On behalf of Chancellor Gillman, it is my privilege to announce the appointment of Frances Contreras as dean of UCI’s School of Education, effective January 1, 2022.
Professor Contreras currently serves as associate vice chancellor for equity, diversity and inclusion, as well as professor of education studies, at the University of California, San Diego. In this role, she provides leadership to support a positive campus climate, including faculty recruitment and retention. She has more than 15 years of administrative leadership experience at UCSD and the University of Washington’s College of Education, where she directed the higher education program. A first-generation college student, Professor Contreras will be the first Chicana/Latina dean to head a school of education in the University of California system.
Her research focuses on diversity and access for underrepresented students and the role of public policy in ensuring student equity. Her work has been published in leading education journals, and her most recent books include Achieving Equity for Latino Students, The Latino Education Crisis and High-Achieving African American Students and the College Choice Process.
Professor Contreras is currently a co-principal investigator on three advancing-faculty-diversity grants funded by the UC Office of the President. At the UC system level, she serves as co-chair of the UC Chicano/Latino Advisory Council and on the UC Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSI) Initiative advisory board. Her research agenda on Latino students and HSIs provides an important contribution to UCI, which is classified as an HSI and an Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander-Serving Institution.
Professor Contreras was recognized as an emerging scholar and among the top 25 U.S. academicians to watch by Diverse magazine. She was selected by The Rockefeller Foundation as a scholar in residence at the Bellagio Center in Italy. For her work addressing Latino student equity, she was the recipient of a lifetime achievement award from the Washington State Commission on Hispanic Affairs. In spring 2021, UCSD honored her with the Cesar E. Chavez faculty award, which recognizes outstanding contributions to the campus community.
Professor Contreras previously served on the boards of the Harvard Journal of Hispanic Policy, the Journal of Advanced Academics, the American Civil Liberties Union, the Latino Education Achievement Project, and the Bay Area’s Chicana Latina Foundation. She was a gubernatorial appointee to the Achievement Gap Oversight and Accountability Committee in Washington state. Professor Contreras is currently on the advisory board for The Puente Project, on the national League of United Latin American Citizens higher education task force, on the board of the Lupe Contreras Scholarship Fund, and on the WestEd board of directors.
I am grateful to the search committee and its chair, Jacquelynne Eccles, Distinguished Professor, School of Education, for their contributions to this nationwide search. I would like to thank Richard Arum for his leadership as dean of the School of Education and for his dedication and service.
We look forward to welcoming Professor Contreras to UCI.
Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor
Chancellor’s Professor, Department of Statistics