New Mexico State University has selected alumna Ana López as the next director of Chicano Programs.
Vice President for Equity, Inclusion and Diversity Teresa Maria Linda Scholz announced the hire in a memo to the campus community on June 30. López will begin her role Aug. 1.
López said she looks forward to merging theory with practice in her new role as director of Chicano Programs, and working directly with students in the NMSU system and the Doña Ana branches.
“Analyzing the impact of policy on the experiences and opportunities for Latinx and Hispanic students in higher ed is also another great opportunity for growth and reflexive praxis,” López said. “In this role, I will work directly with students, staff, faculty, and the directors in the EID office to intentionally influence the students’ experiences at NMSU. I am elated to return to my alma mater in this new role.”
Scholz said López brings great practical insights into what it means to center “servingness” in support of students at a Hispanic-serving and minority-serving institution.
“Her care and concern for students’ sense of belonging, and her understanding of the assets students bring to NMSU, will inform strong intersectional programming that she will lead for students, staff and faculty,” Scholz said. “We also look forward to how Dr. López will incorporate her strong research trajectory in testimonio pedagogy into her work as the new Chicano Programs director.” López holds a Ph.D. in special education with a focus on bilingual and multicultural special education, and a master's degree in special education from NMSU. She also has a bachelor's degree in education from the Universidad Autónoma de Ciudad Juárez.
López comes to NMSU from the Graduate School of Education at Lesley University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where she served as an assistant professor in the departments of TESOL and special education. She also has experience in the classroom at NMSU as a graduate assistant in 2015, and served as an adjunct professor in the department of special education in summer of 2020.
“I look forward to putting into practice my new knowledge,” López said. “I have remained connected to NMSU because of my colleagues, mentors and friends that work here. I have also remained connected to and with Chicano Programs through the programming that the interim director led these last two years.
“During my work as a junior faculty member at a liberal arts university in the Northeast,” she continued, “I had access to the multiple resources, conferences and digital events that were made available through Chicano Programs and was able to weave them through my curriculum and work with doctoral students and pre-service teachers.”
Her professional background includes multiple research projects, peer-reviewed presentations on the international, national, state, and regional level, and extensive scholarly activity and service.
López said she’s looking forward to learning about the work and expectations of students, working collaboratively across programs and units, and making sure the program continues to be a space that works in an interdisciplinary way within the Office of Equity, Inclusion and Diversity.
“This work includes taking a critical look, too, at how Hispanidad and Latinidad are defined and understood,” she said. “One of the things that excited me about the position is this precisely; during the interviewing process, I had the opportunity to hear from students who are already organizing, planning and strategizing ways to make the program more inclusive, accessible and relatable to students.”
Looking ahead, López said that involvement with Chicano Programs and all programs within the Equity, Inclusion and Diversity unit will be essential for faculty, staff and community members who work at an institution that holds the HSI designation, and that serves mostly students from historically minoritized backgrounds.
“We have arduous work ahead of us, and I am humbled to be able to contribute to the vision of the EID unit with Dr. Scholz and colleagues,” she said.