TAMU-CC Professor Juan Carlos Huerta Elected Vice President of American Political Science Association

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – Dr. Juan Carlos Huerta, Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi Professor of Political Science, has been elected to serve as one of three 2021-2022 Vice Presidents for the American Political Science Association (APSA). Huerta says co-leading a national organization that serves more than 11,000 members in more than 100 countries is one of the many ways he works to enhance the political science discipline beyond the Island University.

“Being elected vice president was one of the happiest and proudest moments of my professional life – I still can’t believe it,” Huerta said. “It means my peers have recognized the work I have done in political science to promote undergraduate education and advocacy for underrepresented populations – especially in Latino communities.” 

Huerta says he initially became interested in politics during the 1984 presidential election. A teenager at the time, Huerta overheard his parents discussing the candidates and the debate intrigued him.

“It was then that I began reading newsmagazines and newspapers,” Huerta said. “I began to understand what my parents were discussing, and I enjoyed asking questions about politics.”

Although he initially planned to cap his studies at a master’s degree in order to teach at a community college, Huerta says he was inspired by one special professor – Dr. Mark Franklin (Professor Emeritus at Trinity College Connecticut, formerly at the University of Houston) – who encouraged him to earn a doctoral degree in political science. Huerta earned that doctoral degree from the University of Houston in 1996.

“Dr. Franklin made a real difference in my life with his support and encouragement to keep learning,” Huerta said. “I had never envisioned earning a Ph.D. – it seemed like something other people did.” 

Huerta has had ties with APSA for over two decades. After publishing an article in 2004 about the positive impact of political science learning communities at TAMU-CC, Huerta was invited to serve on the 2005 APSA Program Committee to organize panels for teaching and learning in political science for the association’s annual meeting.

” This was a big, and unexpected, step for me and was my first involvement with APSA governance, and how I got more involved.”

Huerta’s says one of his proudest accomplishments during his time at the Island University has been his work with TAMU-CC’s nationally recognized First-Year Learning Communities Program. In 2015, he co-founded the National Learning Communities Association (NLCA), a national organization which fosters college student learning, success, and development through learning communities.

“I was then nominated to serve as the founding NLCA president,” Huerta said. “The association is now 6 years old, thriving, and working to help advance learning communities to promote student success all over the nation and internationally.”

Huerta has also served as president of the APSA’s Political Science Education Section, on the APSA’s Teaching and Learning Conference program committee and its Latino/Latina Caucus.

I hope I can inspire others through my example, actions, and servant leadership.

Dr. Juan Carlos Huerta, TAMU-CC Professor of Political Science

For his latest accomplishment, Huerta credits his family, professors, colleagues, and friends who have supported and believed in him, along with the APSA’s Latino/Latina Caucus and Political Science Education Section for helping him find his place in the APSA.

“I hope I can inspire others through my example, actions, and servant leadership,” Huerta said. “I believe the overarching success of Latinos is connected, so I want to inspire Latinos to support each other and motivate each other for our students and for the field.”

Huerta will serve a one-year term as a member of the APSA Council. To learn more about APSA officers and council members, visit https://www.apsanet.org/ABOUT/Governance/Officers-Council-Members.