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Dean Search

Clinton School Dean Search

University of Arkansas System President Donald R. Bobbitt, Ph.D., has announced three finalists in the search for the next dean of the University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service.

The finalists include Lara M. Brown, Ph.D., professor and director of the Graduate School of Political Management at George Washington University; Victoria M. DeFrancesco Soto, Ph.D., assistant dean for civic engagement at the LBJ School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin; and Mitchell B. Lerner, Ph.D., professor and director of the East Asian Studies Center at The Ohio State University.

Each finalist will visit the Clinton School in the coming weeks to meet with students, faculty, staff, alumni and supporters of the school. Brown will visit July 26; DeFrancesco Soto will visit July 28; and Lerner will visit August 5.

“We have a truly unique asset in the Clinton School of Public Service and the high quality of our three finalists is a testament to the school’s growing reputation and to the hard work of our search committee,” Bobbitt said. “I am excited for each of them to visit the campus and for us to get to know them better as we work to identify the best individual to help grow and develop the school’s academic program, as well as its continued community outreach in the years ahead.”

Former Clinton School Dean James L. “Skip” Rutherford III retired June 30 and Bobbitt named Susan Hoffpauir, Ph.D., interim dean on June 23.

For more information on the search, the desired qualities of candidates and the application process, please review the Position Profile.

More information on each finalist is below.


Dr. Lara M. Brown

Dr. Lara M. Brown (July 26) serves as professor and director of the Graduate School of Political Management at The George Washington University. She is the author of two books —“Amateur Hour: Presidential Character and the Question of Leadership,” and “Jockeying for the American Presidency: The Political Opportunism of Aspirants.” In addition to writing and editing other academic publications, she has a frequent presence in the media, including contributions to the New York Times, the Washington Post, Politico and The Hill, among others. She was previously a professor of political science at Villanova University. She also worked as a policy and public affairs consultant in Silicon Valley and Los Angeles after a stint as a political appointee in the U.S. Department of Education in the Clinton Administration.

Brown earned her bachelor’s, master’s and doctorate degrees in political science at the University of California, Los Angeles and a master’s in American politics and public policy from the University of Arizona.

Dr. Brown CV
Dr. Brown Cover Letter

Dr. Victoria M. DeFrancesco Soto

Dr. Victoria M. DeFrancesco Soto (July 28) serves as assistant dean for civic engagement and a senior lecturer at the LBJ School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin (UT). She is also a faculty fellow at the Center for the Science of Race and Democracy and an affiliate at the Department of Mexican American and Latino Studies at UT. Her research and teaching focus on an interdisciplinary approach to American politics and policy including her areas of expertise in immigration, women and politics, political psychology, and campaigns and elections. She is a contributor to MSNBC, Telemundo and She has also provided on-air analysis for PBS, CNN, Fox, Univision and NPR, as well as contributions to other national publications.

DeFrancesco Soto earned a bachelor’s degree in political science and Latin American studies at the University of Arizona and master’s and doctorate degrees in political science at Duke University.

Dr. DeFrancesco Soto CV
Dr. DeFrancesco Soto Cover Letter

Dr. Mitchell B. Lerner (August 5) is professor of history and director of the East Asian Studies Center at The Ohio State University, where he is also a faculty fellow at the Mershon Center for International Security Studies. His research and teaching focuses on modern American policy history, with an emphasis on U.S.-East Asian relations and American policy in the Cold War era. He is the author of “The Pueblo Incident: A Spy Ship and the Failure of American Foreign Policy,” which earned the 2002 John Lyman Book Award for U.S. Naval History and was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize. He is also the editor of three volumes focused on the intersection of contemporary American politics and foreign policy. Lerner has published articles in numerous academic journals, including the Journal of Military History, Presidential Studies Quarterly, Diplomatic History, Southwestern Historical Quarterly, and the Journal of East Asian Affairs, and currently serves as associate editor of the Journal of American-East Asian Relations.

Lerner has been a fellow at the University of Virginia’s Miller Center for Public Affairs and has held the Mary Ball Washington Distinguished Fulbright Chair at University College - Dublin. He earned a bachelor’s degree from Brandeis University, as well as a master’s degree in American Studies and master’s and doctoral degrees in history from the University of Texas at Austin.

Dr. Lerner CV.pdf
Dr. Lerner Cover Letter

The Search Committee

Dr. Donald R. Bobbitt, UA System president and committee chair
Dr. Al Bavon, professor of public administration, Clinton School
Kent Broughton, senior community relations manager and equity analyst, Clinton School
Dr. Stephanie Gardner, provost and chief academic officer, UAMS
Ann Kamps, manager of visitor services, Clinton Foundation
Morril Harriman, trustee, UA System
Dr. Angie Maxwell, associate professor of political science, UA-Fayetteville
Dr. Johanna Miller Lewis, associate dean of curriculum and student success, UA-Little Rock
Bruce Lindsey, counselor to the chair of the board, Clinton Foundation
Dr. Chul Hyun Park, assistant professor, Clinton School
Connor Thompson, student, Clinton School

Clinton School Speaker Series
Inspiring Ideas Into Action.

The Clinton School Speaker Series not only enhances the education of Clinton School students, but also provides a venue for the public to engage in intellectual discussions on the issues of the day.

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