Dr. Raul Fernandez has more than a decade of diverse experience in higher education. He is a well-recognized leader and accomplished speaker on issues of diversity and inclusion, with hundreds of faculty, staff and students at numerous campuses and conferences having attended his workshops.
Raul’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 deans, faculty and administrators, high school teachers and tutors, resident assistants, campus activities boards, and orientation leaders. He’ll be facilitating more workshops this summer for students and staff at Yale University, MCPHS University, and Fisher College.
Raul previously taught courses in Speech and Communication at Miami-Dade College, and has taught a section of BU’s First Year Experience course for the last five years. He also co-developed the curriculum and taught a Boston University course on Identity, Inclusion & Social Action. The course helps students to examine systems of oppression and identify opportunities to work toward social justice. In addition to teaching his own section, Raul developed the module on Race, Ethnicity and National Origin, with a focus on the causes and impact of implicit bias
Raul’s expertise also includes engaging students in transformative social justice experiences, having led such 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.
In 10 years at BU, Raul has chaired or served on numerous 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.
Raul has been active in NASPA for several years, including a stint as the regional Latinx Knowledge Community Representative. He also served as a panelist on last fall’s NASPA Careers in Student Affairs Month webinar, and as a panelist at the Latinx Knowledge Community’s national pre-conference.
A first-generation college graduate, Raul holds degrees in Communication and Nonprofit Management, as well as a doctorate in Educational Leadership & Policy Studies from Boston University Wheelock College of Education & Human Development. His dissertation examined the comments of 143 Student Trustees transcribed in Board of Trustees meeting minutes at the University of Massachusetts, from 1969-2015. It sought to demystify one way that students can engage in institutional governance and policymaking at the highest level.
- Appointed to the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education’s Racial Imbalance Advisory Council
- Appointed to NASPA’s Equity, Inclusion & Social Justice Division
Boston University (Boston, MA), Ed.D. in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies, 2016
Northeastern University (Boston, MA), Graduate Certificate in Nonprofit Management, 2006
Barry University (Miami, FL), Master of Arts in Communication, 2004
Boston University (Boston, MA), Bachelor of Science in Communication, 2000
FY103: Identity, Inclusion & Social Action
Spring 2016, Boston University
I co-developed the curriculum and taught this course that engages students in discussions around social identities, including race, gender identity, socioeconomic class, disability and religion. The course helps students to examine systems of oppression and identify opportunities to work toward social justice. In addition to teaching my own section, I personally developed the module on Race, Ethnicity and National Origin, with a focus on the causes and impact of implicit bias.
FY101: The First Year Experience
Fall 2011-2016, Boston University
I’ve been an instructor for this course since it was first launched five years ago. It includes modules that introduce new students to life on campus, while addressing critical issues like alcohol abuse, sexual assault and the importance of diversity. In addition to teaching my own section, I personally developed Following Your Passions, a course-wide module on campus involvement.
It may be hard to believe, but our K-12 schools are as racially segregated today as they were 50 years ago. This ongoing problem, along with intractable systems of oppression and the rise of self-curated, racially homogenous social networks have had a clear and profound impact on racial dialogue in America and on our college campuses. My research explores the history and current status of school segregation and considers the impact of racial isolation on college students’ capacity to dialogue across difference. I'm particularly interested in the impact on white students, who are the most likely to be racially isolated in our schools.Visit Dr. Fernandez' Research Profile
Dr. Raul Fernandez’s social justice work extends beyond the classroom
A Seat at the Table: The Student Trustee at the University of Massachusetts System, 1969-Present
April 2016, Boston University Dissertation Hearing
Presented to three committee members and about 30 higher education professionals, this dissertation hearing was based on the findings of a descriptive study on developing role of the Student Trustee. The study examined the comments of 143 Student Trustees transcribed in Board of Trustees meeting minutes at the University of Massachusetts, from 1969-2015.
Why We Need To Talk With First-Year Students About Race
February 2016, 35TH Annual Conference on the First-Year Experience
Presented to 200+ faculty and administrators at the 35th Annual Conference on the First-Year Experience. Many students arrive on campus with little experience interacting with people of different social identities or talking about institutionalized marginalization based on these identities. This workshop shared research on the importance of engaging students in conversations about race, and detailed how we addressed the issue at Boston University by developing modules, courses and events on identity, inclusion & social action.
Blind Spots: How our Backgrounds, Beliefs & Biases Impact our Work with Students
December 2015, Boston University’s Advising Network Brown Bag Lunch Series
Presented to 80+ deans, faculty and administrators at Boston University’s Advising Network Brown Bag Lunch Series. This workshop challenged participants to examine the origins of their worldview, identify areas for growth, and consider a philosophy for their work. I have delivered similar workshops on campus for Resident Assistants and in Israel to help visiting students add context to what they were experiencing.
We are what we repeatedly do: How your programming decisions reflect who you are
November 2015, NASPA Region 1 Conference
Presented to 50+ student affairs administrators at the NASPA Region 1 Conference. What's the right way to spend your programming budget? This workshop challenged attendees to examine their worldview and helped them settle on a programming philosophy that works for them, their students, and their institution.