Top political scientist joins ASU as Raul Yzaguirre Chair

Coor Hall on ASU's Tempe campus

Rodney Hero, the former president — and first Latino to hold the position — of the American Political Science Association, will be joining Arizona State University as the Raul Yzaguirre Chair in the School of Politics and Global Studies.

"We are thrilled professor Hero is joining the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and the School of Politics and Global Studies," said Patrick Kenney, dean of the college. "ASU is gaining an invaluable leader in the field of racial and ethnic diversity in American politics. He is an admired undergraduate teacher and graduate mentor. It is altogether fitting that he will hold the Raul Yzaguirre Chair given his extensive and influential service to his profession over the last 30 years.”  

 will join ASU as the Raul Yzaguirre Chair

Rodney Hero

Hero’s research and teaching focuses on American democracy and politics, especially as viewed through the analytical lenses of Latino/a and racial/ethnic politics as well as state politics.

“I’ve been grappling with questions about ethnic and racial relations in the U.S. They’ve developed in new and unforeseen ways since the election. I’ll be trying to understand and make sense of it with specific respect to Latinos in the U.S,” Hero said. “It’s a real intellectual challenge that’s always been there, but it’s taken on a greater magnitude and different shape in the last year or so.”

In the last couple years, Hero’s research has focused on the role of interest groups and advocacy groups in Latino/a politics — an understudied area of research resonating with the work pioneered by Raul Yzaguirre.

“I’m extremely grateful my lifelong mission to improve opportunities for Hispanic Americans will continue to flourish with the chair postion established in my name at ASU,” Yzaguirre said. “I’m confident Hero’s innovative thinking will help stimulate social embeddedness and Latino/a political empowerment.”

Yzaguirre is considered one of the most widely recognized national leaders in the Hispanic community. As the former president and chief executive officer of the National Council of La Raza, Yzaguirre spearheaded the council’s growth into the largest, most influential, national constituency-based Latino organization in the U.S. He also served as the U.S. Ambassador to the Dominican Republic.

In addition, Yzaguirre is a presidential professor of practice in community and civil rights at ASU. He was instrumental in launching ASU’s American Dream Academy, a program designed to give families the tools and confidence needed to make sure their children have successful academic careers and prepare for a university experience.

“I’m very pleased and honored to hold the Raul Yzaguirre Chair, named after someone who was the leader of a very prominent and significant Latino/a organization. It’s very flattering,” Hero said. “The nature of the position is a wonderful opportunity to expand on my research and join an outstanding political science faculty whose work I’ve long admired and respected.” 

Hero will establish a new research center focusing on the study of Latino/a politics. As director, he plans to use the center as a vehicle to create an ongoing discussion with students, faculty and the community at large through a speaker series, large-scale conferences and collaborative research.

“I want to develop deeper and stronger connections to and networks with other scholars around the country,” Hero said. “I would anticipate these conferences be open to undergraduate and graduate students, the larger ASU community and others in the area who might be interested.”

Hero's research, teaching expertise and commitment to shaping the national conversation about politics makes him one of the top political scientists in the world, according to Mark Searle, executive vice president and provost of the university.

“ASU is dedicated to bringing top-tier scholars and professional leaders to the university so they are accessible to students from across the state, nation and globe,” Searle said. “Professor Hero will be a dynamic addition to our faculty and we look forward to his scholarship and mentoring.”

Hero was the president of the American Political Science Association, the Midwest Political Science Association and the Western Political Science Association. He also served on the editorial board of a number of major political science journals. Hero has authored and co-authored nine books, several capturing prestigious awards, and dozens of articles in scholarly journals about American democracy and politics. He currently holds the Haas Chair in Diversity and Democracy at the University of California, Berkeley.

“I’m very honored to be able to hold this position and join some really outstanding faculty in the School of Politics and Global Studies,” Hero said.

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