Accomplished, experienced, and committed to student success, Professor Lisa Martinez personifies the University of Denver’s exceptional faculty. Born and raised in El Paso, Texas, Professor Martinez discovered her love for sociology early on. After obtaining her bachelor’s degree from the University of Texas: Austin and her doctorate from the University of Arizona, she came to Denver by way of Boston, and has been at DU for nearly ten years.
At DU, Professor Martinez fulfills a large number of roles. Being an Associate Professor and the Chair of the Department of Sociology and Criminology are just two of her responsibilities. However, Professor Martinez is also a Core Faculty Member of the DU Latino Center for Community Engagement and Scholarship (DULCCES). According to Martinez, the Center is committed “to carrying out research and creative works that speak to the experiences of Latina/o communities in the Rocky Mountain West, U.S., and throughout the Americas.” It also has a role outside of research, and is “dedicated to campus and community events that bring attention to Latina/o issues.”
Every year the DU community benefits from the work of the DULCCES, which include conferences, symposia, guest speakers, and film screenings. There are also ample opportunities for students to get involved with the Center, says Professor Martinez, from “attending some of these events” to “proposing events that they would like to partner with DULCCES to carry out.” As she is also an advisor to the Latino Student Alliance (LSA), Martinez is truly tapped into DU’s active student life. She is encouraging of students getting involved with their campus community and urges them to take advantage of DU’s many resources, such as the Center for Multicultural Excellence.
In drawing on her background as an experienced professor, professional sociologist, and first-generation college graduate, Martinez states that it is fundamentally important for new undergraduates to take full advantage of all that DU has to offer. Whether that means finding a community of people “who share similar experiences,” or by reaching out to DU’s many faculty members, it is important that students don’t feel like they have to navigate the college process alone.
“Reach out to faculty. I always encourage first-generation students and students of color to seek me out, to find my office and come talk to me if they encounter any problems, whether they are Sociology or Criminology majors or not. In the last nine years, many students have done so, and I’ve tried to be available to them as they went through many challenges both personal and academic. Many of them have stayed in touch and it always brings me great joy to see how far they have come, to see them succeed in whatever it is they pursued.”
With professors like Lisa Martinez, it’s clear that the type of community students will find at the University of Denver is one committed to its students. According to Martinez, although the University still has work to do, it is a place committed to “Inclusive Excellence,” affording students the chance to live and work in a diverse setting, and “develop into global citizens.” This type of welcoming environment, especially when paired with what she dubs “Denver’s up-and-coming flavor,” provides new students with an unbeatable and inimitable educational experience.
Adam Mohrbacher - Inclusive Excellence Communications work study and current DU student