In new hands

By By Ana Breton

By Ana Breton

After months of deliberation, Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs David Pershing named Octavio Villalpando to be the new associate vice president for diversity yesterday.

Villalpando, associate professor of educational leadership and policy, beat three other candidates to the position, which was vacated last October after Karen Dace resigned to take a job at the University of Missouri-Kansas City.

According to the administration’s definition, the vice president for diversity works with various campus entities to recruit and retain students, staff and faculty, and makes every attempt to support the academic, professional and personal successes of each individual.

As associate vice president for diversity, Villalpando-who calls himself a “data guy”-hopes to enhance the successes of diverse students at the U by improving research specifically relating to the application, acceptance and rejection statistics among minority students.

“We need to be able to collect and report data surrounding diverse students,” Villalpando said. “There is some data collected already, but it needs to be gathered systematically and routinely-not just occasionally.”

By gathering updated data, Villalpando believes he can gain insight into diverse groups at the U, specifically “all students of color who tend to be underrepresented,” he said.

Pershing said he expects Villalpando to be a strong addition to the academic leadership team.

“I am excited about the prospects of working with Professor Villalpando in this new role,” Pershing said in a written statement. “His scholarship focuses on diversity issues in higher education so he is ideally suited to help us and to reach out to the community.”

In response to Pershing’s comments, Villalpando said he was excited about the opportunity he has to increase the role of diversity at the U, as well as the chance to work with fellow staff members.

“I am looking forward to working with dedicated people and learning from them,” Villalpando said. “We are in a good position to make good contributions to an institution of higher education.”

A Latino, Villalpando was a first-generation college student from a working-class immigrant family. He and his wife, Dolores Delgado, professor of education, culture and society at the U, live in Rose Park and have three children.

Villalpando steps into his new position today.