Dr. Brenda Valles

Brenda Guadalupe Valles

Assistant Professor

Dr. Valles is an Assistant Professor in the Student Affairs Administration Master’s Program. She also teaches in the Educational Leadership Program for the Higher Education Student Affairs (HESA) doctoral concentration. Dr. Valles brings over a decade of experience as a practitioner in administrative roles in higher education that focus on assessment, diversity, equity, & inclusion (DEI). As a scholar-practitioner, Dr. Valles brings a broad array of higher education institutional-context experience with DEI administrative experience in a variety of institutions including from community college and research intensive 4-year schools. 

She teaches courses in the areas of assessment, equity, pedagogy, and research methodologies. A dominant thread in Dr. Valles’s courses emphasizes equity and bridging theoretical notions of equity into practice. 

Personal Statement

My teaching recognizes the dual teaching and learning that occurs between students and instructor. I support student empowerment and acknowledge the contribution of students at the center of teaching and learning through pedagogical practices that foster inclusion, belonging, and compassion. As a Chicana and first-generation college student, I honor the experiential knowledge students bring with them and work to build on that in the classes I teach. I do this through engaging a co-constructionist and collaborative pedagogical approach that assumes every member can contribute to the learning in multiple ways by weaving his/her/their lived experiences (history, expertise, etc.) into leading the teaching-learning process. My teaching also folds in advising as a central component that extends beyond advising students in my classroom. I also work diligently to forge opportunities for students to participate in research and action-oriented spaces through assignments.

Areas of Expertise

  • Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI)
  • Higher Education
  • Student Affairs Administration
  • PK-20 Educational Pipeline
  • Mixed-Method Research Methodologies
  • Critical Race Theory/LatCrit
  • Race-Based Theoretical Frameworks

Current Research

Her current research agenda is rooted in the assessment of equity in higher education. Emerging research interests for Dr. Valles are related to pedagogy as a pathway for healing and transformational leadership and the work of Chief Diversity Officers. 


Valles, B. (2017). Resisting the School-to-Prison Pipeline Utilizing Guidance from the Frontlines: Chicano Student Experiences as a Source of Knowledge and Strength. In N.S. Okilwa, M. Khalifa, & F.M. Briscoe (Eds.), The School to Prison Pipeline: The Role of Culture and Discipline in School, 4, 41-64.

Valles, B. and Villalpando, O. (2013). A Critical Race Policy Analysis of the School-to-Prison Pipeline for Chicano Males. In M. Lynn & A.D. Dixson (Eds.), Critical Race Theory in Education Handbook, 260-269. NY: Routledge.

Valles, B. and Miller, D. (2010). How Leadership and Policies Color School-Community Relationships: A CRT Analysis of Zero Tolerance Discipline-Policies. The Journal of School Public Relations, 31(4), 319-340.


Valles, B. (2021). Chief Diversity Officers Navigating Liminality within Higher Education Institutions. Paper presentation at the 7th Annual International Conference Latin America: Tradition, and Globalization in the 21st Century Conference, Cuernavaca Morelos, MX.

Valles, B., DeLeon, A., Unzueta, R. (2020). Bringing Our Ceremonia to the Academy: Creating Spaces for Resilience and Thriving as Faculty of Color in a Predominantly White Institution. Paper presentation at the National Association of Chicana Chicano Studies, Seattle, WA.

Valles, B. (2016). Resisting the School-to-Prison Pipeline: Solutions from the frontlines. Paper presentation at the American Educational Research Association, Washington D.C.

Valles, B., Unzueta, R., and Ortiz, T. (2016). Brown male bodies and the impact of Zero-Tolerance ideologies: Theory, Policies, and Practice. Paper presentation at the National Association of Chicana Chicano Studies, Denver, CO.

Dixson, A., Lynn, M., Cook, D., Decuir, J., Devose, D., Villalpando, O., Covarrubia, A., Velez, V., Valles, B. (2013). Researching the context of race in education: Methodological considerations in Critical Race Theory and Education. Roundtable at the American Educational Research Association, San Francisco, CA.

Valles, B. and Windchief, S. (2013). Critical Race Praxis: Access Into the STEM Fields, A Graduate Preparation Institute. Paper Presentation at the American Educational Research Association, San Francisco, CA.

Valles, B. (2013). Locked into a Corner: Utah Chicano Student responses to school zero tolerance practices. Paper Presentation at the National Association of Chicana Chicano Studies, San Antonio, TX

Academic Credentials

PhD in Educational Leadership & Policy with a Higher Education Emphasis, University of Utah

MEd in Education, Culture & Society, University of Utah

BA in Human Communication, California State University, Monterey Bay