Dr. Torres Prepared For Latest Leadership Challenge


Written by: Ashley Green (cehdcomm@tamu.edu)
Post date: May 09, 2017

When Dr. Mario Torres becomes interim department head in the Department of Educational Administration and Human Resource Development, his top priority is moving forward his predecessor’s agenda, while also expanding on it.

Dr. Fred Nafukho spent his eight years as department head focused on building climate and culture while also collaborating on various approaches to teaching, research and service. While continuing that mission, Dr. Torres also hopes to transfer a piece of that energy to monitoring quality of performance through teaching, research and service.

“My expectations would be – and perhaps they’re a bit ambitious – that we would be comparable in research quality with all the top academic institutions in the country. I’m a bit of an idealist when it comes to this, I realize that, but I do feel we are capable of much, much more.”

While Dr. Torres was working on his doctorate at Penn State he started to find his niche as a researcher. He became part of a handful of researchers nationally that looked at the relationship between context and legal implementation and how the courts decided on cases dealing with student rights.

“I became fascinated with the realities of schooling and the complexities of providing education to children who were dealing with many personal challenges. I was very intrigued with the idea of leadership and policy and developed an interest in looking at how leadership mixes with policy implementation.”

In 2003, Dr. Torres brought that research to Texas A&M as an assistant professor. During his 14 years with the department, Dr. Torres has served in several leadership roles, including program chair for the educational administration program and associate department chair. Becoming department head has long been a desire and he has been mentally preparing himself for the challenge for many years.

“It’s a people-oriented role. Leaders have to be relatable and approachable. However, leaders, even the most skilled and dedicated, are seldom all things to all people. There are the sobering realities to being a department chair. I understand that, but I think what makes it so attractive is you have some leverage in shaping an agenda and encouraging innovation to achieve the strategic goals of the college.”

Dr. Torres says the best piece of advice he received from Dr. Nafukho is to build relationships and foster trust. Transitioning from a faculty member to a department chair, he is most looking forward to working closely with faculty, staff and students to enhance the overall academic experience at Texas A&M. Dr. Torres knows this will be challenging, but he also believes the rewarding aspects far outweigh the negatives.

“I just hope that, through my deeds and actions, people will see my commitment to their success and the success of the department and college.”