ASU professor Lisa Magaña

ASU's School of Transborder Studies names new interim director

By

Amanda Stoneman

The nation’s first School of Transborder Studies at Arizona State University has named professor Lisa Magaña as the new interim director of the school.

For nearly 20 years, Magaña has been a part of the faculty in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. She teaches courses on immigration, transborder studies, Chicana/o studies, Latino/a politics and policy in Arizona. In her new appointment as interim director, she will continue to inspire students to become agents of change who will solve critical challenges at the intersection of borders and society.

Magaña will be influential in the promotion of academic excellence for the school by advancing interdisciplinary knowledge of the Chicana/o and Latina/o experience in the United States-Mexico borderlands. She’ll also be crucial in the development of integrated transborder scholarship to affect transborder policy and social practice.

“Dr. Lisa Magaña brings intelligence, optimism and energy to the leadership role in the School of Transborder Studies,” said Elizabeth Wentz, the dean of social sciences in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. “With strength of character and the capacity to lead, we look forward to working with Lisa in this next chapter of the school.”

Magaña has contributed scholarship to the areas of immigration, urban policy, migration and Latino/a politics. She’s the author of “Straddling the Border: Immigration Policy and the INS,” and “Mexican Americans and the Politics of Diversity.” More recently, she completed the manuscript, “From A to Z, Latino Politics and Immigration in Arizona,” which is currently under review.

Magaña’s impact is broad. She has been a research associate at the Tomas Rivera Policy Institute and visiting lecturer and assistant professor at Pitzer College; University of California, Los Angeles; and California State University at Dominguez Hills and Williams College. She’s also been interviewed by major media outlets, such as NPR, BBC, PBS, the Associated Press and MSNBC. 

Effective August 15, Magaña will become the interim director of the school as professor and sociocultural anthropologist Alejandro Lugo completes his appointment as director. Lugo’s scholarship and teaching in the history of the United States-Mexico borderlands and border theory has helped advance the school’s mission of creating more prosperous and sustainable transborder communities.

“With genuine gratitude, I thank Dr. Alejandro Lugo for his two years of service as director of the School of Transborder Studies,” Wentz said. “Through his broad vision of what it means to be ‘transborder,’ the school is posited to understand and solve many of the complex problems faced globally.”