Regents' Outstanding
Teaching Awards

Isabel Baca, Ph.D.

Associate Professor; Director of Community Writing Partners Program; Director of Undergraduate Bilingual Professional Writing Certificate Program; Faculty Advisor for Miners for Kindness (student organization)

Department of English

College of Liberal Arts

UT El Paso

I knew I wanted to teach since I was a child. I wanted to inspire curiosity, creativity, and a love for learning. I am blessed that my childhood dream is my adult reality. I wake up every morning to a job that I love.

Dr. Isabel Baca is an Associate Professor of English at the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) where she teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in the Rhetoric and Writing Studies Program. Her teaching includes courses in editing, technical writing, workplace writing, and advanced composition, and she also developed and teaches the Community Literacy Internship graduate course. Dr. Baca occasionally teaches workplace writing bilingually in English and Spanish and directs English-Spanish writing internships and practicums. She teaches face-to-face, hybrid, and fully online courses, and she serves as director for M.A. practicums and Ph.D. dissertations in Rhetoric and Composition.

As a native El Pasoan, Dr. Baca considers herself a product of the U.S.-México border. She was raised to be English-Spanish bilingual and bicultural. Her schooling began in Juárez, Chihuahua, México, but she graduated from a private elementary school and high school in El Paso, TX. She received a B.A. in Creative Writing and an M.A. in Professional Writing with the Education Track from UTEP. Dr. Baca received a Ph.D. in Rhetoric and Professional Communication from New Mexico State University. She has also taught at St. Pius X Elementary School, Loretto Academy High School, New Mexico State University, and El Paso Community College where she also received tenure. Occasionally, she works as a writing and communication consultant in industry and gives service-learning workshops and trains faculty in higher education. Dr. Baca believes in mentoring students and other teachers, especially early career educators. As such, she was selected as a mentor for the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) Early Career Educator of Color Leadership Program.

Dr. Baca is proud to serve as director of the newly revived and soon-to-be-relaunched, Undergraduate Bilingual Professional Writing Certificate in UTEP’s Department of English. Through both the Community Writing Partners Program and the Undergraduate Bilingual Professional Writing Certificate Program, Dr. Baca, as director, works with over 25 local nonprofits that she recruited, including Las Americas Immigrant Advocacy Center, the Reynolds’ Home, the El Paso Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, and La Posada Home, Inc. She has established university-community writing partnerships where students serve as writers, translators, researchers, website designers, social media platform developers, and communicators. Thus, Dr. Baca is a service-learning advocate and practitioner because she believes students must not only know; students should also apply their knowledge and learning in real workplace settings. As a community engaged scholar, Dr. Baca focuses on service-learning in writing studies and across the curriculum, on community writing, and on bilingual professional writing. Her publications include the edited collection Service-Learning and Writing: Paving the Way for Literacy(ies) through Community Engagement (BRILL, 2012) and the upcoming, co-edited book Engaging Bordered Writers at Hispanic-Serving Institutions (SUNY, forthcoming 2018).

Dr. Baca is a member of and consistently presents at the Conference on College Composition and Communication (CCCC) and the NCTE. She has held and holds different offices in CCCC and NCTE, including being elected in 2017 as an NCTE Research Foundation Trustee. Dr. Baca has been selected for various teaching awards, such as UTEP’s Center for Research in Engineering & Technology (CREAaTE) STEMGrow Liberal Arts Outstanding Teaching Award and the El Paso Energy Foundation Excellence in Teaching Award.

Dr. Baca, when she is not teaching, writing, or presenting and serving at conferences, enjoys sharing adventures with her son, Antonio, spending time with him, her parents, her siblings and their families, and traveling to learn about different cultures and languages. She also holds her faith dear to her heart.