Dr. Victoria DeFrancesco Soto to be recommended as next dean of UA Clinton School

by Talk Business & Politics staff ([email protected]) 2,566 views 

Photo: Dr. Victoria DeFrancesco Soto courtesy of University of Texas.

University of Arkansas System President Dr. Donald Bobbitt said Tuesday (Sept. 7) he will recommend Dr. Victoria M. DeFrancesco Soto, 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.

DeFrancesco Soto will replace Dean Skip Rutherford, who retired on June 30, 2021. Her recommendation comes after a national search this summer.

Bobbitt will make his recommendation at the Sept. 16-17 meeting of the UA Board of Trustees.

“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, professor and academic dean at the Clinton School, has been serving as interim dean.

Dr. Victoria M. DeFrancesco Soto.

“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 is 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 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.