Commencement Speaker Sylvia Hurtado
A.B. Princeton University; Ed.M. Harvard University; Ph.D. UCLA
Director of the Higher Education Research Institute at UCLA
Recognized by Denison University with the
Doctor of Social Sciences, honoris causa
by Fleur W. Metzger
Sylvia Hurtado is a nationally and internationally recognized scholar in the field of higher education. She is professor and director of the Higher Education Research Institute at UCLA in the Graduate School of Education and Information Sciences, a post she has held since 2004.
A prolific writer, she has focused her research on issues of diversity and democratic practices in education. Her research efforts include a U.S. Department of Education-sponsored project on how colleges are preparing students to achieve the cognitive, social and democratic skills to participate in a diverse democracy. She is launching a National Institutes of Health project on the preparation of under-represented students for biomedical and behavioral science research careers. A previous research project involved assessment, reform and innovation in undergraduate education through the National Center for Postsecondary Improvement.
Her books include: Defending Diversity: Affirmative Action at the University of Michigan (2004), Intergroup Dialogue: Deliberative Democracy in School, College, Community and Workplace (2001) and Enacting Diverse Learning Environments: Improving the Campus Climate for Racial/Ethnic Diversity in Higher Education (1999). Prior to her current position, she served as Director of the Center for the Study of Higher and Postsecondary Education at the University of Michigan from 2000 to 2003. She joined the University of Michigan School of Education as an assistant professor in 1992 and was named associate professor in 1997.
Born in San Antonio, Texas, Hurtado earned an A.B. in Sociology from Princeton University in 1980 and was certified to teach both Spanish and social studies in the State of New Jersey. She continued her education at Harvard University, earning an Ed.M. in Administration, Planning and Social Policy in 1983 and a Ph.D. in Education from the Graduate School of Education at UCLA in 1990.
Black Issues in Higher Education named Hurtado among the top 15 influential faculty who personify scholarship, service and integrity and whose work has had substantial impact on the academy. Her other honors include the Harold R. Johnson Diversity Award, 1998, University of Michigan; the Distinguished Early Career Award, 1995-96, Association for the Study of Higher Education; and the Evan and Helen Geib Pattishall Junior Faculty Research Award, 1994, University of Michigan School of Education.
Hurtado was on the board of the American Association of Higher Education from 1996 to 2000 and currently serves on the Research and Evaluation Advisory Board of the Gates Millenium Scholarship Program. She was president of Association for the Study of Higher Education in 2004-05. She has served on numerous editorial advisory boards and has been a keynote speaker at lecture series and conferences throughout the United States and in South Africa. Hurtado was a convocation speaker at Denison in February of this year, presenting "Linking Diversity with the Educational and Civic Mission of the Institution."