Maria Torres has been at CUC since1976 and has been Dean of Chicano/Latino Student Affairs since 1980. Ms. Torres grew up in the Coachella valley, and graduated from Coachella Valley High School. She come from a large Mexican family that made a living as farm workers. A first-generation college student, Ms. Torres received her undergraduate degree in Spanish Literature from UC Riverside. Her M.A. degree is in Spanish from New Mexico State University in Las Cruces, and her areas of specialization include Chicano Literature, Bilingualism and Sociolinguistics. Ms. Torres has completed doctoral work at Claremont Graduate University in Higher Education Administration, specializing in college retention.
Ms. Torres has worked with the United Farm Workers Union (UFW) beginning when she was an undergraduate, and she helped organize in the Coachella Valley and San Diego County. She was a student delegate to the planning committee that developed the Plan de Santa Barbara, which served as the blueprint for the development of Chicano Studies Programs and MEChA (Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlán). Ms. Torres has been a strong supporter and member of social justice groups such as the East Valleys Organization (EVO), UNO, Industrial Areas Foundation (IAF), and One LA.
Ms.Torres taught at San Diego State University, NMSU in Las Cruces, and currently teaches at Pitzer College. She has presented lectures, academic papers and workshops at national conferences and professional organizations. Through her affiliation with the Tomás Rivera Policy Institute (TRPI), she served as one of the primary researchers on the high school and college retention project and co-authored a chapter in the anthology, The Broken Web: The Educational Experience of Hispanic American Women, published by Floricanto Press.
Dean Torres is married and has two daughters.
Biography of Maria Torres [PDF]