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Sonia Gipson Rankin

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Phone: 277-6515


  • 2002, JD University of Illinois College of Law
  • 1998, B.S. Morgan State University, Computer Science
  • Member of the New Mexico State Bar
  • former President of the New Mexico Black Lawyers Association


Sonia Gipson Rankin, J.D., serves as the Associate Dean for Curriculum and Program Development of University College and a Senior Lecturer in Africana Studies at the University of New Mexico. She has also served as an Adjunct Faculty at the UNM School of Law. She graduated summa cum laude with a degree in Computer Science from Morgan State University. Prof. Gipson Rankin attended the University of Illinois College of Law entering as a Lincoln Scholar and was later recognized for her legal research and writing abilities with several academic accolades. While there, she served as an Associate Editor of the Elder Law Journal and published a legal note studying black grandparents and the legal impact of informal kinship care [Why They Won’t Take the Money: Black Grandparents and the Success of Informal Kinship Care, 10 Elder Law Journal 153 (2002)]. Her latest article, Black Kinship Circles in the 21st Century: Survey of Recent Child Welfare Reforms and How It Impacts Black Kinship Care Families, was published by the Whittier Journal of Law and Family Advocacy in 2013. Prof. Gipson Rankin has since focused her area of research to the law and its impact on the Black American community, particularly in the areas of technology, family dynamics, and race.

In 2002, Prof. Gipson Rankin relocated to Albuquerque, New Mexico becoming a licensed attorney and joining the New Mexico Bar Association. She has served as a family mediator, legal advisor, and as a charter school trustee. Prof. Gipson Rankin has spoken at the Association of Community Colleges Trustees Governance Leadership Institute on Diversity, the University of New Mexico's Civil Rights Symposium, Holloman AFB, USDA Forest Service, US Attorney - New Mexico's Office, and Intel Corporation.  She has presented at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis's Assessment Institute, the Association for Public Policy Analysis & Management, SE/SW/MW People of Color Scholarship Conference, and New Mexico Academic Advisement Association.   Prof. Gipson Rankin has guest lectured at the University of Kentucky, Rutgers University, and University of Texas - El Paso, and served as a panelist alongside noted civil rights activist, Dick Gregory.

Prof. Gipson Rankin loves being in the classroom and teaches courses in Africana Studies, related to race, law, and technology. She teaches undergraduate courses such as Race and the Law, and Race in the Digital Age. She has also taught Civil Rights Movement; Black Women; Race, Family and the Law; and Black Liberation and Theology.

She served as the Associate Director of Africana Studies for three years until she was appointed Associate Dean for Curriculum and Program Development in University College. In her duties as associate dean for University College, Prof. Gipson Rankin is responsible for the overall administrative management of Academic Communities at UNM. As such, she collaborates closely with academic units throughout the University about creating curriculum and high-impact academic initiatives related to first-year students. In 2016, Prof. Gipson Rankin was named one of 10 Outstanding First-Year Advocates by the National Resource Center for her work related to first year college students.  Prof. Gipson Rankin is also an adjunct at the UNM School of Law where she teaches Family Law, Family Law in Practice, and Race and the Law

At UNM, Prof. Gipson Rankin serves as Chair of the New Student Orientation Advisory Committee and Chair of the UNM Web Advisory Committee. She serves as faculty advisor for UNM’s chapters of Phi Sigma Pi and the National Society of Black Engineers, Collegiate Chapter. Prof. Gipson Rankin has been committed to her community, serving in the past as Vice-President of her children’s elementary school PTA and as a pre-teen volleyball coach through the YMCA. She is the past President of the New Mexico Black Lawyers Association, a member of the State Bar of New Mexico Committee on Professionalism, and director of the Women’s United Ministry at her church. She is married to Eric Rankin and has three children, Naomi, Sarai, and Isaac.