Mari Castañeda, professor of communication and associate dean for equity and inclusion in the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences, is the new dean of the Commonwealth Honors College at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.
In her 19 years with UMass Amherst, Castañeda has served as a Chancellor’s Leadership Fellow and chair of communication. Over the course of her career, she has received the UMass President’s Public Service Award, Distinguished Outreach Award, College of Social and Behavioral Sciences Teaching Award, and Lilly Fellowship. Both the state Senate and House of Representatives have issued citations and a commendation to Castañeda in recognition of her engaged scholarship and community contributions. In 2010, she became the first director of diversity advancement in any college on campus.
Castañeda’s research interests include the study of digital media and telecommunication policy, Latina/ethnic media studies, and academic cultures of care. Her work promotes engaged scholarship and aims to address inequality, power, community voices and the role of intersectionalities in shaping media and cultural spaces.
Her engaged scholarship has appeared in multiple journals/monographs, and she has published three co-edited books: “Telenovelas and Soap Operas in the Digital Age: Global Industries and New Audiences”; “Mothers in Academia”; and “Civic Engagement in Latinx Communities: Learning from Social Justice Partnerships in Action.”
A 1993 graduate of the University of California, Los Angeles, Castañeda earned a B.A. in communications, with an emphasis on Chicana/Latino studies and media studies. She has a Ph.D. in communication from the University of California, San Diego.