USC Upstate Professor Selected for Prestigious Emerging Leaders Program

Araceli Hernández-Laroche

Araceli Hernández-Laroche

Spartanburg, S.C. – The University of South Carolina Upstate is pleased to announce Dr. Araceli Hernández-Laroche has been selected for the 2020 cohort of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) Emerging Leaders Program (ELP).

The program, which is limited to 25 mid-career staff professionals and faculty members per cohort, offers participants the opportunity to engage in a national dialogue with leaders in higher education and to develop a network of colleagues around the country.

Participants must be nominated by their university’s president/chancellor or another cabinet-level administrator.

“AASCU represents more than 400 institutions of higher learning across the country so we are extremely proud that Dr. Hernández-Laroche will be part of the 2020 cohort of ELP,” said USC Upstate Interim Chancellor J. Derham Cole, Jr. “Her selection is well-deserved, as she has proven herself a force for cultural diversity, inclusion and equity, and has modeled exceptional service across our institution and in the community.”

The program includes the completion of a leadership self-assessment, the development of a plan designed to help participants achieve their leadership goals and the creation of an action plan to complete a project/initiative at their home campuses during the 2020-2021 academic year.

Hernández-Laroche will work on a project entitled, “Higher Ed, Equity, and Building a Latinx Workforce & Líderes,” which seeks to build the Latinx workforce within the university, locally and beyond through partnerships with UnidosUS and other higher education, philanthropic and business leaders throughout the Southeast.

“Higher education has an opportunity to meet the historic challenges of our day, but we need to diversify our talent pool and meaningfully amplify more perspectives,” Hernández-Laroche said. “If we want to attract and retain the best workforce, our leaders must labor to expand their perception of talent. I see this over and over again. Through my project with AASCU, I seek to bring innovative, culturally-informed solutions to a national and regional problem. We can do better in mirroring the increasingly rich diversity of our local and national populations. We must if we are to prepare a dynamic, relevant, multilingual and globally competitive workforce for tomorrow.”

Hernández-Laroche serves as an associate professor of modern languages, and as foreign-language coordinator and assistant chair of the Department of Language, Literature and Composition at USC Upstate. She is the first tenured Mexican-American professor in the university’s history.

She is the past-president of the South Carolina chapter of the American Association of Teachers of French. She currently represents French programs in the U.S. and Canada on the executive committee of the Association of Departments of Foreign Languages, one of the projects of the Modern Languages Association.

Hernández-Laroche serves on the boards of Spartanburg’s Chapman Cultural Center, the Hub City Writers Project and LGBT Fund-Spartanburg County Foundation, and represents Alianza Spartanburg on the Spartanburg Area Chamber of Commerce’s Inclusion Council.

Her students tutored detention center inmates as part of a co-taught course on torture and global terrorism. She is the faculty advisor of the French Club and the Hermanas of Leadership Association (HOLA). Throughout the years, she has collaborated with faculty in various disciplines to organize World War I events, the New Global South Summit, French film festivals and the Latinx Interdisciplinary Studies Talks on Civic Leadership and Mentoring. Her published work on existentialist intellectuals and in the area of Mediterranean studies includes an exploration of the intersections of colonialism and world wars in the works of French, Italian and North African writers. This year, a co-edited volume on the First World War will be published by UK Routledge. Her co-editors are Drs. McCormick and Canino. She is currently co-writing in Spanish another book on migration with Mexican professors at the Universidad Autónoma de Ciudad Juárez and the Universidad de Guanajuato.

Hernández-Laroche is engaged in public scholarship. One recent peer-reviewed publication she co-authored with USC Upstate Spanish Instructor Maria Francisco Montesó, an expert on translation and interpreting studies, addresses her beliefs about the criticality of civic engagement on campus and the importance of training students in translation and interpreting skills to serve immigrant communities. Her op-ed entitled, “Empowering Networks for More Board Diversity,” was published by the Spartanburg Herald-Journal on Jan. 19, 2020.

In 2019, Hernández-Laroche was named Career Woman of the Year by the Business and Professional Women of Spartanburg in recognition of outstanding success in her career and significant contributions to civic and humanitarian activities. She was recently named the Career Woman of the Year by the Business and Professional Women of South Carolina.

Hernández-Laroche received a Bachelor of Arts with a double major in French and Francophone studies and Italian studies from the University of California, Los Angeles. She earned her Master of Arts and Ph.D. in French from the University of California, Berkeley.

About USC Upstate

The University of South Carolina Upstate is a regional comprehensive university offering more than 45 undergraduate and graduate programs in the liberal arts and sciences, business administration, nursing, and education. Located along the I-85 corridor in Spartanburg between Greenville and Charlotte, USC Upstate is ranked by U.S. News & World Report at No. 1 among Top Public Schools. It serves as a major talent producer for the region, with more than 6,000 students, approximately 1,300 new graduates a year, and nearly 30,000 alumni, many of whom live and work in the state. The USC Upstate Spartans compete in 17 NCAA Division 1 sports as a member of the Big South Conference. For more information, visit

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