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Latino public policy expert joins ASU as associate professor


Francisco Pedraza, Arizona State University associate professor in the School of Politics and Global Studies, wearing jeans and a blazer outside on the Tempe campus.

Francisco Pedraza, associate professor in ASU's School of Politics and Global Studies.

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January 19, 2022

This fall marks Francisco Pedraza’s first semester at Arizona State University. A new associate professor in the School of Politics and Global Studies (SPGS), Pedraza comes to ASU from the University of California, Riverside, where he held the position of assistant professor.

“I’m delighted to be at ASU and the School of Politics and Global Studies,” said Pedraza. “There is a tremendous amount of energy here, and the opportunity to leave a lasting impact feels real and very promising.”

Pedraza received his PhD in political science from the University of Washington in 2010. His research focuses on political attitude formation and political behavior, with a special emphasis on ethnic minorities in the United States.

In addition to his involvement with the school as a whole, Pedraza is also the associate director of the Center for Latina/os and American Politics Research (CLAPR).

“I am thrilled that Francisco Pedraza has joined SPGS," said Magda Hinojosa, professor and director of the School of Politics and Global Studies. "He is not only a first-rate scholar, but he also brings exciting ideas for expanding the reach of the CLAPR through greater community engagement.”

“Francisco has a distinct, public policy perspective on the study of Latina/o politics that will substantially complement and enhance CLAPR’s scholarly research,” said Rodney Hero, director of the center and the Raul Yzaguirre Chair in the School of Politics and Global Studies.

Since 2016, Pedraza has been the director of the Politics of Race, Immigration, and Ethnicity Consortium — a series of all-day conferences, one of which was recently hosted virtually by the Center for Latina/os and American Politics Research on Jan. 14.

“He has played an important role in advancing the study of race/ethnicity in American politics through his leadership of the Politics of Race, Immigration, and Ethnicity Consortium, an initiative which fosters research on a range of issues relevant to and for Latina/o politics,” continued Hero.

This spring, Pedraza will be teaching POS 438: Latino Politics. He spoke with ASU News about why he came to ASU and what he hopes to accomplish while at the university.

Question: What inspired you to focus your research on the intersection between Latina/o politics and public policy?

Answer: In general, I appreciate how public policy has an impact on our lives. A great deal of advancements in political science are based on work that invites us to think in the abstract. I really like to pair that kind of thinking with how concrete politics shape the lives of Latinos.

Q: Why did you decide to come to ASU?

A: Academics thrive where research conversations are innovative and vibrant. ASU’s past investments in experts who focus on Latino politics place SPGS on the cusp of major research advances, and I wanted to be part of that group.

Q: What interested you in joining the Center for Latina/os and American Politics Research? What do you envision your role there being?

A: Like other areas of research in political science, there is a fair amount of diversity in Latino politics in terms of topic focus, methodology and even scope of projects. I take a close look at how ordinary Latinos react and respond to public policy. Others in CLAPR focus on the institutions and systems that impact Latinos in American politics. I see myself as advocating for a broad and comprehensive approach to understanding Latino politics and how Latinos are shaping American politics. My role at the center will be to elevate the visibility of our research, thicken connections with communities and stakeholders outside of ASU, and help advance funding strategies to further support CLAPR goals.

Q: What do you hope to accomplish as you work at the university?

A: One goal that I have for 2022 is to build some of the intellectual infrastructure that can be sustained for the long haul. This means building and investing in systems that address pipeline issues, as well as thinking intentionally about how academia can more intentionally engage community needs.

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