Magdalena Martinez

Associate Professor, Greenspun College of Urban Affairs
Director of Education Programs, The Lincy Institute
Expertise: Education policy, High school transitions to college, Minority Serving Institutions, Hispanic Serving Institutions, English Language Learners, Hispanic students
Languages: English, Spanish


Magdalena Martinez is an assistant faculty at the College of Urban Affairs and the director of education programs at the Lincy Institute. Prior to UNLV, she served as the assistant vice chancellor for academic and student affairs for the Nevada System of Higher Education. She was responsible for strengthening P-16 education partnerships and examining education policy in order to increase access, equity, and success for underrepresented student populations. As Assistant Vice Chancellor is was responsible for the successful development and implementation of statewide college access grants from the U.S. Department of Education and private grants. In addition she worked closely with the Nevada Department of Education to develop and implement the Nevada statewide GEAR UP grant ($21 million) which serves low-income students.

Martinez's experience also includes working at the National Forum of Higher Education for the Public Good at the University of Michigan. This initiative focused on the role of higher education and the public good by examining the intersection of leadership and public policy. She contributed to the research, planning and implementation of multiple national dialogues which focused on issues related to postsecondary access, equity and student success. In addition, she served as a program evaluator for a three-year, W.K. Kellogg Foundation funded leadership program to prepare individuals for the presidency at Minority Serving Institutions (HBCUs, HSIs, TCUs).

In 2015, Martinez was a fellow for the New Leadership Academy organized by the University of Michigan and the American Association of Hispanics in Higher Education. Other professional experience includes serving as a community college administrator at the College of Southern Nevada and policy and management analyst at the City of Las Vegas.

Martinez’s research interests encompass three interconnected areas focused on student access and success for underrepresented students, the role of community colleges, leadership and public policy to increase postsecondary access and success.



  • Ph.D. University of Michigan
  • M.A., Harvard University
  • B.A. University of Nevada, Las Vegas

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Magdalena Martinez In The News

Las Vegas Sun
The Clark County School Board of the future could add two politically appointed members and a student representative, but the concept of a hybrid board isn’t warmly received by its current members.
Over the past year, colleagues at the Brookings Institution and the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, have launched a research project that examines shifting inequities in the post-pandemic recovery. Many researchers, including our colleagues, have framed the effects of COVID as a disease and a turbulent economic moment that punctuated a robust economy. Far fewer have appreciated the asymmetries in the lived experiences of the journey back to normalcy, which have largely been defined by racialized identities, chronic marginalization, and the influence of place in shaping these experiences.
The Atlantic
Last year, before Anthony Boccia joined the teaching staff at Valley High School, his students spent hours in a windowless room in the company of John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John. Overseen by a long-term substitute teacher, the group of eight children, who are mostly non-verbal and physically and intellectually disabled, watched Grease and a drawer-full of other well-worn VHS tapes, often from the first bell to the last.
Las Vegas Review Journal
Hillary Clinton’s sweeping plan to make college more affordable — sparing 88 percent of Nevada families from paying tuition at in-state, public institutions — has been received with a mix of praise and skepticism from higher education insiders.