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Faculty Profile: Hector M. Enriquez

Last Updated on October 09, 2019 at 12:00 AM

Originally published October 09, 2019

By UC Staff

UTEP Communications

Hector M. Enriquez is a curious man. He asks questions to build relationships. Those relationships generally have helped drive his interests, his career path and his social mobility. They helped him to drive a cab, learn how to fly airplanes, get him enrolled at UTEP, and, as an instructor, develop new ways to enhance the accumulation of knowledge.

Hector M. Enriquez, a lecturer in the department of languages and linguistics in the College of Liberal Arts, talks about how education can enhance a student's life personally and professionally.
Hector M. Enriquez, a lecturer in the department of languages and linguistics in the College of Liberal Arts, talks about how education can enhance a student's life personally and professionally.

Name: Hector M. Enriquez

Department/College: Languages and Linguistics, College of Liberal Arts

What do you teach?  Spanish, women studies and history of Spain

How long have you been a teacher? 33 years

What is your favorite classroom activity or teaching technique? I like to get students involved in the Spanish language and motivate them to think critically using the target language in real conversations.

What background and experience do you have in your field of study that benefits your students? My students benefit from my love of learning whether it is new topics in my discipline, or new disciplines.  I work with other departments to make transdisciplinary connections. For example, I try to connect Humanities (Spanish, literature and culture) from the College of Liberal Arts with subjects in the colleges of Education, Engineering, Health Sciences and Business Administration.

What do your students like best about your classes? My students like to see themselves grow intellectually. Professionally, they like it that employers prefer people who speak another language. Personally, they appreciate how they develop a respect for another culture.  The most important thing to them is to communicate in the target language and enjoy it.

What do you love most about being a teacher? I love that I can use education to enhance someone’s life personally and professionally.

What are your hobbies? When you are not teaching, grading or preparing for classes, what are you doing?

  1. I love to write stories about the personal interactions I had with people on both sides of the border when I was a young taxi driver in the 1970s and ‘80s and how those dealings affected me as an instructor.
  2. I love to fly small airplanes. I got my license because of a friendly pilot I got to know as a taxi driver. He got a friend of his who owed him a favor to teach me to fly for nothing more than gas money for the plane. By the way, the friendly pilot used to fly for the White House.
  3. I own an Alpaca farm, breed the animals, and manufacture rugs with their hair fibers.
  4. I invite families with children who have autism and attention deficit disorder to my farm where we offer horse therapy to improve the children’s cognitive capabilities. The children love being around our sheep, goats, chickens and turkey.
  5. Because of the generosity of others, I was able to attend UTEP. I have tried to pay it back through the creation of two endowments to help students in the Creative Writing and Languages and Linguistics programs, and to help women of modest means.

What is your favorite place on campus? I cannot name one place. I love the whole campus. I go for runs around campus and admire its beauty. It’s one of the most beautiful campuses I have seen and I have visited many campuses around the world. UTEP is one of a kind. Maybe it’s the proximity to the mountains or how it looks as the sun sets. It’s enchanting.

What is your favorite UTEP event, and why? I love International Cultural Festival Week during the fall semester because we have the opportunity to interact with so many people from around the world and make new friends.

What advice would you give to incoming UTEP students? I would advise them to apply themselves and take advantage of the many opportunities the University offers whether it be academics, research, study abroad, social groups, recreational sports and entertainment. UTEP provides a high-quality education and produces well-rounded graduates.