Lorena Muñoz, New Director of Ethnic and Race Studies, is ‘wonderful, generous, and vibrant.’


Photo by Ysabella Gonzalez- Reporter

Lorena Muñoz showing off her favorite pieces of literature, ranging from topics on sexuality, race, and gender.

Ysabella Gonzalez, Reporter

Lorena Muñoz, PhD, has been brought in as an associate professor and director of Ethnic and Race studies.

“I chose to come here because I really wanted to teach in a liberal arts university. Because my own experience really gave me this outlook to see how liberal arts universities oftentimes, really work for students of color,”Muñoz said.

Muñoz continued to speak highly of liberal art schools and their ability to focus on the students, since the schools are smaller.

“I think that if we create spaces for students of color to thrive, liberal arts is where to do them,” Muñoz said.

She said in more detail how she felt about her role in the program on a more personal level, as she herself is a member of the Latinx community, “I think it’s important to just highlight that, since there’s less and less faculty of color who move from assistant professor to associate professor. And then even less from associate professor to full professor. So, I think it’s important [because] that is more of who I am,” Muñoz said.

Muñoz said she has enjoyed all the students she’s met so far and is very excited for the freedom she will have in teaching her class. She plans to build a community within her classrooms and even take them on research trips to practice working in the field. 

Before joining the faculty here, she was the Associate Professor of Ethnic Studies at Mills College for one academic year. Additionally, she had been an Assistant Professor of Gender Women’s Sexuality Studies and American Studies at the University of Minnesota for nine academic years.

“Dr. Muñoz is a really wonderful, generous and vibrant person.” said Bianet Castellanos Ph.D, professor of American Studies at the University of Minnesota.

“She was known as someone who was really warm and who brought a really positive energy to campus, and as well as filling a really important gap in our curriculum around Latinx geographies, Latinx studies and queer studies.” said associate professor of Geography at the University of Minnesota, Kate Derickson Ph.D.

Both hold Muñoz in high regards.

“Any university or institution that has the opportunity to have Dr. Muñoz in a leadership position is lucky. She’s really great at her job and we certainly miss having her around here,” Derickson said.

“She understood where the students were coming from and she’s just a huge advocate for diversity. And so, to have her at Cal Lutheran you’re really, really lucky that she’s going to step in, help build Ethnic Studies and is going to be able to support the students of color and the diverse students,” Castellanos said.

Muñoz is most looking forward to expanding the program here on campus and welcoming all kinds of students, not just those of color or certain majors.

“It is a space where it’s a brave space, that I work towards this becoming— you know, not so much like a safe space, but a brave space. Where we learn to think with a social justice mind or frame, and basically, we strive to just make this world a better place. And if it sounds sappy, but that’s exactly what we try to do,” Muñoz said.