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Mª Vicenta Mestre



Mª Vicenta Mestre Escrivá, born in Oliva, is a full professor of Basic Psychology at the Universitat de València. As a graduate in Philosophy and Education Sciences, in the specialties of Psychology and Education Sciences, she received the Extraordinary Graduate Award and the National Award for outstanding scholars, and upon receiving her doctorate in Psychology, she received the Extraordinary Doctorate Award.

In 2018, she was elected the Principal of the Universitat de València (appointed by Decree 41/2018 of the 6 April of the Government of the Valencian Community), making her the first woman to assume this role since the university was founded in 1499. She was then re-elected in 2022 (appointed by Decree 25/2022 of 11 March of the Government of the Valencian Community).

Dr Mestre has extensive research experience. She has authored around 200 papers in national and international journals, 23 books and 50 book chapters. She has also supervised 20 doctoral theses. She served as the director of a research group and acted as Principal Investigator on 34 competitive projects among which we can highlight two PROMETEO projects with the University of Missouri (USA), the CONICET project in Buenos Aires, as well as the management of the  ‘Personal Empowerment, Social Inclusion and Quality of Life, CVIFOR’ ISIC network of excellence. Her research has focused on childhood and adolescence, with the main objective of identifying protective and vulnerability factors in children and their families, and intervening with children and adolescents at risk of poverty and/or social exclusion.

Her latest research includes a study on violence and victimisation in adolescence and the role of values (National Plan R+D+I, PSI2016-78242-R) and the PROMETEO Project on socio-emocional and personal competence as a means of preventing maladaptive behaviour.

Her commitment to science has been demonstrated through an extensive research career of six periods of six years of research (36 total years) and an additional period of six years of knowledge transfer. She is also the co-director of the Luis Amigó Chair, a collaboration between the Universitat de València and the Amigó Foundation, for psychosocial intervention with at-risk minors.

Dr Mestre is committed to transforming the university and throughout her career she has gained experience in the different levels of academia, as well as in the main areas of university management. She has served as the Secretary of the Department of Basic Psychology (1986-1989), Vice-Dean of Infrastructure of the Faculty of Psychology (2001-2002), the first woman to become Dean of the Faculty of Psychology (2002-2006), Vice-Principal of Studies (2006-2010), Vice-Principal of Academic Planning and Teaching Staff (2010-2015), and Vice-Principal for Academic Planning, Teaching and Sustainability (2015-2018).

While serving her term in this last role, where she was responsible for the inclusion and integration of people with disabilities, the university received several national recognitions, including the ONCE Foundation Solidarity Awards and the Telefónica Ability Awards.

On the national level, she has acted as executive secretary of the CRUE Sectoral Committee for Academic Affairs and the CRUE Sectoral Committee for Sustainability. From May 2019 to July 2023, she presided over the Spanish CRUE Sectoral Committee of University Teaching Staff and, in 2021, she presided over the Conference of Valencian Public University Principals (CRUPV, Spanish acronym). She is also a member of the management board of the Spanish Society for the Study of Anxiety and Stress (SEAS, Spanish acronym).

Considered one of the Top 100 Women Leaders in Spain in the Public, Institutional and Political Service category of the 2019 ranking of mujeres & cia, she is highly regarded in the field of psychology and has been a full member of the Spanish Academy of Psychology since 2018. In that same year, she received the José Luis Pinillos Award for Psychologist of the Year organised by the Spanish Foundation for Excellence and Innovation in Psychology, an award that recognises excellence in professional and academic activity in the field of Spanish psychology.

On the institutional level, she has been recognised with the Distinction of the Generalitat Valenciana (Degree 160/2018 of 5 October), awarded the police merit award of the Unit of the National Police Corps of the Valencian Community (Decree 189/2019 of 13 December of the Valencian Regional Council) and named Favourite Daughter of Oliva in September 2022. On the social level, she has received numerous recognitions including the award of the Federation of Progressive Women of the Valencian Community, the Ferrer Pastor Award of the Commonwealth of Municipalities of La Safor, the honorary award for Cultural Trajectory of Foment AIC of Gandía, the Æquitas award of the College of Social Graduates of Valencia, the recognition Bétera en Lilà of the Association of Progressive Women of Bétera and the 2023 Human Sciences Research Award of the Ateneo Mercantil of Valencia.

On the international level, she has served as a member of the executive board of the Ibero-American University Postgraduate Association (AUIP, Spanish acronym), a member of the International Association of University Presidents (IAUP) and currently, since 2019, serves as a member of the FORTHEM Alliance of universities, an alliance which she will chair in 2024.