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Jesse Bernal, Ph.D.
November 5, 2015 @ 12:00 pm - 1:15 pm
Jesse M. Bernal, Ph.D. is Vice President for the Division of Inclusion and Equity at Grand Valley State University. Dr. Bernal joined Grand Valley in February and oversees the university’s coordinated efforts to advance diversity and campus climate.
Prior to coming to Michigan, Dr. Bernal serves as Director for Diversity and Inclusion at Santa Clara University in the San Francisco Bay Area, California. In this role, he developed strategies for the recruitment, retention and success of faculty and staff from underrepresented groups and supported efforts to enhance campus climate for faculty, staff, and students. Previously, Dr. Bernal coordinated systemwide diversity and inclusion initiatives for 10 campuses and five medical centers at the University of California as systemwide Diversity Coordinator at the Office of the President. He has served as a consultant on numerous organizational climate assessment projects, LGBT inclusion initiatives, and interfaith community efforts. He also previously worked on educational outreach and academic support programming for underrepresented students as Coordinator of the Educational Outreach Program at the UC’s most diverse campus in Merced, Program Manager for pre-college and first-year summer transition programs at UC Santa Barbara, and Coordinator for a Santa Barbara Public Schools educational outreach program serving low-income 3rd and 4th graders.
While a graduate student at UCSB, Dr. Bernal was appointed to the University of California Board of Regents as student Regent and advocated for a range of statewide policies and programs to support California’s diverse student populations, particularly raising the profile of underrepresented communities such as LGBT students, undocumented students, veterans, and students of color. As Regent, he chaired the Student Life and Alumni Affairs Committee and co-chaired the Access and Affordability Committee of the University of California’s Commission on the Future.
He has served on the California Intersegmental Coordinating Committee – a governor-appointed higher education oversight committee; the California Higher Education Campus Climate Advisory Council; and the University of California LGBT Task Force. He currently volunteers for the LGBT youth support program, the TrevorProject.
On a national level, Dr. Bernal has been active in National Association of Chief Diversity Officers in Higher Education (NADOHE), National Conference on Race and Ethnicity (NCORE), Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU), American Association of Hispanics in Higher Education (AAHHE), American Education Research Association (AERA), and the National Conference on LGBT Equality.
Dr. Bernal received his Ph.D. in Cultural Perspectives in Education from UC Santa Barbara. His research has focused on education policy and law, equity and diversity in higher education, campus climate assessments, social justice education, critical race theory, and student engagement and development theories. His current active research focuses on inclusive hiring practices for faculty and staff in higher education and campus climate for Latino and LGBT undergraduates. Dr. Bernal received his Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Westmont College (Santa Barbara).