UF will appoint the first Latin America-born person to be the director for the Center for Latin American Studies this Fall.
On Aug. 2, Carlos de la Torre will start his position at UF, leaving behind his career at the University of Kentucky as a professor in the department of sociology and the director of international studies, said Lenny Ureña Valerio, assistant director for administration in the UF Center for Latin American Studies.
De la Torre, who was born in Quito, Ecuador, said his intellectual journey started at UF when he graduated in 1983 with a bachelor’s in sociology and a certificate in Latin American studies.
He came back to UF briefly in 2006 as a lecturing fellow at the Center for Latin American Studies where he used resources from Smathers Library in the Latin American and Caribbean Collection, Ureña Valerio said.
But for de la Torre, third time’s the charm.
“Given that he is from the [Latin America] region, we hope that that will boost our collaboration with Latin American students here at the university,” Ureña Valerio said. “And also, it will be very good for international students coming into our program.”
As director of international studies at Kentucky, de la Torre increased the student enrollment from 21 students in 2008 to over 319 students in 2011, Ureña Valerio said.
Aside from his career at Kentucky, de la Torre directed the political studies and Ph.D. program at FLACSO Ecuador and the Latin American, Latino and Caribbean studies program at Northeastern University, Ureña Valerio said.
He was successful as director in these programs, Ureña Valerio said.
At FLACSO Ecuador, de la Torre contributed in designing the first Ph.D. program in political studies in the country, and he gained experience coordinating study abroad programs including the Drew University semester abroad program in Chile, Ureña Valerio said.
“He's very interested in diversity,” she said.
Ureña Valerio said during the campus interview, he highlighted areas that need further developing in UF’s program, placing an emphasis on diversity, as he plans to make this program more diverse than it was in the 2018-2019 academic year.
“UF is one of the top schools of the nation, and it will be a great challenge to be part of an intellectual community of first rated scholars at the center for Latin American Studies,” de la Torre said. “I am thrilled to go back to my alma mater.”