Antonio Flores

Doctor of Philosophy in Higher Education, Organizational Behavior and Management, '90

Antonio   Flores, School of Education

Field of Study: PhD Higher Ed--Organizational Behavior and Management

Year in Program: graduated 1990

Where do you HAIL from? San José, México

Prior to UM: I grew up in a farming community and there was nothing else but farming back then. I thought that was going to be my destiny, to be a small farmer. The school in San José only went as high as fifth grade. At that time, that was the extent of most of the villagers’ educations and it seemed likely to be the limit of my formal learning as well. I was given an opportunity to flout fate when friends of my family offered to take me with them as they moved to a larger city. 

After finishing my schooling, I enrolled in college where I studied elementary education. Upon graduating, I moved to northern Mexico where I taught on a Yaqui Indian reservation. Desiring more education and with a burgeoning interest in organizational behavior, I returned to school and earned my second undergraduate degree in business administration. I then left the warmth of México and became a bilingual student advisor in Wisconsin. I worked with people from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and was offered a position in Upward Bound—Upward Bound is a federally funded program to help students prepare for and succeed in college. In this capacity, I attended a professional conference where I met the dean of Hope College who recruited me for a job at Hope. I decided to enter a master’s degree program in counseling and personnel at Western Michigan University, which I earned while simultaneously working at Hope College and raising a family.

I moved to the United States to go to school, but my work opportunities became so quickly available, like one thing after another, that I wasn’t able to think about graduate studies until I got to Hope College and then it became a complement to my work. I then began an 18-year stint at the Michigan Department of Education, first working with bilingual education and later with policy analysis and management. During this time, I decided to follow up my master’s degree with a doctorate. My work and my personal inclinations led me to study higher-education. I looked at the facts and found that U-M had the highest-ranked higher ed program in the country. I thought, ‘If you want to get the best education in your field, you really need to go to the best place,’ so that’s what I set myself out to do.

The best part of SOE so far: The professors that I came across were all outstanding—not just as academics, but as people. They seemed to truly care about the students and didn’t mind spending time before and after class and that struck me because I didn’t expect them to be so willing and accessible. There was a sense of community, of family, even among the support staff and professors.

Flores’s program of study:
Organizational Behavior & Management