As the Office of the Vice Provost for Teaching and Learning (OVPTL) continues to expand its impact on student success on campus, we are excited to announce two new leadership appointments within our organization. On December 1, 2022, we were thrilled to welcome Kevin Huie as the new OVPTL Executive Director of Educational Equity and Excellence and Joanna Hernandez as the new Director of Student Success Initiatives (SSI)!

Kevin Huie, OVPTL Executive Director of Educational Equity and Excellence

Huie’s appointment as OVPTL Executive Director of Educational Equity and Excellence reflects the OVPTL’s continued leadership on and commitment to campuswide student success efforts, including reimagining student orientation, summer student onboarding programs, and faculty-led initiatives.

In his new role, Huie will report to the Vice Provost for Teaching and Learning and serve as the campus expert in academic achievement development and program planning. As Executive Director of Educational Equity and Excellence, Huie will advise, develop, and implement programs and initiatives aimed at increasing student academic performance metrics. Huie will also oversee all aspects of diversity, equity, and inclusion as he leads and coordinates OVPTL student programming.

Prior to this appointment, Huie was named Executive Director of Student Success and Director of SSI in 2019. During his tenure, Huie increased SSI’s presence and impact on campus by expanding SSI programming and outreach to serve thousands of students each year. He successfully led the renewal of UCI’s TRIO SSS grant and developed several new programs and partnerships within SSI and across campus. Prior to joining the Division of Undergraduate Education in 2015 as the Director for Student Transition Services, Huie was Director of the UCI Cross-Cultural Center where he specialized in the development and execution of premier leadership and diversity programs and provided strategic direction for the Dean of Students and the Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs on campus issues and diversity-related matters.

Huie received his bachelor’s degree in History from the University of Notre Dame. He holds a master’s degree in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies and Multicultural Counseling from Loyola University Chicago and an Executive Leadership Management Certificate from Rockhurst University. He is also a certified Diversity Trainer and Mediator and has a Certificate in Strengths-Based Leadership from the Gallup Organization.

Speaking on his appointment and his main goals as OVPTL Executive Director of Educational Equity and Excellence, Huie said:

“I feel extremely privileged and excited to take on this new appointment. Having the opportunity to work more closely with Vice Provost  Dennin, given his innovative ways and record of success, is ideal. I look forward to working across the OVPTL and with our internal and external partners to have an impact on our students.

As I get started in the role, some of my immediate priorities include furthering our strong partnership and work with Enrollment Management, administering new initiatives to enhance our summer transition programs, and establishing a set of strategies that will help raise our first-generation student retention numbers. I also am looking forward to talking to the OVPTL Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion committee to see how I can assist them in the work they are planning and to determine whether there might be new long-term goals to consider.”

Joanna Hernandez, Director of Student Success Initiatives (SSI)

Concurrent with Huie’s appointment, Hernandez was named the new Director of SSI. This step up represents Hernandez’s ongoing commitment to SSI and the thousands of UCI students it serves.

Joanna joined the Division of Undergraduate Education in 2015 as Director of SSI’s TRIO Scholars Program. She was promoted to Assistant Director of SSI in 2020, and in 2021, she also took on the role of Director of the UCI Transfer Student Center. As Assistant Director of SSI, Joanna played a central role in supporting the success of the unit and its staff by providing leadership to programs that support foster youth, student parents, undocumented students, transfer students, first-generation students, and more.

Before joining UCI, Hernandez was an Educational Opportunity Program Counselor at UC Santa Barbara and a program manager at the University of Michigan. Over her past 10 years in higher education, she has focused on advocating for first-generation and low-income students as a practiced counselor and seasoned program developer. As a first-generation Latina and former foster youth student, Hernandez is passionate about the future of higher education and ensuring it is a safe and inclusive environment for all student communities.

Hernandez received her bachelor’s degree in Sociology and Latin American and Iberian Studies with a minor in Applied Psychology from UC Santa Barbara. She also completed her master’s in Higher and Postsecondary Education at the University of Michigan. Currently, Hernandez is a doctoral student in Educational Leadership at California State University, Long Beach. Her dissertation is focused on the persistence of low-income, single-mother college students at four-year universities.

When asked about her new role as Director of SSI, Hernandez explained:

“What excites me about the work at Student Success Initiatives is the opportunity to carry forward inclusive practices that support our historically underrepresented student populations at UC Irvine. SSI serves as a cornerstone for students to get connected with campus resources, explore their interests, and establish new goals.

In this new role, I look forward to strengthening partnerships across campus to support our various student populations. I want to empower our team members to continue creating innovative approaches to our work and meeting our students where they are. Lastly, I look forward to growing the department in sustainable ways that meet the emerging needs of student populations, such as our student parents, our Black student community, and first-generation students.”

Please join us in congratulating Huie and Hernandez on their new positions. We look forward to their continued excellence and success in their respective new roles!