July 13, 2021

The UCSB Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Office is pleased to announce the appointment of Dr. Sharon Tettegah as an Associate Vice Chancellor for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.

Sharon Tettegah, a professor of Black Studies is the current Director at the Center of Black Studies Research (CBSR). While leading the CBSR, Tettegah has been passionate about focusing on the needs of individuals and groups in the Black Diaspora and advocates for diversity and inclusion for all students. Tettegah’s mission has been to support and implement research programs that promote retention, persistence and graduation, within science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields of study, for Black and Latinx groups. To assist with her mission, Tettegah created the Student Engagement and Enrichment in Data Science (SEEDS) project where she and other UCSB personnel will mentor twenty to thirty students; the students will be exposed to data science without taking a formal course. “The goal is to develop skills in data science and computing in people who are interested in various fields, from biodiversity and neuroscience to linguistics and ethics, and have a perspective that aligns with helping their community, so that when they go out into the workforce, they have skills,” Tettegah said.   SEEDS offers students an introduction to different programming languages such as Bash, R and Python. Although noteworthy, SEEDS is only one of the many accomplishments Tettegah has obtained. In 2020, she was named a fellow of the IAspire Leadership Academy. IAspire is a program dedicated to helping STEM faculty, from underrepresented backgrounds, ascend to leadership roles in academia. She is also the lead on the Aspire IChange initiative, which focuses on institutional change.

Over the course of her career, her substantial experience in STEM and passion for diversity has given her national recognition for her contributions to education, diversity and technology. During the past decade she has received multiple grants and awards, including several National Science Foundation grants for example, “Mining, Coordinating and Visualizing Curricula in STEM and Social Science”; a XSEDE High Performance Computing grant for “User preferences and high-performance computing.” Additionally, Tettegah and Professor Tim Sherwood were awarded Google’s Award for Inclusion Research to support faculty who are conducting research that will have a beneficial societal impact.

Prior to UCSB, she was an Associate Dean for Research and Sponsored Programs at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Additionally, she was the Program Chair of Digital Environments for Learning, Teaching and Agency in the College of Education at the University of Illinois, at Urbana Champaign, and held an appointment in Cognitive Neuroscience in Bio-Intelligence at the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology. She also served as a program officer at the National Science Foundation across multiple directorates, CISE, EHR and Geosciences.

With over eighty-six publications, her research focuses on STEM, psychology and education with an emphasis on Black and Ethnic Studies. She has nine books focused on technology, emotions and virtual environments. Her dedication to the aforementioned fields emerged from her lack of support, while pursing STEM, during her undergraduate academic career. The lack of available students enrolled in STEM prompted Dr. Tettegah to start conducting research on the experiences of underrepresented groups in classrooms and in relation to STEM. She has led numerous innovative studies to tackle race, learning and technology in education environments. Early on, she used computer-based vignettes to provide a safe and controlled environment for the examination of emotionally charged incidents, involving questions of race-cultural-gender related empathy where she found that the psychological concept of empathy has a connection to cultural empathy. Furthermore, she has published work on the investigation of the social construction of student identity development related to teaching and learning in virtual worlds. Her current recent focuses on STEM education, specifically engineering education.

With over twenty years of teaching and research experience, Sharon Tettegah is committed to serving diverse and underrepresented groups by continuing her mission through teaching, mentorship, research and helping students build a community where everyone has the resources that they need to achieve success and equality.

We are pleased that Dr. Tettegah has agreed to join our team as of July 1, 2021. I hope that you will join the DEI Office in congratulating Dr. Tettegah on her new appointment.

Belinda Robnett, UCSB VCDEI