Victoria M. DeFrancesco Soto

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Victoria DeFrancesco Soto is Dean of the Clinton School of Public Service at the University of Arkansas and previously served as Assistant Dean at the LBJ School of Public Affairs and is a political analyst for NBC News and Telemundo.

Victoria is the first Latina Dean at a presidential institution and is a fellow of the National Academy of Public Administration. Victoria previously taught at Northwestern University and Rutgers and received her Ph.D. in political science from Duke University.

Her areas of expertise include civic engagement, women, immigration, Latinos and political psychology. Underlying all of her research interests is the applicability of high-quality, rigorous research to on-the-ground policy realities. Victoria has spent over two decades bridging academic, practitioner, community, and media realms in her quest to cultivate public service engagement across our national landscape.

An award-winning professor, Victoria is deeply passionate about the intersection of curricular and community-based learning and cultivating dynamic classroom environments that are responsive to our real-world context. Throughout her more than 20 years in a classroom, Victoria has designed and implemented curricular innovation to challenge both herself and her students to think bigger and be maximally impactful.

As the Dean of the Clinton School, Victoria grounds her passion to support the next generation of public service leaders through the expansion of diversity, equity, and inclusion inside and outside the classroom.

While Victoria is new to Arkansas, she has immersed herself in the vibrancy of the Natural State and was recently named one of the 100 Women of Impact by the Arkansas Women’s Foundation.  At the same time Victoria remains active in national service organizations such as Mi Familia Vota and the Partnership for Public Service. 

Victoria is the proud graduate of the University of Arizona, a land-grant institution, and has firsthand experienced the transformative power of education that our public institutions of higher learning provide.