Frances Contreras

Associate Professor

Dr. Frances Contreras is an Associate Vice Chancellor for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion and an Associate Professor in the Department of Education Studies. She most recently served as co-director of the joint doctoral program in Education Leadership at UC San Diego.

Dr. Contreras has over ten years of administrative leadership both at UCSD and the University of Washington College of Education, where she directed their higher education program. Her research focuses on issues of equity and access for underrepresented students in the education pipeline and the role of public policy in ensuring student equity across a P-20 continuum. Her work has been published in leading education journals and presses, including Harvard Educational Review, Educational Policy, Journal of Hispanics in Higher Education, Harvard University Press, and Teachers College Press.  Contreras’ most recent books include: Achieving Equity for Latino Students, Expanding the Pathway to Higher Education through Public Policy and The Latino Education Crisis with P. Gandara. Her current book, Cultivating Latino Students in STEM examines the promising approaches of campus programs as well as individual agency among Latinx high achievers in college to succeed in STEM pathways.

She was honored as an “Emerging Scholar” and the “Top 25 to Watch” among academicians in the United States by Diverse Magazine. More recently, Contreras was the recipient of a lifetime achievement award by the Washington State Commission on Hispanic Affairs for her work to address Latino student equity.

Frances has served on the Boards of the ACLU of Washington, Harvard Journal for Hispanic Policy, the Journal of Advanced Academics, and Latino Education Achievement Project, and was a Gubernatorial Appointee to the Achievement Gap Oversight and Accountability Committee in Washington. She currently serves on the PUENTE Board, the Board of The Lupe Contreras Scholarship Fund in California and the WestEd Board of Directors.

Dr. Contreras earned her Bachelor’s degree from UC Berkeley, Masters degree from Harvard University and Ph.D. in Administration and Education Policy from Stanford University.

  • Ph.D. in Education, Stanford University
  • Master of Education, Harvard University
  • B.A. History and Mass Communications. University of California, Berkeley