New Mexico State University’s College of Health and Social Services has named Héctor Luis Díaz as its new director of the School of Social Work. Díaz, a longtime social work practitioner with more than two decades’ experience in higher education, started his new role June 1.
Díaz most recently served as director and professor in the School of Social Work at Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, Michigan, and as the editor-in-chief for the Journal of Sociology and Social Welfare.
“For me, it is great honor to become the new director of the School of Social Work at New Mexico State University,” he said. “The school is privileged to have very talented and committed scholars and staff who play critical roles in teaching, research and service in the United States-Mexico border region. I am confident we will be able to bring the school to a higher level of prominence through strategic and collective effort.”
A native of Puerto Rico, Díaz moved to the United States mainland in 1979. He earned a master’s degree in social work from the Cleveland-based Case Western Reserve University in 1981. After more than a dozen years working as a social work practitioner, supervisor and administrator, he earned a Ph.D. from the University of Illinois in Chicago in 1994.
Díaz entered academia in 1992. Early in his academic career, he served as a member of the graduate faculties of Andrews University in Michigan and Loma Linda University in California. He later joined the University of Texas at Arlington, where he served as the coordinator for a binational Ph.D. program, and then the University of Texas-Pan American, where he worked as a professor and chair of the Department of Social Work.
Díaz joined Western Michigan University in August 2013. There, he served as the director of the School of Social Work until August 2018 before transitioning into his most recent role as a full-time professor and journal editor.
Díaz has widely published and presented in the areas of socio-economic development, social welfare policy, cultural issues, and international social work education. His publications include two books: “Strengthening Democracy through Community Capacity Building: A Study of Four Latin American Countries” and “Alcohol Abuse and Acculturation among Puerto Ricans in the United States: A Sociological Study.”
In his new role, Díaz will oversee the NMSU School of Social Work, one of three academic units in the College of Health and Social Services. It offers both bachelor’s and master’s programs in social work and houses the Center on Immigration and Child Welfare, a national organization that promotes the welfare of children of immigrants and their families.