The University of New Mexico Division for Equity and Inclusion announced recently the local and national recognition of Vice President Jozi De Leon for her lifelong contributions in the areas of education, equity, social justice and community involvement by two prominent organizations.

She was first recognized in March by Albuquerque Business First as a 2015 Woman of Influence. Out of hundreds of nominees, 30 influential women across six industry categories (business services, education, government, health care, nonprofits and technology) were honored. A category winner was selected from each of the six categories, with De Leon being selected as the Education category winner.

According to Business First, women who are leaders, innovators, mentors and role models in the Albuquerque community were nominated by community members with each nominee then asked to submit an application with information about themselves for the judging process. Applicants were evaluated on professional achievement, leadership and community involvement.

At the 2015 LULAC National Women’s Conference, held in March at the Tamaya Resort and Spa at the Santa Ana Pueblo, De Leon received a special commendation as a Latina leader making a difference in the community from the National LULAC Women’s Commission. The LULAC National Women’s Conference brings awareness to the issues that most impact the lives of Latino women in the United States.

“To serve, in and of itself, is an honor,” De Leon said. “I don’t serve to gain any recognition, however, I was deeply humbled and honored to be recognized by two outstanding organizations and to be an honoree among such incredible women.”

De Leon has served as the vice president for Equity and Inclusion since 2008. She received a bachelor’s degree in early childhood education from Fayetteville State University in Fayetteville, N.C., a Historically Black College and University (HBCU). She later obtained a master’s degree in educational psychology from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. After her master’s degree, De Leon returned to the southwest and obtained a doctorate in curriculum and instruction from New Mexico State University. 

She began her first academic appointment at UNM as an assistant professor in special education with an emphasis in culturally and linguistically diverse students with disabilities. De Leon is nationally recognized for her work in the teaching and assessment of underrepresented students with special needs. Her academic focus and professional publications have been on social justice issues in the overrepresentation of culturally and linguistically diverse students in special education.

De Leon has been a faculty member, a department head, an associate dean and an associate provost for academic affairs. She is a tenured full professor in educational specialties with an emphasis on the intersection of culture, language and disability.

For additional information, contact Lorena Blanco-Silva at 277-1238 or .

About the Division for Equity and Inclusion

The University of New Mexico established the Division for Equity and Inclusion (DEI) in 2007 to strengthen the organizational capacity in order to serve UNM’s diverse student body. DEI provides leadership for addressing institution-wide equity and inclusion and lends its support to student, staff and faculty efforts that build on the university’s diversity initiatives. DEI supports system-wide diversity initiatives to enhance student recruitment and retention, academic excellence, employee diversity and a campus climate that embraces its diversity as an asset. In addition, the Office for Equity and Inclusion is the only university entity of its kind in a very diverse state, serving a diverse student population. 

If you'd like more information, visit Diversity at UNM, or call 505-277-1238.