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ASU professor Rebecca Tsosie has been appointed vice provost for inclusion and community engagement. Tsosie assumes the position held by professor Eduardo Pagán, who moves to the New College of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences as associate dean .
In her new role, Tsosie will help the Arizona State University community further understand and learn how to address complex issues associated with race, gender, ethnicity, religion and other forms of diversity. She will offer guidance to university administrators and work in collaboration with campus organizations, such as the Committee for Campus Inclusion and the Faculty Women’s Association, in order to operationalize ASU’s commitment to diversity and inclusion. Tsosie hopes to develop a transformative model of inclusion and community engagement that will set an important standard for leadership in higher education.
“We want to advance different perspectives, experiences and voices in our faculty, research and student communities,” said ASU Provost Robert E. Page Jr. “Dr. Tsosie has 20 years of leadership, a record of exceptional program-building and an internationally recognized research program. Her expertise will help the university continue to grow in the areas of diversity, inclusion, new knowledge systems and community-building.”
“I am excited about this work and believe the university is in an excellent position to develop a set of innovative standards and practices that will promote inclusion across the vast physical and intellectual spaces that ASU occupies,” Tsosie said.
Tsosie, who is of Yaqui descent, joined ASU’s law faculty in 1994. She is a Regents’ Professor of law in the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law and served as the first faculty director of the Indian Legal Program from 1996-2011.
Tsosie is committed to transdisciplinary research and treasures her broader connections to other academic units on campus. In 2011, she assumed a joint appointment on the faculty of philosophy in the School of Historical, Philosophical and Religious Studies in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. She is a Distinguished Sustainability Scientist in the Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability . She is also a faculty affiliate of the American Indian Studies Program within the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, and a faculty affiliate of the Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College.
Tsosie was one of the founding co-directors of the provost’s Native American Advisory Council, along with Professor John Tippeconnic, and she continues to serve as an ex-officio member of that body. Tsosie served as associate vice provost for the Office of Academic Excellence and Inclusion this past year. In addition, outside of the university, Tsosie serves as an appellate judge for the Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation’s Supreme Court and the San Carlos Apache Tribe’s Court of Appeals.
“I’m thrilled to take on this new opportunity to positively impact the ASU community at an even higher level,” Tsosie said. “I’ve had the pleasure of working with many groups across the university and beyond, and appreciate the interdisciplinary mind-set my colleagues share. Together, we can be a leader in creating a workforce that is reflective of the population we serve.”
Tsosie’s career spans federal Indian law, constitutional law, cultural resources law, bioethics and critical race theory. She is widely published on doctrinal and theoretical issues related to tribal sovereignty, environmental policy and cultural rights. She has lectured on climate adaptation and sustainability, cultural conflict and injustices in the areas of science, ethics and human rights.
Tsosie received her bachelor's and Juris Doctor degrees from the University of California, Los Angeles, and she is admitted to practice in Arizona and California. In 2014, she received the Individual Leadership Award from the National Association of Diversity Officers in Higher Education. This award honors those who have shown leadership in research, administration, practice, advocacy or policy work advancing understanding of diversity and inclusivity in higher education.
“I am honored to have this opportunity,” Tsosie said. “I love ASU, and I treasure President Crow’s commitment to enable access to higher education for a diverse local and global student population.
"This position will enable me to work in collaboration with our incredibly talented faculty and administrative leaders to design a new set of practices to promote our collective sense of identity as a university community, while also recognizing the multiple benefits of having a diverse faculty and student body. I find this work to be intellectually challenging and personally very rewarding because it goes to the heart of what I value most about ASU and our university’s ability to impact the broader communities that we serve.”