Gordillo to be honored with Interdisciplinary Catalyst award

Luz-Maria Gordillo
Luz-Maria Gordillo

Luz-Maria Gordillo, CAHNRS Assistant Dean for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusive Excellence and an Associate Professor in the WSU College of Arts and Sciences’ (CAS) Department of History, has been selected to receive a CAS Interdisciplinary Catalyst Award.

The award recognizes faculty with exceptional ability to bring their colleagues together across disciplines and institutional boundaries in service to shared research, scholarly, and creative accomplishment.

Based at WSU Vancouver, Gordillo divides her time between research in CAS, where she explores 20th century United States history, Chicanx, Latinx, Gender and Sexuality Studies, and the history of medicine, and leadership in CAHNRS, where she oversees college-spanning efforts to encourage and educate for diversity and provides opportunities to underrepresented groups.

Gordillo hosts monthly CAHNRS Get Together events that build a supportive community for people of color, LGBTQIA+, and other underserved communities in the college. Recent Get Togethers have honored Black History Month in February, and Women’s History Month in March.

Gordillo will be recognized at the tenth annual CAS Appreciation and Recognition Social, to be held Thursday, April 21, at the Courtyard Marriott Hotel, Pullman.

“I like to think of myself as an interdisciplinary thinker, researcher, and leader,” Gordillo said. “I have found that interdisciplinarity not only opens venues for collaborations that are unimaginable, but also it opens and creates new opportunities for traditional disciplines to be more unique and to expand their breadth and depth.

“It’s this approach that has led me to be in the different career positions that I’ve had,” she added. “Wearing different hats as it were in teaching, research, and my approach to leadership positions has allowed me to learn a constellation of approaches to academe, but also to empathize with people who come from different places and different cultural ideals.”

Cross-disciplinary experiences

A Chicana feminist historian with degrees in history, media studies, and film and photography, Gordillo has been a passionate advocate for and practitioner of transdisciplinary academic production throughout her career. Her scholarly publications include books, journal articles, book chapters. Other major interdisciplinary projects include a documentary film, monthly short story segments for Portland’s community radio station, as well as a photographic exhibition and book project at WSU Vancouver on a Cuba visit supporting student exchange with the University of Havana.

Gordillo has extensive administrative experience linking scholarship, creative production, and activism with a commitment to diversity and inclusion. From 2016 to 2018, she served as program leader for the WSU Department of Critical Culture, Gender, and Race Studies (CCGRS), while also creating and overlooking the interdisciplinary Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies minor at WSU Vancouver.

Gordillo also served for four years as chair of the Council on Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion, during which she supported local, national, and global topics including environmental justice, artistic collaborations among students of color, films on indigenous rights, Latinx and Chicanx conference presentations, curriculum development, and collaborative projects with Native American allies and the League of United Latin American Citizens.

In Vancouver, Gordillo is the Campus Director for Faculty Equity and Outreach. In her current position as assistant dean in CAHNRS, she works for sustained, long-term inclusive excellence in recruiting, supporting, and retaining faculty, staff, and students of color. She also collaborates and advises Extension leaders in Community and Economic Development, Agriculture and Natural Resources, and Youth and Family Development units to increase effective outreach and engagement with communities of color and underserved populations.

Learn more about her work at Gordillo’s research website.

Learn about Diversity, Equity, and Inclusive Excellence efforts in CAHNRS at the DEI website.