Raquel Esteves-Joyce Named Interim Co-Chief Diversity Officer
The assistant dean of first-generation low-income student support and programming joins Provost Linda Strong-Leek in sharing the CDO duties through June 30, 2021.
Raquel Esteves-Joyce, the assistant dean of first-generation low-income (FGLI) student support and programming, was named interim co-chief diversity officer (CDO) December 18 by President Wendy Raymond. Her appointment began Jan. 1. She shares the role with Provost Linda Strong-Leek, who replaced Raymond as interim CDO in November.
“This role is a culmination of all my work up to this point,” says Esteves-Joyce. “It incorporates my knowledge, experiences, an appreciation for our diverse students, where they come from, their community cultural wealth, and a strong belief in Haverford’s unfolding mission of becoming anti-racist and more diverse, equitable, inclusive, and accessible. It also enables me to bring the colleagues I work alongside and all the students I’ve ever worked with to the senior staff table.”
Esteves-Joyce has worked in education for over 20 years and served the Haverford community for eight of them. She earned her B.A. in English and sociology and Ed.D. from the University of Pennsylvania, as well as a master’s in multicultural education from Eastern University. The work of her career—which has included teaching bilingual middle schoolers, organizing high school students, and teaching teachers as an educational consultant, as well as jobs in Haverford’s Writing Center, Office of Academic Resources, and Dean’s Office—has been to make a college education accessible and to disrupt notions of who belongs in academia.
“When I was a FGLI BIPOC undergraduate student, I attended classes part-time at the University of Pennsylvania while working full-time,” she said. “I felt invisible, inconsequential, and alone in my academic journey. Upon graduation, I felt so discarded by UPenn that I swore my academic career was over. I would never go back to higher education since it made it clear that I did not belong.”
When she did, in fact, return, she was inspired by her advisor, Susan Lytle, who not only offered Esteves-Joyce support on her educational path, but also helped her understand the systems and structures that had been working against her. Now, Esteves-Joyce’s goal is “to be someone else’s Susan.”
“Raquel brings a unique perspective as a long-serving member of the dean’s staff, a deep knowledge of the student body, as well as the trust and respect of the students, and her own background as a FGLI student of color to this work,” said her co-interim CDO, Provost Linda Strong-Leek. “That is one of the things we share as well—being FGLI students of color.”
As interim co-CDOs, Esteves-Joyce and Strong-Leek will help to find ways to put permanent structures and programs in place that will address some of the voids that BIPOC and FGLI students have identified, while a new advisory group works on structure, budget, and organizational role for the future of the role, which will be implemented by July 1, 2021.
“In the six months that I will inhabit this role, I will work alongside my hard-working Dean’s Office colleagues as we strive to implement more anti-racist and trauma-informed programming,” said Esteves-Joyce. “I also look forward to working with students to identify and operationalize their ideas for a more just Haverford.”