Cal State LA appoints interim associate dean for diversity and student engagement

Rita Ledesma

Cal State LA has selected Rita Ledesma to serve as the College of Health and Human Services’ interim associate dean for diversity and student engagement. She will begin her interim appointment this spring.

“I am excited about working with the College faculty and staff to promote creative, collaborative and research based interventions that support students, faculty and the mission of the University and College,” said Ledesma, who is an Alhambra resident. “I appreciate the opportunity to promote the academic aspirations of all students."
Ledesma served as chair of the Department of Child and Family Studies at Cal State LA for six years and was appointed to the University’s School of Social Work in fall 1995.
She played a significant role in the development of the Master of Social Work program and served as the first director of field education.  She has participated in grant activities and developed a number of community partnerships to address educational equity issues as well as community-campus interventions.
Ledesma also worked with the Pat Brown Institute at Cal State LA, where she developed the Health Policy Outreach Center. She was affiliated with the Partnership for Academic Learning and Success (PALS) Peer-Mentoring Program for many years. She developed the Pathways to Graduation Program in the Department of Child and Family Studies. She also has a long history of participation on the Academic Senate and Senate Executive Committee at Cal State LA. 
As a life-long resident of the communities immediately adjacent to the University, Ledesma possesses a deep appreciation for the role Cal State LA plays in nurturing the academic achievement of students and improving local communities. Her academic and culturally-focused social work career has been informed by her commitment to social justice, equity, and opportunity. 
“The urban mission of the University resonates with Ledesma’s personal and professional narrative as well as her values and experiences as a leader, practitioner, and scholar,” said Ron Vogel, interim dean of the University’s College of Health and Human Services.  “I look forward to her help, leadership, and focused attention on increasing diversity within our faculty ranks and improving student success in the College.”
Ledesma is a licensed clinical social worker and a member of the Oglala Lakota Tribe, Pine Ridge South Dakota. She received a BA, MSW, and Ph.D. from UCLA.

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Cal State LA is a university dedicated to engagement, service, and the public good. Founded in 1947, the University serves more than 27,000 students and 240,000 distinguished alumni, who are as diverse as the city we serve. Located in the heart of Los Angeles, Cal State LA has long been recognized as an engine of economic and social mobility. Led by an award-winning faculty, the University offers nationally recognized programs in science, the arts, business, criminal justice, engineering, nursing, education and the humanities.

Cal State LA is home to the critically-acclaimed Luckman Fine Arts Complex, Pat Brown Institute for Public Affairs, Hertzberg-Davis Forensic Science Center, Hydrogen Research and Fueling Facility, Billie Jean King Sports Complex, TV, Film and Media Center and the Center for Engagement, Service, and the Public Good. For more information, visit