Crowd of Graduates

Dr. Nelson E. Soto

Equitable and Collaborative Leader

Disrupting Higher Education

About Nelson

Dr. Nelson E. Soto serves as the Provost and Executive Vice President of Academic Affairs Union Institute & University. In his current role, Dr. Soto has firsthand knowledge and experience in garnering external funding, building, and managing systems to support online programs, and working collaboratively with faculty and senior administrators.

Focused on enabling and encouraging change, Dr. Soto is deeply committed to ensuring that all individuals, no matter their background or circumstances, have access to higher education and the opportunity to improve their own lives and those of their families. Dr. Soto is in a unique position to advance the university’s mission as a vehicle for change in the community through diversity and innovative education. Dr. Soto provides leadership in engaging and empowering adult learners in the larger society in which they live and work, building a mutually beneficial, expansive and collaborative community that lives beyond the classroom. As a visionary and strategic leader, the central underpinning of his values and professional experiences is promoting justice, diversity, equity, and inclusion in higher education. Dr. Soto has received numerous grants for his research and efforts.

Dr. Soto came to Union from Harrison College, Indianapolis, where he served as associate provost and vice president for curriculum and instruction from 2010 to 2013. Prior to Harrison College, he served as an assistant dean in the graduate office at Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) from 2008 to 2010 and as an instructional development specialist at IUPUI’s Center for Teaching and Learning from 2005 to 2008. Dr. Soto has served as faculty at Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis in the School of Education; Indiana University, College of Arts and Sciences; University of Missouri-Columbia, College of Education; and the University of Cincinnati, University College.

Currently, Dr. Soto serves on the New Leadership Academy Advisory Board and is a member of the Higher Learning Commission, Institutional Action Committee (IAC). In addition, Dr. Soto has served on the Hoxworth Blood Center Community Advisory Board, Harvard Business Publishing Advisory Board, Cengage Private Sector Advisory Board, Pearson Service Learning Board, and was chair of the Harrison College Military Advisory Board. Dr. Nelson E. Soto is a Board Member Emeritus and founding board member of Maryssa's Mission Foundation (MMF).

Dr. Soto is married to Dr. Ana Baratta; they have two children, Daniel, age 12 and Nicole, age 10.

Professional Academic Experience

Provost & Executive Vice President of Academic Affairs

Union Institute & University (2013 – present)

Associate Vice Provost & Vice President for Curriculum and Instruction

Harrison College (2010 – 2013)

Assistant Dean

Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis (2008 – 2010)

Instructional Development Specialist, Center for Teaching and Learning

Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis (2005 – 2008)

African American Businessman.

Presentations, Interviews, and Podcasts

Daring to Transcend: An Unedited Version of Courageous Leadership

What comes to mind when you envision a courageous leader? Better yet, what does a leader look like, sound like? How do they act? And what position do they hold? Courageous leadership can take many forms—and brave leaders, in particular, can come in every shape; they may or may not be wealthy; some are well known while others are known only by a few; and some have high-ranking status while others have a more modest rank.

In this special edition of Friday Forums, “Daring to Transcend,” Dr. Nelson E. Soto, President of Albizu University discussed how the most remarkable leaders are known for their bravery, courage, and acts that rise above any obstacle to exert influence and generate impact.

Power of Belonging-University of Utah Friday Forums on Racism in Higher Education

“Belonging” might be the new buzzword in higher education, but the need to belong is crucial in this transitional moment in higher education. More students with marginalized identities, be it race, gender, neurodiversity, or ability, are entering institutions of higher education and our programs, departments, culture must reflect student needs for them to thrive and achieve post-graduation success.

Behind The Brand with Union Institute and University

According to a report by the Washington Post 40% of undergraduates in the U.S. attend small colleges and universities — with fewer than 5,000 students. In addition, nine percent of Fortune 500 CEO’s graduated from liberal arts colleges. Twenty three percent of US Educated Nobel Laureates and twenty seven Percent of US Presidents are Liberal Arts College graduates.

Unfortunately, on average, five private 4-year non-profit colleges and universities have closed per year over the last ten years, with as many as 9 institutions closing in 2009. For small colleges and universities, risks to financial health have become a chronic issue in the aftermath of the financial crisis of the early 2000’s. Small colleges and universities tend to be among-or at serious risk of joining- the one third of higher education institutions that face financial statements significantly weaker than before the great recession.

Panel members discuss the financial challenges facing small colleges and universities and outline strategies to address these challenges. In particular the panel highlights the challenges and opportunities related to online programs and partnerships.

Behind The Brand with Union Institute and University

Rachel Leigh goes Behind the Brand with Union Institute and University's Kimbrea Browning, VP of Enrollment Management, & Dr. Nelson Soto, Provost, VP of Academic Affairs.

Dr. Nelson Soto Interviews Union Faculty Member Shirley Murillo in Spanish

Join Dr. Nelson Soto as he interviews Union Institute & University faculty member Shirley Murillo in Spanish. They will discuss Ms. Murillo’s move to the United States, her work with early childhood professionals, the importance of an education (especially an education from Union Institute & University), and much more. Shirley Murillo’s career has taken her on many pathways. One path led her to become an Infant/toddler specialist for the Program for Infant Toddlers Caregivers (PITC). A much longer path crossed halfway around the world to New Zealand.

Fireside Chat: Adaptability and Resiliency in a Changing World

Education can change the world. It can lift people out of poverty and create more innovative and stronger economies and better-informed, more engaged citizens. But what happens when the world changes so rapidly that we—to say nothing of our institutions—struggle to keep up? Join two leading thinkers for a fireside chat as they discuss what we can do to create resiliency in a changing world, to ensure no one falls between the cracks, and to pave the way for vital economic recovery after COVID-19.

In the Press and Media

American flag for Memorial Day, 4th of July, Labour Day

Curriculum Vitae

Get in Touch



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