The Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU) selected Dean of Students Sara Mata, Ph.D., as one of 50 fellows for its fourth cohort of La Academia de Liderazgo.
La Academia de Liderazgo, or Leadership Academy, is a one-year program to prepare the next generation of culturally diverse leaders for executive- and senior-level positions in higher education.
In addition to her dean duties, Mata serves as co-director of Hispanic/Latinx Initiatives at Newman.
“I am truly grateful to Newman President Kathleen Jagger for initiating and supporting my nomination for the HACU Leadership Academy/La Academia de Liderazgo,” she said. “To be selected as one of the 50 individuals of this cohort, to be a part of this prestigious program designed to increase the number of talented individuals who aspire to leadership positions in Hispanic-serving institutions (HSI) and emerging HSIs is truly a blessing.”
Mata added that HSIs are often associated with Texas, California and the southwest.
“I am very proud to be representing Kansas,” she said.
Mata believes Newman is positioned to lead by example as an emerging HSI.
“To do this work authentically, we must do all we can as an institution to ensure we are serving the students from a culturally relevant understanding of recruitment to graduation,” she said. “My hopes are to be able to share promising practices from other institutions and practitioners to enlighten and strengthen the work here at Newman.”
Mata feels her HACU Leadership Academy experience will allow her to learn from others as well as represent and advance the work being done at Newman.
“I feel strongly that the communidad of HACU and all the phenomenal leaders who have come before me will provide an educational experience like no other,” she said.
Background in helping others
A Kansas native, Mata spent the majority of her educational career in Oklahoma, receiving a doctorate in social foundations from Oklahoma State University. She also holds a bachelor’s degree in sociology with an emphasis in juvenile corrections and treatment, a master’s degree in community counseling and a master’s degree in sociology.
“While pursuing my degrees, I worked as a counselor, focusing on adolescents and families involved with the legal system,” Mata said. “I transitioned to begin my career working in higher education, focused on diversity and inclusion, grants and eventually areas of research.”
Mata’s passion has been mentoring and advocating for students. She is a 2022 NASPA Pillar of the Profession and serves on the executive committee as a member-at-large for the NASPA Foundation Board. NASPA is a national organization for student affairs administrations in higher education. Recently, Mata also joined the board for Court Appointed Special Advocates of Sedgwick County and is a member of the Kansas Hispanic Education Development Foundation.
Ultimately, Mata hopes to use her plethora of experiences and background to provide insight and contribute to the vision and mission of Newman in a meaningful way. Her time in the HACU Leadership Academy will benefit that goal.
“Most important, I hope that I am able to find avenues to support the students and enrich their educational endeavors while they are at the university,” she said.
Study Spanish at Newman
Whether you are looking to become bilingual, teach Spanish, be an interpreter, or simply broaden your language horizon, our Spanish minor is a great place to start.