Adriana Ruiz Alvarado

Associate Professor; Department Chair; Co-Director of the REAL Lab
School of Education, Department of Leadership and Higher Education

Adriana Ruiz Alvarado


Ph.D. Higher Education, University of California, Los Angeles, 2014

M.S. Higher Education, University of California, Los Angeles, 2011

M.Ed. Student Affairs, University of California, Los Angeles, 2009

B.A. Social Welfare, University of California, Berkeley, 2004


North University Hall
P: 909.748.6293


My scholarship focuses on improving the conditions and increasing the success of historically underrepresented students, particularly with regard to persistence to the baccalaureate degree and to experiences with the campus climate for diversity at both two and four-year colleges. Inherent in this work is also the role of institutional agents in helping students succeed. My methodological expertise lies in employing rigorous quantitative methods and handling large-scale national data sets to help illustrate experiences of the most marginalized.

Areas of Expertise & Academic Interests

Prior to joining the University of Redlands, I was a postdoctoral scholar with the Higher Education Research Institute (HERI) at UCLA and the lead researcher on a mixed methods project examining the college experiences of high-achieving students from low-income backgrounds. I also have professional experience with academic advising, intergroup dialogue, and student-initiated outreach programs.


Peer-reviewed Journals

Ruiz Alvarado, A., Stewart-Ambo, T., & Hurtado, S. (2020). High school and college choice factors associated with high-achieving low-income students’ college degree completion. Education Sciences, 10(6), 153.

Ruiz Alvarado, A., & Olson, A.B. (Accepted, expected December 2020). Examining the relationship between college advising and student outputs: A content analysis of the NACADA Journal. NACADA Journal.

Rogers, M.L., & Ruiz Alvarado, A. (Accepted, expected spring 2021). Let's talk about class: Exploring social class identity through intergroup dialogue. In S. Ardoin and G.L. Martin (Eds.) Social class supports: Examples of programs and practices to serve poor and working class students in higher education. Stylus Publications.

Hurtado, S., Ruiz Alvarado, A., & Guillermo-Wann, C. (2015). Thinking about race: The salience of racial identity at two and four-year colleges and the climate for diversity. Journal of Higher Education, 86(1), 127-155.

Hurtado, S., Ruiz Alvarado, A., & Guillermo-Wann, C. (2015). Creating inclusive environments: The mediating effect of faculty and staff validation on the relationship of discrimination/bias to students’ sense of belonging. Journal for Social Change on Race and Ethnicity in Higher Education, 1(1), online.

Fuentes, M., Ruiz Alvarado, A., Berdan, J., & DeAngelo, L. (2014). Mentorship matters: Does early faculty contact lead to quality faculty interaction? Research in Higher Education, 55(3), 288-307.

Book Chapters

Ruiz Alvarado, A., & Hurtado, S. (2015). Campus climate, intersectional identities, and institutional support among Mexican American college students. In R.E. Zambrana & S. Hurtado (Eds.). The magic key: The educational journey of Mexican-Americans from K-12 and to college and beyond (Ch.8, pp.168-189). Austin, TX: University of Texas Press.

Hurtado, S., & Ruiz Alvarado, A. (2015). Realizing the potential of Hispanic Serving Institutions: Multiple dimensions of organizational transformation. In A.M. Nuñez, S. Hurtado, & E. Calderon Galdeano (Eds.) Hispanic-Serving Institutions: Advancing research and transformative practice (Ch.2, pp.25-45). New York, NY: Routledge.

Ruiz Alvarado, A., & Hurtado, S. (2015). Salience at the intersection: Latina/o identities across different campus contexts. In D.J. Davis, R.J. Brunn, & J.L. Olive (Eds.) Intersectionality in education research (Ch.3, pp.48-67). Sterling, VA: Stylus Publishing, LLC.

Additional Professional Publications

Hurtado, S. & Ruiz Alvarado, A. (2015). Discrimination and bias, underrepresentation, and sense of belonging on campus. Los Angeles, CA: Higher Education Research Institute.

*This brief was used as evidence in the Amicus Brief of Social Scientists for the Supreme Court Case of Fisher vs. The University of Texas.

Hurtado, S. & Ruiz Alvarado, A. (2013). Diversity in teaching and learning: Affirming students as empowered learners. Diversity & Democracy: Civic Learning for Shared Futures, 16(3), 7-9

Hurtado, S., Ruiz, A., & Whang, H. (2012). Advancing and assessing civic learning: New results from the Diverse Learning Environments Survey. Diversity & Democracy: Civic Learning for Shared Futures, 15(3), 10-12.

Ruiz, A. (2012). Toward an understanding of who leaves, when they leave, and where they go. Proceedings of the 8th Annual National Symposium on Student Retention. New Orleans, LA.

Hurtado, S., & Ruiz, A. (2012). The climate for underrepresented groups and diversity on campus. Los Angeles, CA: Higher Education Research Institute. *This brief was used as evidence in the Amicus Brief of Social Scientists for the Supreme Court Case of Fisher vs. The University of Texas.

Ruiz, A., & Pryor, J.H. (2011). Assessing the climate for transfer at two and four-year institutions: How understanding diverse learning environments can help repair the pipeline. College and University, 87(1), 2-6.

Conference Presentations

Ruiz Alvarado, A., & Olson, A.B. (2020, April). Identity matters: Supporting the intersection of personal and professional identity. NACADA Region IX Conference, Palm Springs, CA. (Conference canceled). 

Professional Affiliations, Societies & Memberships

Association for the Study of Higher Education (ASHE)

American Association of Hispanics in Higher Education (AAHHE)

American Educational Research Association (AERA)

Awards, Honors & Grants

Awards and Honors

AAHHE/ETS, Outstanding Dissertation Award (2016)

UC/ACCORD, Dissertation Fellow (2013-2014)

UCLA Division of Higher Education and Organizational Change, Philip N. Clark Memorial Award (2013)

UCLA, Graduate Summer Research Mentorship Program (2011)



Ruiz Alvarado, A. (2019-2020). University of Redlands Instructional Technology Services Faculty Technology Grant, Flipping Educational Research, $3000.

Olson, A.B., & Ruiz Alvarado, A. (2020). NASPA Region VI Research & Assessment Grant, Student Affairs Professional Identity: The Role of Social Identity in Professional Socialization and the Development of Professional Identity, $1000.

Ruiz Alvarado, A. (2019, November). Reflecting on our response to conflict. Workshop presented as part of the University of Redlands Staff and Administrators Assembly Professional Development Series, Redlands, CA.