LITTLE ROCK (Tuesday, Sept. 7, 2021) — University of Arkansas System President Dr. Donald R. Bobbitt will recommend Victoria M. DeFrancesco Soto, Ph.D., assistant dean for civic engagement at the LBJ School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin (UT), as the next dean of the University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service.
“I couldn’t be more pleased with the way the search process was executed, evidenced first by the high quality of diverse candidates that showed interest in the position and furthered by the stellar group of finalists that visited the campus,” Bobbitt said. “I’m very grateful to the search committee for their work and to the finalists for their interest in the position. In the end, Dr. DeFrancesco Soto was the right fit to continue growing and developing the unique school’s academic programs, as well as its continued community outreach and mission to make an impact in Arkansas and around the world.”
DeFrancesco Soto is expected to begin her new role as dean on Jan. 3, 2022. Susan Hoffpauir, Ph.D., professor and academic dean at the Clinton School, has been serving as interim dean.
“I am grateful to Dr. Bobbitt and the search committee for their diligent work in this process, and I’m excited to get to Little Rock to begin work with the wonderful students, faculty and staff at the Clinton School,” DeFrancesco Soto said. “At this moment in our country and world, public service is vital to creating a space for people to engage with one another and find common ground. There so much that the Clinton School and its students and faculty have already accomplished in its short history, and I look forward to building even more capacity for the school to strive toward President Clinton’s vision of a graduate program that builds bridges through public service.”
DeFrancesco Soto currently serves as assistant dean for civic engagement and a senior lecturer at the LBJ School of Public Affairs at the UT. She is also a faculty fellow at the Center for the Science of Race and Democracy and an affiliate at the Department of Mexican American and Latino Studies at UT.
Her research and teaching focus on an interdisciplinary approach to American politics and policy including her areas of expertise in immigration, women and politics, political psychology, and campaigns and elections. She is a contributor to MSNBC, Telemundo and NBCNews.com. She has also provided on-air analysis for PBS, CNN, Fox, Univision and NPR, as well as contributions to other national publications.
DeFrancesco Soto earned a bachelor’s degree in political science and Latin American studies at the University of Arizona and master’s and doctorate degrees in political science at Duke University. More details about her can be found here.
About the Clinton School:
The University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service is the first graduate school in the country to offer a master’s degree in public service. Through its academic program and public service work, the school gives students the knowledge and experience to further their careers in the areas of nonprofit, governmental, volunteer or private sector service. The school embodies former President Clinton’s vision of building leadership in civic engagement and enhancing people’s capacity to work across disciplinary, racial, ethnic and geographical boundaries.
About the University of Arkansas System (www.uasys.edu)
Since its inception, the University of Arkansas System has developed a tradition of excellence that includes the state’s 1871 flagship, land-grant research university; Arkansas’s premier institution for medical education, treatment and research; a major metropolitan university; an 1890 land-grant university; two regional universities serving southern and western Arkansas; seven community colleges; two schools of law; a presidential school; a residential math and science high school; and a 100 percent-online university and divisions of agriculture, archeology and criminal justice. As the premier higher education system in the state, it enrolls more than 70,000 students, employs more than 17,000 employees, and has a total budget of more than $4 billion. An intrinsic part of the texture and fabric of Arkansas, the UA System is a driving force in the state’s economic, educational and cultural advancement.