May 24, 2024

Dear Members of Our Campus Community,

I am pleased to announce the appointment of Dr. Veronica Lavenant Fematt to our newly created position of Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI) Director, effective July 1, 2024.

We are grateful for the leadership and efforts of Interim Vice Chancellor for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Jeffrey C. Stewart and our HSI Director search advisory committee, co-chaired by Cuca Acosta and Miroslava Chávez-García, in conducting a rigorous search for this important position. The members of the committee are listed below. We would also like to thank Cristina Perez and other members of the DEI office staff for providing support during the consultation and interview schedule.

Dr. Fematt has been serving as Program Director of the McNair Scholars Program since November 2021. She earned her Ph.D. in Education from our Gevirtz School of Education in 2017, with a specialization in Educational Leadership and Organization, a specialty that has aided her in her professional career. As a Postdoctoral Fellow and Lecturer in the Department of Chicana and Chicano Studies, she researched and developed courses in Education and Chicana/o in Higher Education. Dr. Fematt began putting into practice her research-based approach to Chicana/o student success when she served as Policy and Practice Dissemination Coordinator for the Center for Evaluation and Educational Effectiveness at California State University Long Beach from 2019 to 2021. Among her many accomplishments in that position, she worked across multiple CSUs and with the U.S. Department of Education to develop and disseminate best practices in Chicana/o higher education, with a special interest in transfer students, an important focus of her research.

Since coming back to UC Santa Barbara in 2021 to join the McNair Program as Program Director, Veronica has demonstrated a strong commitment to undergraduate education. She has worked with numerous stakeholders across campus to develop programs that foster inclusive excellence among promising young scholars in the McNair Program. She has been particularly vigilant in applying research knowledge on campus climate issues and their impact on our most gifted students of color on campus to develop support programs that enhance the academic success of all of our students. In particular, she has worked assiduously to enhance the sense of well-being of transfer students, who sometimes have stress in migrating from community college experiences of learning into the Research I learning environment at UC Santa Barbara.

With the appointment of Dr. Veronica Fematt as our HSI Director, our campus demonstrates our commitment to enhancing the “servingness” of UC Santa Barbara as a Hispanic Serving Institution. We appreciate Veronica’s longstanding commitment to inclusive higher education, and her dedication to our academic community in particular. Please join us in extending our warmest congratulations to Veronica as she assumes this critically important leadership role.


Henry T. Yang

Search Advisory Committee for Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI) Director

Cuca Acosta, Co-Chair; Associate Director, Admissions
Miroslava Chávez-García, Co-Chair; Professor, History
Ralph Armbruster, Professor, Chicana and Chicano Studies
Boris Palencia, Manager of Finance and Administration, The Gevirtz School
Cristina Perez, Business Manager, Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
Aaron Jones, Director, Educational Opportunity Program
Fátima Andrade Martínez, Graduate Student Representative
Lupita Romo-González, Graduate Student Representative
Axel Valencia Alvarez, Undergraduate Student Representative
Paulina Fuentes, Undergraduate Student Representative
Elsy Alvarez, Undergraduate Student Representative