Mikael Villalobos (BA ‘93, EdD ‘14) has dedicated his career to diversity and inclusion within the field of higher education. In his current role at UC Davis as Associate Chief Diversity Officer with the Office of Campus Community Relations in the Office of the Chancellor, he strives to play an active role in building a more diverse and inclusive campus community. “Through education, this institution has the premise and promise for changing lives,” he said. “I firmly believe that it truly serves as the great equalizer.”
Now in his 25th year as a UC Davis staff member, Villalobos’s commitment to the UC Davis community is apparent in every decision he makes. “In my work, I look at how policies and practices affect real lives,” he said. “I always try to find a bridge between the head and the heart, and that’s what the EdD program at the School of Education is all about.” Villalobos chose to earn his doctorate in educational leadership through the School of Education because of its problem-based approach to learning. “I wanted to pursue graduate work that had direct connection to practice and to engage in research that very much gave back to the campus community,” he said. “The CANDEL program marries scholarship with practice, and its scholar-practitioner model really resonated with me.”
In addition to his role with the Office of Campus Community Relations, Villalobos leads and is a senior member of Diversity Trainers Institute, a team of UC Davis diversity and inclusion educators who develop, teach and facilitate workshops and courses to students, staff and faculty on topics related to diversity, equity and inclusion. He also manages and serves as a member of the administrative advisory group to the UC Davis Police Accountability Board, an independent civilian oversight group working to strengthen trust and communication between the campus community and the UC Davis Police Department. Outside of the university, he works to expand workplace inclusion through his private consulting practice that focuses on conflict mediation and organizational development.
Within all of these leadership positions, Villalobos credits his CANDEL experience as an integral factor to his success. “My doctorate in educational leadership adds credibility to who I am as an administrator, and has served me well in my development as a campus leader who specializes in diversity, equity and inclusion work,” he said. “My practice continues to be informed by what I learned from CANDEL.”