gonzales (2020-2021), Juan Manuel Sanchez (2021-2022), Sandra D. García, Juan B. Gutiérrez, and René Zenteno (2022-2023).

Founded in 1986, HACU champions Hispanic success in higher education and is the only national association representing existing and emerging HSIs. As an HSI with a student population that is 58% Hispanic, UTSA is committed to providing exceptional training and development opportunities for faculty and staff at all stages of their careers, and cultivating talented leaders who reflect the unique student body that the university serves.

— Chloe Johnson