DeLuca Fernández named assistant vice provost for Educational Equity

October 07, 2016

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Sonia DeLuca Fernández, director of research and assessment in the Division of Student Affairs at New York University, has been named assistant vice provost for Educational Equity at Penn State, effective Nov. 28.

Among her responsibilities in her new role, DeLuca Fernández will coordinate Educational Equity’s strategic planning process; oversee unit publications and strategic communications efforts; work collaboratively with the Commonwealth Campuses and manage the educational opportunity programming budget for the campuses; assist in fundraising and development activities; work in a supportive role with the liaisons to assist with the success of the Commission for Women, the Commission on Racial/Ethnic Diversity, and the Commission on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer Equity; and work with the Office of Human Resources and the Office of Affirmative Action to help guide the goals outlined in the University’s Statement on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusive Excellence.

DeLuca Fernández will also work closely with the Multicultural Resource Center, the Office of Veterans Programs, the Office for Disability Services, Upward Bound, Upward Bound Migrant, Upward Bound Math and Science, Talent Search (University Park), Talent Search (Penn State York), and the Educational Opportunity Center (Philadelphia) within the Office of the Vice Provost for Educational Equity, as well as serve on the University’s Administrative Council on Multicultural Affairs.

As assistant vice provost, DeLuca Fernández will report directly to Marcus Whitehurst, vice provost for Educational Equity.

“We are very pleased to have Sonia join us as assistant vice provost for Educational Equity,” said Whitehurst. “Sonia brings more than 20 years of leadership experience from various higher education institutions leading up to her role as director of research and assessment at New York University. I believe Sonia’s background will be a great complement in advancing Penn State’s mission and Educational Equity’s vision of a more diverse and inclusive University.”

An accomplished higher education equity professional, DeLuca Fernández has been active in diversity and inclusion projects throughout her career, including developing mentoring, orientation, recruitment, retention, and leadership development programs for students of color; coordinating cultural programming and multicultural initiatives; and managing a multicultural center.

“I was attracted to Penn State because of the diverse talent and supportive structures in place to address the most critical challenges and opportunities facing public education,” DeLuca Fernández said. “We are at an important juncture for the progression of justice and equity in the United States; visioning impact and innovation for an improved future requires the committed participation of a multitude of voices.

“I am eager to join the accomplished Educational Equity team, and I am honored to contribute to Penn State's unique and comprehensive model for educational improvement — one that simultaneously addresses the needs and experiences of students, the global University community, and higher education as a system.”

DeLuca Fernández has also taught courses and conducted research on equity issues, and has presented on the topic of educational equity at numerous refereed national conferences. Topics of recent conference presentations include: “Critical Assessment: A new approach to equity in higher education,” “Assessment and the seduction of big data: How to avoid big mistakes and promote equity,” “Re-approaching allyship: A radical, critical, reflective practice,” and “How the norms of graduate school reproduce inequality.”

Prior to joining NYU in 2008, DeLuca Fernández served as a graduate assistant at the University of Michigan from 2002 to 2008; director of off-campus student services at Rutgers University from 2000 to 2002; director of student life and activities at Mount St. Clare College in Clinton, Iowa, from 1999 to 2000; coordinator of multicultural student services at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota, from 1997 to 1999; and coordinator and admissions counselor for multicultural student programs at Luther College in Decorah, Iowa, from 1993 to 1995.

DeLuca Fernández earned a doctorate in higher education from the University of Michigan in 2015 and a master of arts in social foundations of education and a bachelor of arts in African-American studies, both from the University of Iowa, in 1997 and 1993, respectively.

  • Sonia DeLuca Fernández

    Sonia DeLuca Fernández, director of research and assessment in the Division of Student Affairs at New York University, has been named assistant vice provost for Educational Equity at Penn State, effective Nov. 28. 

    IMAGE: Penn State
Last Updated October 07, 2016