2013: Victor Garcia, Anthropology

  • Victor Garcia was recognized as a Distinguished University Professor in 2013.

    Garcia is a professor in the anthropology department and director of IUP’s Mid-Atlantic Addiction Research and Training Institute, known as MARTI. Distinguished University Professor Victor Garcia

    The name of the award, formerly the University Professor award, was changed this year by IUP President Michael Driscoll.

    “This title reflects a very special honor given to truly exceptional faculty members who have made significant contributions in the classroom, in research and in scholarship, and who have been leaders in our university community,” Driscoll said. 

    The change in title, made in consultation with the University Professors group, is designed to reflect the importance of these professors’ positive impact on IUP, he said.
    “I have sincerely appreciated the wise counsel and advice that this group of faculty leaders has provided to me as a new president. It has been very apparent that these faculty members continue to serve as leaders for the institution, setting an example of excellence as teacher-scholars who are working to move the institution forward.”

    Though the award is given annually, recipients retain the title for life.

    “I’m very pleased to have Dr. Garcia join this Distinguished University Professor group,” Driscoll said. “His work exemplifies the university’s priority of diversity and inclusiveness, and he has an incredible record of outstanding work inside and outside of the classroom.”

    Garcia, who has been at IUP since 1991, is known internationally as an expert researcher and scholar on the study of Latino immigrants and migrants, the educational plight of Latinos and substance abuse problems among transnational workers from Mexico and Central America. 

    Much of his work has been conducted in southeastern Pennsylvania among Latino workers in the mushroom industry. His work has been featured in a 2008 PBS documentary series, “Unnatural Causes: Is Inequality Making Us Sick?” in the “Becoming American” episode.

    “It is a privilege and an honor to be selected IUP’s 2013-14 Distinguished University Professor and to be recognized for my many efforts, particularly my research on transnational Latino communities and my retention work with Latino students,” Garcia said.

    “I wish to share this special recognition with my current and retired colleagues at the Mid-Atlantic Addiction Research and Training Institute who have inspired me and have made my many contributions possible. I also want to share this honor with the many students whom I have mentored over the years, especially this year’s crop. They, too, have inspired me and have served to remind me of why I am at IUP.”  

    For his research, Garcia has secured 19 grants totaling close to $1.5 million, including a $750,000 grant from the National Institutes of Health. He is a sought-after presenter who has offered 50 research papers and seven posters at national and international conferences and has served as a session organizer, chair or discussant at 24 conferences. He has written 13 research reports and 27 publications, five book chapters and three papers in conference proceedings. 

    He is co-author of a 2013 book, “Barriers Faced by Hispanic Students Transferring from Community Colleges to the University: An Ethnographic Approach.”

    Garcia was selected to serve on a National Institutes of Health study group, the Community Influences on Health Behavior, which reviews and recommends proposals for research funds. He also was selected for the Cultural Anthropology and Linguistic Panel of the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship program, which makes decisions on funding for outstanding graduate students. 

    He has developed two significant courses important to understanding Latin America and Latinos in the United States, and he teaches several anthropology courses in the department. He also directs a number of independent studies and McNair Scholars Program research projects. 

    “As an anthropologist and active researcher, the teacher-scholar model is at the center of my teaching philosophy,” Garcia said. “I make every effort to incorporate my research findings and field experiences into the teaching material of all my courses. I also use the work of the anthropologists of Latin America in my courses.”

    According to Garcia, multicultural issues are a challenge to teach to non-minority students, many of whom were not exposed to other cultures until their arrival at IUP.

    “By building on similarities with minority communities, as well as explaining that these students’ communities have been impacted by the same global processes as these minority communities, the students are learning to apply cultural relativism and to understand the changing world around them,” he said.

    Garcia also works to increase awareness of social issues and promote activism through research and community work. 

    He continues to serve in leadership roles on many university committees and has been active in helping to recruit Latino students to IUP by developing community-based outreach and recruitment measures. He has developed and implemented an on-campus retention program for Latino students, Caring About Latino Student Achievement, the first of its kind for a Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education university. 

    As director of MARTI, he has been responsible for garnering external funds to complement the operational budget and has been successful in securing 17 different grants. MARTI’s focus is on addiction-related research, which includes domestic violence, veteran readjustment issues, and alcohol and drug abuse. 

    During his tenure as Distinguished University Professor, Garcia plans to revisit and re-examine his data on substance abuse treatment programs found in transnational Mexican communities in southeastern Pennsylvania. He will publish his results in a new book and in journal articles. He will also re-examine and publish findings about three Alcoholics Anonymous-based treatment programs used in Pennsylvania and Mexico for this transnational population. 

    “I’m excited that the Distinguished University Professor honor will allow me to build on years of substance abuse research in Pennsylvania and use those findings to make a contribution to helping to keep the labor force in the commonwealth healthy.”

    Garcia said this work will also allow him to build on his scholarly expertise, strengthen MARTI’s mission regarding substance abuse research, create more opportunities for grant-funded initiatives and enrich his classroom teaching and the knowledge he can offer IUP students.

    Garcia has a bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Davis, a master’s degree in Latin American studies from Stanford University and master’s and doctoral degrees in anthropology from the University of California, Santa Barbara.

    In addition to his Distinguished University Professor honor, he received the Outstanding Researcher Award from IUP’s College of Humanities and Social Sciences in 2008 and the Outstanding Achievement in Research Award from IUP’s School of Graduate Studies and Research in 2001. 
    Victor Garcia has been selected as Indiana University of Pennsylvania’s 2013-14 Distinguished University Professor.

