Boston University Wheelock College of Education & Human Development faculty member Dr. Raul Fernandez has accepted an appointment to the newly created position of Associate Dean for Equity, Diversity & Inclusion. Dr. Fernandez’s experience as a student, staff person, and teacher at the University, along with his record of service to the profession of higher education and his independent consulting experience makes him an excellent fit for this role.
Speaking about the appointment, Dean ad interim David Chard expressed how fortunate the BU Wheelock community is to have Dr. Fernandez as the inaugural holder of this position. “I am confident that Raul will excel in the new position we’ve developed,” Dean Chard notes. “He’s uniquely qualified to spearhead this necessary work.
In his 12 years at BU, Dr. Fernandez has worn many hats. He has chaired or served on numerous University committees including the Campus Activities Team, Alcohol Task Force, Scarlet Key Selection, Multicultural Weekend, Student Affairs Management Conference, Social Media Communicators and the University Retention & Engagement Committee. This past September Dr. Fernandez was also appointed to the Racial Imbalance Advisory Council of the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE).
He earned his Doctorate from BU Wheelock in 2016, and has served as a Lecturer and the Program Director for our school’s Higher Education Administration program. Dr. Fernandez has taught a section of BU’s First Year Experience course. He’s also co-developed the curriculum and taught a BU course on Identity, Inclusion & Social Action. In addition to teaching his own section of that course, Dr. Fernandez developed the module on Race, Ethnicity and National Origin, with a focus on the causes and impact of implicit bias. He currently teaches AP 600 Diversity & Justice in Education.
Dr. Fernandez’s work often seeks to engage students in transformative social justice experiences both inside and outside the classroom. In addition to his work as a faculty member, Raul has led trips to Haiti, Honduras, Israel and Rwanda. While working at BU’s Howard Thurman Center for Common Ground, he also developed a 10-day social justice retreat to Washington, DC where students explored the interplay between those who advocate for and those who legislate social justice issues.
As a consultant working outside of the University, Dr. Fernandez’s signature workshop, Blind Spots, challenges participants to examine their background, beliefs and biases while identifying areas where they can do the work and grow. He’s facilitated versions of Blind Spots for an array of professionals across industries.
Since June 1, Dr. Fernandez has also served as the chair of BU Wheelock’s Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Committee. His work as Associate Dean will extend those responsibilities, and the Committee—now chaired by Dr. Laura Jimenez–will play an important role in his new work.
Dr. Fernandez plans to take a proactive approach to the work of Associate Director for Equity, Diversity & Inclusion. “it’s not just about responding to issues when they arise,” he says. “it’s responsive, yes, but also forward thinking. We need to think about what policies we can implement.”
“Organizations that are moving forward are the ones where people are not pointing fingers at one another, but actually thinking about what kind of work they need to do” he continues. ”The leaders of successful organizations engaging with people and helping them do their own self-work as individuals but also as units.”
Dr. Fernandez plans to hit the ground running. He says one of the first things on his agenda is “ to hold a number of individual meetings. “I’m going to be highly caffeinated because one of the things I want to do very early on in the semester is actually just have coffee with people: the other Associate Deans, with the Department Chairs, with the heads of our staff departments, with Program Directors and students.”
The BU Wheelock community congratulates Dr. Fernandez on his appointment as our first Associate Dean of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.