Juanita Ortiz is a first-generation college graduate, the daughter of undocumented Mexican immigrants to the United States. She earned her bachelor of arts degree in political science and sociology, her master of arts and doctoral degrees in sociology, all from the University of Oklahoma. Juanita’s first faculty appointment was at the University of Illinois-Springfield (UIS), where she taught Criminal Justice courses that focused on incarcerated women, recidivism, and the social constructions of race and social class in the United States. Her service opportunities included being a faculty sponsor for the campus chapter of the national Alpha Phi Sigma Criminal Justice Honor Society and the campus Hispanic student association, for which she won Advisor of the Year awards. These mentoring opportunities instilled in Dr. Ortiz a strong belief in the power of transformative leadership, service, and learning. While at UIS, she also served on numerous academic and administrative committees, including the College of Public Affairs & Administration Executive Committee and the LGBTQ Office Advisory Council.
Juanita credits the OU Sociology Department faculty with helping her gain the academic and professional tools necessary to seek opportunities in higher education. While her original goal was to serve as an adjunct instructor in Oklahoma to allow her to remain close to family, her faculty mentors pushed her to pursue opportunities outside of her comfort zone. The professional experiences gained outside of Oklahoma prepared her to accept her current position at Rose State College as Dean of the Social Sciences Division. In this role, she oversees a vibrant division with numerous degree programs, certificates, and courses of study. Staffed with faculty from all over the United States, the Social Sciences Division is the largest academic Division at Rose State College, and its focus is to prepare students for transfer and success at any four-year institution.
The thing she likes most about her job is that it is never the same day-to-day and that the opportunities to help people never cease. Her duties include supervision and evaluation of all Division full-time faculty and staff; development and management of the annual Division budget; oversight of Division program and curriculum development; and representation of the Social Sciences Division in campus, community, and higher education affairs. As part of Ortiz’s position as Dean, she appreciates the opportunities to work with the University of Oklahoma. She began her career as an adjunct instructor at Rose State College while a doctoral student at OU, so she now welcomes the opportunity to mentor and provide similar experiences to current graduate students in social science fields. She also appreciates working to establish new articulation agreements between OU and Rose State College, to ensure students’ seamless transition from the community college to the university level. She is ecstatic to be back in Oklahoma and to continue her work in higher education in her challenging yet rewarding position.
Posted on Wed, June 15, 2016
by Debra Hensley-Luczycki