Dr. Victoria DeFrancesco Soto, a nationally renowned thought leader on issues of politics, immigration and race, has been named inaugural Assistant Dean for Civic Engagement at the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs at The University of Texas at Austin.
In this role, DeFrancesco Soto will create opportunities for high-quality civic engagement projects and lead diversity and inclusion initiatives. She builds upon her role as director of civic engagement to advance a two-pronged strategy — one that works with departments and centers across the university to foster greater campus civic engagement to fortify strategic links with local, state and national stakeholders. She will work closely with the school's leadership team and Associate Dean Kate Weaver to attract more diverse students and foster a maximally inclusive environment for LBJ school students, faculty and staff.
"Vicky's leadership, coupled with her academic background and breadth of experience in the policy and media arenas, will expand on our efforts within diversity, equity and inclusion," said LBJ School Dean Angela Evans. "Since its inception 50 years ago, the LBJ School has cultivated civic engagement between campus, community, governmental, private and philanthropic stakeholders. In looking to the next five decades the school will expand this engagement through strategies that cultivate and amplify the power that comes through collaboration."
"Vicky's leadership, coupled with her academic background and breadth of experience in the policy and media arenas, will expand on our efforts within diversity, equity and inclusion." —LBJ School Dean Angela Evans
"President Johnson was a man who enfranchised and empowered communities, whether through the Voting Rights Act or the Elementary and Secondary Education Act," said DeFrancesco Soto. "I am honored and privileged to work toward furthering his and the University’s mission of empowering communities, especially our most disenfranchised, through civic engagement."
DeFrancesco Soto, who continues as a lecturer at the LBJ School, is a nationally recognized expert on underrepresented communities and immigration with a proven track record of engaging diverse communities through local, regional and national networks. She serves as the school’s diversity officer and Title IX liaison, and also serves on the provost’s LGBTQ+AEI Council, The Center for Mexican American Studies Executive Committee and the newly created Task Force to Develop Community Standards for Faculty.
She is a contributor to MSNBC and NBCNews.com and a regular political analyst for Telemundo. DeFrancesco Soto has provided on-air analysis for CNN, Fox, PBS, Univision and NPR, and has appeared on HBO's "Real Time with Bill Maher." She was a featured expert in the PBS documentary "Willie Velasquez: Your Vote is Your Voice," about the civil rights trailblazer, and has been published in both academic and popular outlets such as POLITICO, Talking Points Memo and Perspectives on Politics. A faculty affiliate of the Department of Mexican-American and Latino Studies and the Center for Mexican American Studies, DeFrancesco Soto has been named one of UT's Game Changing faculty and one of the top 12 scholars in the country by Diverse magazine.
LBJ School of Public Affairs
The LBJ School, one of the nation's top-10 graduate public affairs schools, makes a difference, not only within the walls of academia, but also in the public and social dialogue of the world. Contributing viable solutions to society is the LBJ School's legacy and its benchmark. Its effectiveness in channeling the purpose and passion of students into professional careers is evident in the success of more than 4,300 graduates who are the living legacy of President Johnson's bold and fearless action. The University of Texas at Austin is home to the LBJ School. For more, visit http://lbj.utexas.edu.