Judith Estrada named interim Chief Diversity Officer

To: UCSC Campus Community

From: Chancellor Cindy Larive

I am pleased to announce that Dr. Judith Estrada has agreed to serve as our interim Chief Diversity Officer while also taking on a new role as Executive Director of our Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.

Judith has been a vocal advocate for creating a more welcoming, just, and inclusive campus since her arrival at UC Santa Cruz eight years ago. She served seven years as director of El Centro, our Chicanx Latinx Resource Center, before accepting the role of Complaint Resolution Officer for Title IX in the Equity & Equal Protection Office last summer. She also has served as interim director of our Women’s Center.

Executive Director of the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion is a new position for our campus, and I am delighted to have Judith in this role, as well as serving as our interim Chief Diversity Officer. She is a collaborative leader who, among other things, was instrumental in establishing the regional family conferences that are a valuable part of our HSI initiatives. Joining Judith to support this work will be Asia Valdivia in the role of Special Assistant for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion and Project Manager. Asia has been with UC Santa Cruz since 2016, working most recently as interim Assistant Dean of Students, Strategic Initiatives and Policy Analysis. Before that, she served as project manager in Student Achievement and Equity Innovation in the Division of Student Affairs and Success, where she built key relationships and worked across campus in support of many initiatives, including HSI.

Strengthening and broadening our diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts are critical for the success of our campus. The benefits are many, including a positive campus climate, improved racial and cultural awareness, enhanced critical thinking, and of course equitable access to higher education. I am excited to share that we will soon begin a nationwide recruitment for our first Vice Chancellor for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, a role that encompasses serving as our Chief Diversity Officer. This new leader will work collaboratively with leadership campuswide to guide our efforts to advance diversity, equity and inclusion, and proactively build a more inclusive climate. The position will report directly to the chancellor and oversee our Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (ODEI).

The ODEI is charged with advancing diversity, equity and inclusion campuswide, and is complementary to our Equity and Equal Protection Office (EEP), which is responsible for compliance work and the administration of campus policies and procedures regarding discrimination and harassment.

Over the coming academic year, the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion aims to make progress on a number of fronts. Among them is being more proactive on campus-climate issues, focusing less on conflict resolution and “after-the-fact” training. The office will also strengthen its network of campus partners, operating under the philosophy that real change requires campuswide collaboration. Developing foundational materials to support strategic efforts and communicating more about DEI initiatives with our community are also critical goals for the year ahead.

I would like to thank our prior chief diversity officer, Dr. Teresa Maria Linda Scholz, for her work to foster a healthy campus climate where all students, staff, and faculty are seen, valued, and respected. Linda was named New Mexico State University’s first-ever vice president for equity, inclusion and diversity this spring. Her last day with UCSC was July 6.