    Garcia is a professor in the anthropology department and director of IUP’s Mid-Atlantic Addiction Research and Training Institute, known as MARTI.

    The name of the award, formerly the University Professor award, was changed this year by IUP President Michael Driscoll.

    “This title reflects a very special honor given to truly exceptional faculty members who have made significant contributions in the classroom, in research and in scholarship, and who have been leaders in our university community,” Driscoll said. 

    The change in title, made in consultation with the University Professors group, is designed to reflect the importance of these professors’ positive impact on IUP, he said.

    “I have sincerely appreciated the wise counsel and advice that this group of faculty leaders has provided to me as a new president. It has been very apparent that these faculty members continue to serve as leaders for the institution, setting an example of excellence as teacher-scholars who are working to move the institution forward.”

    Though the award is given annually, recipients retain the title for life.

    “I’m very pleased to have Dr. Garcia join this Distinguished University Professor group,” Driscoll said. “His work exemplifies the university’s priority of diversity and inclusiveness, and he has an incredible record of outstanding work inside and outside of the classroom.”

    Garcia, who has been at IUP since 1991, is known internationally as an expert researcher and scholar on the study of Latino immigrants and migrants, the educational plight of Latinos and substance abuse problems among transnational workers from Mexico and Central America. 

    Much of his work has been conducted in southeastern Pennsylvania among Latino workers in the mushroom industry. His work has been featured in a 2008 PBS documentary series, “Unnatural Causes: Is Inequality Making Us Sick?” in the “Becoming American” episode.

    “It is a privilege and an honor to be selected IUP’s 2013-14 Distinguished University Professor and to be recognized for my many efforts, particularly my research on transnational Latino communities and my retention work with Latino students,” Garcia said.

    “I wish to share this special recognition with my current and retired colleagues at the Mid-Atlantic Addiction Research and Training Institute who have inspired me and have made my many contributions possible. I also want to share this honor with the many students whom I have mentored over the years, especially this year’s crop. They, too, have inspired me and have served to remind me of why I am at IUP.”  

    For his research, Garcia has secured 19 grants totaling close to $1.5 million, including a $750,000 grant from the National Institutes of Health. He is a sought-after presenter who has offered 50 research papers and seven posters at national and international conferences and has served as a session organizer, chair or discussant at 24 conferences. He has written 13 research reports and 27 publications, five book chapters and three papers in conference proceedings. 

    He is co-author of a 2013 book, “Barriers Faced by Hispanic Students Transferring from Community Colleges to the University: An Ethnographic Approach.”

    Garcia was selected to serve on a National Institutes of Health study group, the Community Influences on Health Behavior, which reviews and recommends proposals for research funds. He also was selected for the Cultural Anthropology and Linguistic Panel of the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship program, which makes decisions on funding for outstanding graduate students. 

    He has developed two significant courses important to understanding Latin America and Latinos in the United States, and he teaches several anthropology courses in the department. He also directs a number of independent studies and McNair Scholars Program research projects. 

    “As an anthropologist and active researcher, the teacher-scholar model is at the center of my teaching philosophy,” Garcia said. “I make every effort to incorporate my research findings and field experiences into the teaching material of all my courses. I also use the work of the anthropologists of Latin America in my courses.”

    According to Garcia, multicultural issues are a challenge to teach to non-minority students, many of whom were not exposed to other cultures until their arrival at IUP.

    “By building on similarities with minority communities, as well as explaining that these students’ communities have been impacted by the same global processes as these minority communities, the students are learning to apply cultural relativism and to understand the changing world around them,” he said.

    Garcia also works to increase awareness of social issues and promote activism through research and community work. 

    He continues to serve in leadership roles on many university committees and has been active in helping to recruit Latino students to IUP by developing community-based outreach and recruitment measures. He has developed and implemented an on-campus retention program for Latino students, Caring About Latino Student Achievement, the first of its kind for a Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education university. 

    As director of MARTI, he has been responsible for garnering external funds to complement the operational budget and has been successful in securing 17 different grants. MARTI’s focus is on addiction-related research, which includes domestic violence, veteran readjustment issues, and alcohol and drug abuse. 

    During his tenure as Distinguished University Professor, Garcia plans to revisit and re-examine his data on substance abuse treatment programs found in transnational Mexican communities in southeastern Pennsylvania. He will publish his results in a new book and in journal articles. He will also re-examine and publish findings about three Alcoholics Anonymous-based treatment programs used in Pennsylvania and Mexico for this transnational population. 

    “I’m excited that the Distinguished University Professor honor will allow me to build on years of substance abuse research in Pennsylvania and use those findings to make a contribution to helping to keep the labor force in the commonwealth healthy.”

    Garcia said this work will also allow him to build on his scholarly expertise, strengthen MARTI’s mission regarding substance abuse research, create more opportunities for grant-funded initiatives and enrich his classroom teaching and the knowledge he can offer IUP students.

    Garcia has a bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Davis, a master’s degree in Latin American studies from Stanford University and master’s and doctoral degrees in anthropology from the University of California, Santa Barbara.

    In addition to his Distinguished University Professor honor, he received the Outstanding Researcher Award from IUP’s College of Humanities and Social Sciences in 2008 and the Outstanding Achievement in Research Award from IUP’s School of Graduate Studies and Research in 2001.