Frances Contreras

Picture of Frances Contreras
Dean & Professor
School of Education
B.A., University of California, Berkeley, History and Mass Communication
M.Ed., Harvard University
Ph.D., Stanford University, Education
University of California, Irvine
3200 Education
Mail Code: 5500
Irvine, CA 92697
Research Abstract
Dean Frances Contreras' 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.
Short Biography
Dr. Frances Contreras is the Dean and Professor for the School of Education at UC Irvine. Previously, Dr. Contreras was an Associate Vice Chancellor for Faculty, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, and Professor in the Department of Education Studies at UC San Diego. Dr. Contreras has over 15 years of administrative leadership both at UCSD and the University of Washington College of Education, where she directed their higher education program.

Her work has been published in leading education journals and presses, such as: the American Education Research Journal, Harvard Educational Review, Educational Policy, The International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education, Journal of Hispanics in Higher Education, Harvard University Press, and Teachers College Press. Dr. Contreras’ books include: Achieving Equity for Latino Students, Expanding the Pathway to Higher Education through Public Policy and The Latino Education Crisis with P. Gandara and High Achieving African American Students and the College Choice Process: Applications of Critical Race Theory (2020) with (T. Chapman, E. Comeaux, E. Martinez, & G. Rodriguez). This most recent book was a result of a statewide examination she led as the Principal Investigator to examine African American College Choice across UC.

As a result of her research agenda and institutional efforts to advance equity and justice, Dr. Contreras was previously honored as an “Emerging Scholar” and the “Top 25 to Watch” among academicians in the United States by Diverse Magazine. She was also selected by the Rockefeller Foundation as a Scholar in Residence at the Bellagio Center in Bellagio Italy to complete her first book with P. Gandara. Additionally, Dr. 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. In Spring 2021, Dr. Contreras was the recipient of the Cesar Chavez Faculty award, which recognizes faculty for their outstanding contributions to the campus community. Finally, in on December 17, 2021, the City of San Diego honored her with Dr. Frances Contreras Day, in recognition of her leadership and service to the City and County of San Diego.

As a first-generation college student and Professor, Dean Contreras is first Chicana/Latina Dean to lead a School of Education in the UC System.
Contreras, F. (2011). Achieving Equity for Latino Students: Expanding the Pathway to Higher Education through Public Policy. New York: Teachers College Press.
Gandara, P. & Contreras, F. (2009). The Latino Education Crisis: The Consequences ofFailed Social Policies. Harvard University Press. Cambridge, MA.
Chapman, T., Contreras, F., Comeaux, E., Martinez, E., Rodriguez, G. (2020). High Achieving African American Students and the College Choice Process: Applications of Critical Race Theory. New York: Routledge Press.
Contreras, F. and Contreras, G. (Forthcoming). Cultivating First Generation Latina/o Students to Thrive in College & Beyond.
Ramirez, B. R., Puente, M., & Contreras, F. (2023, January 12). Navigating the University as Nepantleras: The College Transition Experiences of Chicana/Latina Undergraduate Students. Journal of Diversity in Higher Education. Advance online publication.
Contreras, F. Martinez, E., Romano, J. Murillo, E., (2022). Examining the Impact of COVID-19 on Latino Educational Equity. Special issue of the Journal of Latinos in Education (JLE). Routledge.
Contreras, F., Martinez Jr., E., Jacqueline E. Arroyo-Romano, J., & Murillo Jr., E., (2022) From the Editor’s Desk, Journal of Latinos and Education, 21:3, 205-211, DOI: 10.1080/15348431.2022.2071141
Contreras, F., Gomez, V., Prado Robledo, S., (2022). Validating the Experiences of Latina/o Doctoral Students in ERHSIs and RHSIs. Journal of Leadership, Equity & Research.
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