Provost James Paul Holloway and Senior Vice Provost Barbara Rodriguez at The University of New Mexico announced the appointment of Lloyd L. Lee as the new director of the Center for Regional Studies. He brings years of UNM faculty and leadership experience to this role and is an insightful leader who brings people together to accomplish important work. He will replace A. Gabriel Meléndez, who retired this summer.

"I believe in creating a permanent relationship of dialogue between Native and non-Native peoples." – Lloyd Lee, director of the Center for Regional Studies

The Center for Regional Studies is a place where faculty and students can do scholarly work that emphasizes an understanding of New Mexico, the U.S. Mexico borderlands and the Americas, he noted. Its mission is to discover, create, preserve, disseminate and promote a culture of broad inquiry throughout and beyond the UNM community. The Center advances the global perspective of its students through a variety of academic and research opportunities to generate and create sources of knowledge. The sources of knowledge are tied to cultural understandings and experiences of peoples.

Dr. Lee started at UNM in 2007.

“I bring to CRS my scholarly work, teaching and service focusing on Native peoples, New Mexico and Southwest studies. I believe in creating a permanent relationship of dialogue between Native and non-Native peoples,” Lee said. “My scholarly work concentrates on Native American identities, masculinities, leadership, philosophies and Indigenous community building. In the work, I advocate for Native self-determination, sovereignty and sustainability.”

For example, he said, his edited book Navajo Sovereignty: Understandings and Visions of the Diné People centers on Diné thought specifically how to ensure and sustain a distinct Navajo way of life through a lens of politics, law, education, philosophy, and research.

“The courses I teach also promote Native thought, sustainability, sovereignty and self-determination. With my service record as well, I consistently support the department, UNM, Native Nations and Native peoples,” Lee added.

“My goals as director are to continue with the center's strategies such as graduate student awards, faculty support, archival material acquisitions, dissemination of books, journals and articles, and the production, presentation, and distribution of multi-media projects,” he added. “I will also look to implement a couple other ideas such as sponsorship of conferences, symposiums and festivals, helping to meet the remedies of the Yazzie/Martinez v. New Mexico education ruling, and to advocate for projects supporting Indigenous peoples and communities and their drive to resolve their challenges.”

Lee said short-range goals are to make sure the center continues to meet its objectives and strategies and to expand the scope of the center's faculty support. Long-range goals are to increase resource support for students and faculty and to expand the mission and strategies.

“My overall philosophy is to build and maintain good relations with people to ensure the center is meeting its objectives, strategies, and to advocate for students, faculty, and communities in New Mexico, the southwest region, and the Americas. I also want to develop a person's critical consciousness. I believe in creating a permanent relationship of dialogue between peoples. I have a responsibility to serve Native peoples and to teach Native and non-Native peoples about the challenges and successes Native peoples, communities, and nations faced in the past and present.”

Lee is an associate professor and the graduate director for the Native American Studies department. He sits on the executive board for the Institute for American Indian Research at UNM, the Internal Advisory Board for Advance at UNM, and UNM Diversity Council coordinated by the Division for Equity & Inclusion. He is a faculty member of the Institute for American Indian Education and the Native American Faculty Council at UNM. He is also on the Council for the American Indian Studies Association and on the City of Albuquerque's Commission on American Indian and Alaska Native Affairs.

In a press release, Holloway and Rodriguez noted, “Dr. Lee has a deep commitment to the mission of the University of New Mexico, Indigenous communities, and Native Nations. His scholarship focuses on Native American identity, masculinities, leadership, philosophies, and Indigenous community building. We are confident Dr. Lee is well-positioned to lead the Center’s mainstay programs, including initiatives that unite faculty, students, and community leaders to advance work that shapes the region.”