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Access, diversity advocate to lead Student Affairs

July 25, 2013

Adela de la Torre — a champion of access and diversity in higher education — has been appointed vice chancellor for Student Affairs at the University of California, Davis, a role she has served on an interim basis since August of last year.

An agricultural and health economist and internationally recognized expert on the social determinants of Latino and Chicano health, de la Torre officially assumes the appointment Aug. 1.

UC Davis conducted a national recruitment to fill the post after Fred Wood left in June 2012 to become chancellor of the University of Minnesota, Crookston.

"Adela is a passionate advocate for our students and the opportunities that a world-class education at UC Davis offers," UC Davis Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi said in announcing de la Torre's appointment. "As a member of our Academic Senate, she is helping us develop synergies between academic and student programs to improve student learning outcomes and the overall educational experience."

De la Torre said she is pleased to be entrusted with the leadership of Student Affairs. "We have such amazing students, staff and faculty at UC Davis," she said. "Together, we can do much to enhance and promote UC Davis’ student experience."

Through much of her career, de la Torre has worked to advance the cultural and linguistic diversity of California’s undergraduate population. She is committed to pursuing additional funding sources to support student retention and alleviate debt from the costs of an undergraduate education.

Professor de la Torre is known as a great mentor to her undergraduate and graduate students. Last year, Emily Prieto, director of Northern Illinois University's Latina Resource Center, recognized de la Torre's mentorship in her life by naming for her an honor society to promote excellence among Latinos, build student leaders and provide service.

Among her accomplishments in the interim role at Davis, de la Torre led a comprehensive evaluation of services offered to enhance student success in the classroom and beyond; oversaw the introduction of the Aggie Grant Plan to help middle-class California families pay for a UC Davis education; and oversaw an initiative to improve strategies to enhance and protect students’ First Amendment rights and campus safety.

De la Torre will continue to administer more than 750 career staff, about 3,000 student employees and nearly $400 million in annual operating and capital spending for the services that support and enhance the student academic experience.

Her portfolio includes: enrollment services; academic support services; financial aid; student housing and residential education; student health and psychological services; student life; internships and career services; campus unions, bookstores and food service; Student Affairs development; commercial activities; and related capital projects.

De la Torre, who joined the faculty at UC Davis in 2002, formerly chaired the Department of Chicana/o Studies, and since 2004 has been the director of the Center for Transnational Health. While a vice chancellor for Student Affairs, she will keep her appointment as a faculty member in the Department of Chicana/o Studies.

At UC Davis, she focused her research on the economic variables implicated in health behavior; educational access through outreach and recruitment strategies; and academic language proficiency development among our state’s K-12 population.

De la Torre previously was a professor and served in academic leadership roles in the California State University system (1988-1996) and at the University of Arizona (1996-2002).

She earned a bachelor's degree in the political economy of natural resources from UC Berkeley and continued there to earn a master's degree and doctorate, both in agricultural and resource economics.

About UC Davis

UC Davis is a global community of individuals united to better humanity and our natural world while seeking solutions to some of our most pressing challenges. Located near the California state capital, UC Davis has more than 34,000 students, and the full-time equivalent of 4,100 faculty and other academics and 17,400 staff. The campus has an annual research budget of over $750 million, a comprehensive health system and 13 specialized research centers. The university offers interdisciplinary graduate study and 99 undergraduate majors in four colleges and six professional schools.

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