Milagros Peña Joins UCR as Dean of the College of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences

Seasoned academic administrator and scholar of sociology, women’s studies and gender

Milagros Peña, a sociologist and women’s studies scholar began service as Dean of the UCR College of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences [CHASS] on Sept. 8.

Milagros Peña, a sociologist and women’s studies scholar who has advocated for the internationalization of Women’s Studies programs, began service as Dean of the UCR College of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences (CHASS) on Sept. 8.

Peña is former Associate Dean of the University of Florida College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, and was appointed to the CHASS post by Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor Paul D’Anieri after a national search.

Peña’s academic research, among other topics, has explored Latina activism and the role of nongovernment organizations and faith-based communities in Mexico and the United States in social and political change.

She is the author of “Latina Activists Across Borders: Women’s Grassroots Organizing in Mexico and Texas” [Duke University Press], which won a 2008 distinguished book award from the Latino/a Section of the American Sociological Association.

“We are very pleased to welcome Milagros Peña to our academic leadership,” said D’Anieri. “Dr Peña has excelled as a scholar and teacher, academic administrator and mentor to students beginning their careers in the academy.”

Peña was first in her family to achieve a high school diploma and move on to college, and has been an active supporter of access to higher education for all. She said that she was drawn to the UCR position because of the mission of UC Riverside, the quality of its faculty, and success with diverse students.

“I feel honored and privileged to be selected as Dean of CHASS. My background resonates with the mission of the College and University. As the daughter of immigrants whose parent’s and grandmother dedicated their lives so I could achieve many “firsts,” I have embraced an academic career that honors their memory and serves others. I look forward to working with my colleagues in CHASS and at UCR to serve our students and to continue to raise the profile of our programs.”

As Associate Dean in the University of Florida’s largest college, Peña was responsible for social and behavioral sciences, two interdisciplinary Title VI Centers, and managing graduate affairs. She annually allocated graduate school fellowships and research assistantships to promising doctoral candidates, and took a leadership role in seeking to improve graduate student time to degree and other outcomes.

Peña is also the author of Theologies and Liberation in Peru: The Role of Ideas in Social Movements, published by Temple University Press in 1995, and Punk Rockers’ Revolution: A Pedagogy of Race, Class, and Gender, with Curry Malott, published by Peter Lang Publishers in 2004.

Prior to her service at Florida as Associate Dean, she was Director of the Center for Women’s Studies and Gender Research. She joined the faculty at Florida in 1999, and was promoted to Professor in 2007. Before her work at Florida, she held faculty positions at New Mexico State University and Bowling Green State University.

Peña earned a Ph.D. and master’s degree in sociology from the State University of New York at Stony Brook, a master of divinity degree from Union Theological Seminary, and a bachelor’s degree from Iona College.

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