News Release
  January 6, 2003


An educator with broad experience in higher education research, teaching, and administration has been appointed to serve as dean of academic affairs at Los Angeles Mission College, it was announced by William C. Farmer, vice president for academic affairs.

Dr. Martha Soto began her new duties at the Sylmar community college campus on January 6, 2003. She comes to Mission College from the University of Southern California, where she has served as associate director of the Center for Urban Education and as an adjunct professor in the Rossier School of Education.

"Dr. Soto brings a unique perspective to Mission College," said Farmer. "One of her research projects at USC helped to identify inequities in educational outcomes among under-represented community college students. Her knowledge in this area will benefit us tremendously."

Soto's duties in Academic Affairs will include working with the Academic Senate Curriculum Committee, assisting faculty department chairs in managing their areas, and overseeing preparation of the college catalogue and class schedules, said Farmer.

"Community colleges play a very critical role in both higher education and society at large," said Soto. "Given the changing social and economic landscape in California and the nation, their purpose will become even more significant. I look forward to working with the faculty and staff of Mission College to meet the educational needs of our students and Mission's surrounding community."

From 2000-02, Soto served as associate director of USC's Center for Urban Education, an institution that conducts research and carries out projects designed to close the gap in educational outcomes for historically underrepresented students. Soto's responsibilities included managing the center's projects, overseeing a staff of professional research associates and graduate student research assistants, collaborating with faculty and senior administrators, and developing budget and funding sources.

In addition to her duties at the Center, Soto also taught (and continues to teach) a required course for master's and doctoral students in the foundations of higher and professional education.

Dr. Soto's publications and presentations, either as sole or co-author, number more than 20 on many issues affecting higher education, including tenure, evaluation of faculty, first generation college students, women in academia, and strategic planning for post-secondary institutions.

During her six years at USC, Soto also held positions as project manager and special assistant to the associate dean. Previously, she was a bilingual teacher with two local school districts and, from 1990-93, Soto was a director for El Rescate, Inc., a non-profit organization which provides legal, educational and other social services to Central American refugees.

Soto holds a Ph.D. in Educational Policy, Planning and Administration in Higher Education from USC. She earned her Bachelor's degree in political science from UCLA.

Soto is the daughter of Mexican immigrant parents who each possessed a 3rd grade education. She is a first generation college student who was raised in the San Fernando Valley. Soto and her five siblings attended Cantara Street Elementary School, Northridge Junior High School, and Cleveland High School. Like Soto, four of her siblings went on to earn Bachelor's degrees from UCLA.

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