Joi Spencer has been named the dean of UC Riverside’s School of Education, effective Jan. 1, 2023.
Spencer is a professor of Mathematics Education at the University of San Diego, in the School of Leadership and Education Sciences, or SOLES. During 16 years at USD, Spencer has been associate dean and, most recently, interim dean of SOLES.
“Joi has a long track record of outstanding leadership, and I am confident she will build upon that success here at UC Riverside,” said Elizabeth Watkins, UCR provost and executive vice chancellor. “I look forward to supporting her as she works with our distinguished faculty to advance the mission of the School of Education.”
Spencer’s research investigates educational equity in higher and K-12 education, specifically, the mathematics learning opportunities of African American and other minoritized youth.
At the University of San Diego, she launched a Ph.D. program in Education for Social Justice, the implementation of schoolwide professional development on anti-racism, and SOLES’ first Diversity Post-Doctoral Fellows Program. Along with USD colleagues Perla Myers and Odesma Dalrymple, Spencer runs the STEAM Academies, which are interactive summer learning labs for middle and high school students from underserved communities in San Diego.
“Having the opportunity to serve California, my home, and specifically the Inland Empire, gives me great joy,” Spencer said. “The students and communities that UC Riverside serves represent the face of California's future. Many of them have had to struggle a bit harder to obtain a college degree, have had to navigate systems that were not always in their favor, and did so with grace, resilience, and determination. This is the kind of place where I want to be.”
Spencer is a graduate of Downtown Business Magnet High School in Los Angeles. She holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Stanford University and a Ph.D. from UCLA.
Louie Rodriguez served as the Interim Dean for the past three years. Through his steadfast leadership, Louie successfully navigated through the pandemic. He also recruited 30% of the School’s current faculty to UCR, strengthened community engagement, enhanced interdisciplinary research, and championed the initiative to change the name from the Graduate School of Education to the School of Education. Louie will continue in the interim position through August 31, 2022. After that, Professor Eddie Comeaux will serve as the Interim Dean from September 1 through December 31, 2022.