Biography

Felisha Herrera Villarreal, PhD is the Director of the Research & Equity Scholarship Institute on Student Trajectories in Education (RES-ISTE). She is also an assistant professor of Postsecondary Education and Community College Leadership and affiliated faculty in the Joint PhD Program at San Diego State University (SDSU). Prior to joining SDSU, she served as an assistant professor of Community College Leadership and affiliated faculty in Public Policy at Oregon State University from 2012-2015. Dr. Herrera Villarreal completed her Ph.D. in Education (with an emphasis in Higher Education & Organizational Change) at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), where she was a research analyst for the UCLA Higher Education Research Institute (HERI). She also earned a master’s degree from UCLA, master’s and bachelor’s degrees from the University of New Mexico (UNM) and an associate’s degree from UNM-Taos (branch community college). Her scholarship is enhanced by over 15 years of experience as a higher education professional at two- and four-year institutions, several Minority-Serving Institutions/Hispanic-Serving Institutions, including faculty and professional positions in student affairs, institutional research, and administration.  Her work is also informed by her own educational history as a community college graduate, low-income, first-generation college student, and motherscholar.

Dr. Herrera Villarreal is a consummate scholar, who has published in top tier, peer-reviewed journals, including: The Review of Higher Education and the American Educational Research Journal and has procured over $3.3 million in grant funding to support her research. She serves as the PI for several large-scale research projects, including two NSF funded projects—ED-SYSTEMS (NSF DUE-1644990) & HSI-STEM (NSF DUE-1832528)—investigating the role of community colleges and Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSIs) in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). To inform system-wide change, her research employs advanced statistical techniques, including multilevel modeling. spatial analysis and social network analysis, to examine contextual factors—institutional (structure, process, and policy), geographic, demographic, political and economic contexts—that impact postsecondary outcomes for students of color. Her work encompasses several strands of scholarship including student mobility; community college pathways; underrepresented students in STEM; and a critical examination of policy issues related to diversity & equity in education.