Victoria M. DeFrancesco Soto. Ph.D


Board of Directors

Dr. 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 Administrators. 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. 

Victoria serves on the board of Mi Familia Vota and is active in the Volcker Alliance Dean’s Summit.  Victoria was recognized as one the 100 Women of Impact by the Arkansas Women’s Foundation and received the Las Primeras Award by MANA.

Born and raised on the U.S.-Mexico border, Victoria is of Mexican-Italian-Jewish descent. She is the proud graduate of the University of Arizona W.A. Franke Honors College.