Jesse Bernal of the Gevirtz School at UC Santa Barbara was recently hired by Provost Larry Pitts as interim UC System-wide University Diversity Coordinator reporting to the Provost on system-wide diversity efforts. In that position he is charged with managing the multiple diversity efforts underway, coordinating with the campuses, and staffing the new President’s Council on Campus Climate, Culture and Inclusion. Bernal is working on his Ph.D. in Education with an emphasis in Cultural Perspectives including underrepresented students in higher education. Bernal currently serves as the student UC Regent in a term that concludes at the end of June.
A first-generation college student, Bernal began his graduate studies at UC Santa Barbara in 2005, first in political science and now in education. His areas of emphasis include underrepresented students in higher education, first-year student experience, student development and retention. Bernal received his bachelor’s degree from Westmont College in Santa Barbara.
Most recently, Bernal has been at UC Merced, responsible for creating and coordinating the new Equal Opportunity Program (EOP) office, called the Fiat Lux Scholars Program. The Fiat Lux Scholars Program at UC Merced is aimed to help ease student expenses for course textbooks, and also, to enhance student academic performance, drive and ambition, and overall college experience.
He has worked as special programs manager in the UCSB Summer Sessions office, where he coordinated academic arrangements for several programs, including courses, advising, and workshops as well as extracurricular activities and residential aspects. He has also served as university affairs chair and board member of the UC Student Association and external vice president for statewide affairs for the UCSB Graduate Students Association.
Bernal’s community service has also focused on student and education issues. For several years, he was site coordinator for a Santa Barbara Endowment for Youth program in several elementary schools, supervising tutors, recruitment and parent outreach. Previously, he was a tutor and college adviser with the California Student Opportunity and Access Program, which aims to increase academic achievement and foster college possibilities and retention. With the Southwestern University Diversity Education Program, he was activities director for “Bridge Builders,” organizing training in diversity education and cultural sensitivity.
[Jesse Bernal is available for interviews; contact George Yatchisin at 805 893 5789]
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