Meet Dr. Liz Mendez-Shannon

She will be joining CLAS as the first ever full-time Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.
Tuesday, August 16, 2022

Dr. Liz Mendez-Shannon is joining the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences as the Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion and will be the first full-time director dedicated to DEI in our college.

In this role, Liz will work with the DEI Committee and collegiate leadership to engage with faculty, staff, students, and the larger community. She is excited to return to the Iowa City community where she received her PhD in Social Work.

Learn a little more about Liz and her interests in this brief Q&A. 

What are you most excited about in your new role with CLAS? Dr. Liz Mendez-Shannon

"I am excited about meeting and getting to know everyone. There are three values inherent in DEI work—transparency, accountability, and innovation. I am passionate about how all of these values sustain teamwork and expand a cohesive community. By engaging and being open minded in my new role, I can help build this vision."

As a CLAS and School of Social Work PhD graduate, this isn’t your first time in Iowa City. What are you looking forward to in your return? 

"I am thrilled to be back with the University of Iowa and CLAS. It is exciting to connect with passionate educators, researchers and learners who share their life experiences and diverse backgrounds. My family and I look forward to living in a small-town community vibe with great art, fantastic music, and a delicious food scene."

 What is something unique about you that few people know? 

"As a Latina growing up in a household with music, I love dancing and singing. You might catch me salsa dancing or doing Karaoke around town."

 What was the most recent TV show you enjoyed or binged? 

"I love to watch travel shows. This past year I enjoyed Stanley Tucci: Searching for Italy and was inspired to spend a month in Florence and Bologna this past March."

In five years, what is your vision and hope for our college? 

"To create an environment where folks feel heard, valued, and can live authentically. To continue to create and build community. And to be stronger, more resilient during challenging times."

Liz will officially begin in her role at Iowa on Monday, Aug. 22. Please give her a warm welcome when she arrives on campus. 

The University of Iowa College of Liberal Arts and Sciences offers about 70 majors across the humanities; fine, performing and literary arts; natural and mathematical sciences; social and behavioral sciences; and communication disciplines. About 15,000 undergraduate and nearly 2,000 graduate students study each year in the college’s 37 departments, led by faculty at the forefront of teaching and research in their disciplines. The college teaches all Iowa undergraduates through the college's general education program, CLAS CORE. About 80 percent of all Iowa undergraduates begin their academic journey in CLAS. The college confers about 60 percent of the university's bachelor's degrees each academic year.