University of Utah Office for Equity and Diversity

Octavio Villalpando, Ph.D.

Octavio Villalpando

Associate Vice President for Equity and Diversity
Professor, Department of Educational Leadership and Policy
Director of the Center for Critical Race Studies

Listen to Dr. Villalpando's radio interview on KUVO/KVJZ for MLK 2013

Professional Biography

Octavio Villalpando is the Associate Vice President for Equity and Diversity, and Professor of Educational Leadership and Policy at the University of Utah. He received his Ph.D. and master’s degrees from UCLA in the field of higher education, where he also conducted research in the nationally-renown Higher Education Research Institute.

His scholarship draws from Critical Race Theory (CRT) to examine racial inequality in U.S. higher education. His research was cited in the U.S. Supreme Court decision on affirmative action as evidence for maintaining affirmative action in higher education admissions, and has been published in national and international journals in the field of higher education.

He has completed postdoctoral research fellowships funded by the National Academy of Sciences/Ford Foundation and from the California State University system; and has obtained over $5 million in research and assessment grants from public and private sources.

Dr. Villalpando has recently served on the editorial boards of the Review of Higher Education, and as an associate editor of Educational Administration Quarterly.

At the University of Utah, he reports to the Senior Academic Vice President and the President. As the University’s chief diversity officer, he serves as a member of the President’s Cabinet and helps shape institutional policies and practices related to gender, racial/ethnic, and sexual equity and diversity. He has oversight responsibilities for the University’s faculty recruitment and appointment processes and for approximately 25 tenure track/ tenured faculty in the Ethnic Studies Program and Gender Studies Program. Through his assistant vice president for student equity and diversity, he also has oversight responsibility for the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Resource Center (LGBT), the Center for Ethnic Student Affairs (CESA), the American Indian Resource Center (AIRC), Undergraduate Diversity Scholarships and Grants (UDSG), Early Student Outreach (ESO), Transfer Student Outreach (TSO) and other related student support services.

Dr. Villalpando also teaches courses in the areas of critical race theory and diversity and Equity in Higher Education. The College of Education has recognized his scholarly contributions by awarding him the Outstanding Faculty Teaching Award as well as the Outstanding Faculty Research Award.

Prior to moving to Utah, Dr. Villalpando held several leadership positions in higher education institutions, including serving on the staff of the president of California State University at Monterey Bay as Senior Research Scholar and founding Director of University Planning and Assessment. Previously, he helped establish and directed a university educational equity program for under-represented college students in the California State University system, and taught high school in the Los Angeles area.