Wow! Sounds like things have changed at UTEP. I am one of those Army-Brat ElPasenos who who know choice but to go to UTEP. But it was the first place I was treated like a human being. I hated public school - but then I graduated form high school in 1981 and grew up with a bunch of useless, self-absorbed hippy, idiot teachers who did not care about anything but a paycheck.
Here's my experience:
I got into UTEP and was unprepared for the course work, and self discipline required to finish a college degree. The only lousy department on campus was the English Department. they had too many part-time and graduate student instructors who - frankly - just sucked.
I started in the music department and it was extremely demanding. After two years of part-time attendance I realized I had little talent to make it as a professional musician.
I discovered the political science and history departments and my life changed. Now I must admit that I was a bit world-wise as I grew up with a father int he Army and witnessed Vietnam tear apart our country, so although I was not an academic, I was worldly wise.
I was on my own at an early age so I had to work two jobs at a time. I lived in Sunset Heights most of the time and was chums with many international students - mostly Africans who were athletes and engineering students.
I majored in political science and history with a minor in Soviet Studies. I still keep in touch wiht my mentors from both departments Doctors, Webking, Kruwsewski, Hackett, Barnes, and many others. The PS an History Departments are full of teachers who want their students to succeed.
They talk me how to aks empirical questions in life; how to research and most importantly how to write. I got a job as a newspaper reporter in Corpus Christi before I graduated. I opened a publishing company. I have served as a Special Operations soldier. I built Blockbuster Video's first web servers. I have managed thousands of PC and PC servers in multiple cities at a time. I served as a contractor for two years in Iraq. I have built and killed several companies as a contractor. I have three grown children form my engineering student wife - who I met at UTEP. Each of my kids were home-schooled and each received full-ride scholarships from major Universities: University of Chicago, UT, SMU and Rice for a PhD. I have two Master's Degrees.
Whne I was going to school at UTEP in the 1980s Mexican Nationals were just starting to attend and they were the same shallow, small-minded, preppy-dressed scared little children that they are today. But keep in mind they are the richest and most spoiled children of Juarez. they are treated as something special across the border - when they are not getting shot at.
We do not have an "official" class system in America. Those kids are more afraid of looking bad, than they are of looking down on you.
There was also a big controversy that some retired NFL player confessed that UTEP graduated him and he never learned how to read. So the argument was that UTEP should have failed someone who was being protected by his coach. That still happens today. have you seen an NBA player try to complete a logical sentence on TV nowadays?
Life is a bitch everywhere in this world. I know I have been on most continents, but if you are attending UTEP, be a proud Minor. My goal was to leave El Paso in a fashion that I would never have to go back. Getting a degree helped me do just that.
None of none of my experiences would have happened without the caring, direct, and honest guidance of my political science and history professors at UTEP.