Key Staff Profiles
Leslie Asher Blair
Executive Director, Communications
As executive director of communications, Leslie Blair plans and develops internal and external communications efforts in collaboration with Associate Vice President Erica Saenz and a team of five communications professionals. The team maintains the division’s web site and social media accounts and produces newsletters, reports, magazines, brochures, flyers and video to support the DDCE brand. Blair also oversees the division’s media relations and is a member of the Campus Climate Response Team.
Before joining the DDCE staff in 2008, Blair was a communications associate and project director at SEDL, a nonprofit educational research organization. She previously worked at New Mexico State University. She earned a B.A. in Journalism from Texas State University and an M.A. in English from New Mexico State University.
Dr. Charles Breithaupt serves as the executive director of the University Interscholastic League (UIL). Breithaupt is the seventh executive director in the 100-year history of UIL. Breithaupt joined the League in June of 1992 after 17 years in coaching and currently serves on the NFHS Basketball Rules Committee and served as liaison to the NCAA Football Rules Committee for the past 10 years. He has also served as an athletic director, assistant principal, high school principal and as a school board member throughout his career. He coached football, basketball, baseball, track and field, and cross- country and taught English and History. He has been named Coach of the year nine times and was named State Coach of the Year by the Texas Association of Basketball Coaches in 1991. He was inducted into the Texas High School Basketball Hall of Fame in 2003 and the Southeast Texas Coaches Hall of Honor in 2001. He was inducted in the Texas High School Coaches Hall of Honor in 2005.
Dr. Aileen Bumphus is an assistant vice president for academic diversity initiatives and executive director of the Gateway Scholars Program in the Longhorn Center for Academic Excellence (LCAE). In her role, she oversees all programming and academic support components of the program, which is designed to maximize the academic success and social connections of incoming first-generation and underrepresented students at UT Austin. Gateway Scholars serves more than 400 students, many of whom are the first in their families to attend college. She is a strong advocate for studying abroad and has been collaborating with the UT Study Abroad office to ensure that the students in the Gateway program have complete access to the many resources available to enhance the likelihood that they study abroad during their college experience. As a first-generation college student and the only one in her family to gave attended college, she understands first-hand the challenges facing first-generation college stBumphus served on the planning team to launch the first-ever study abroad experience in LCAE. As a result, the Longhorn Center for Academic Excellence successfully took a record number of students to Beijing, China, during the 2013 Maymester.
Dr. Robiaun Charles is the associate vice president and executive director of development for the Division of Diversity and Community Engagement (DDCE). In this role, she provides strategic leadership for fostering relationships and securing philanthropic support for DDCE.
Charles has almost 20 years of combined experience in development, marketing and communications and diversity. She served as the Director of Annual Giving and Development Services and the Associate Director of Gift Planning at the University of Evansville. Additionally, while the Director of Development and Major Gifts for Johnson C. Smith University she was named a Kresge Foundation Advancement Fellow. Other related professional experience includes employment with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and United Cerebral Palsy of Greater Atlanta.
Before joining UT Austin, she served as the Special Assistant to the President and Chief Diversity Officer at the University of Evansville. Charles was the founding board president of the Evansville Diversity Lecture Series, a collective impact initiative between members of government, education and business sectors. Currently she serves on the board of trustees for Salem College and Academy in Winston-Salem, NC and the board of directors for the Capital City African American Chamber of Commerce in Austin, TX.
A native of Atlanta, GA, Charles earned her BA in philosophy from Rollins College, her MPA from The Andrew Young School of Policy Studies at Georgia State University, and her PhD in higher education leadership and policy at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, TN.
Dr. Melissa M. Chavez, M.Ed.
Associate Vice President and Superintendent, University Charter School System
2200 East Sixth Street
Austin, TX 78702
Melissa Chavez began her career with UT Elementary School in its inception as the assistant principal and created the special education and reading programs. She was promoted to principal in 2006, helping the school to earn several Exemplary titles. Melissa became Executive Director of UT Elementary School in 2009 and continues to serve in that role. Prior to coming to UT Elementary, Melissa taught first grade in Austin ISD and quickly rose to Assistant to the Associate Superintendent, before being recruited to help open The University of Texas Elementary School in 2003.
Melissa has a bachelors degree in curriculum and instruction and a masters degree in educational administration from The University of Texas at Austin College of Education. Her masters specialization was the principalship program – a highly competitive program ranked in the top five in the nation. Currently Melissa is pursuing a doctorate degree at The University of Texas, and her dissertation focuses on behavioral momentum theory and its application to increasing positive student behavior.
Katherine Antwi Green serves as the assistant vice president for the Office of Institutional Equity and is responsible for the strategic oversight of the compliance, programmatic, and administrative operations of the unit. She also serves as the Title VI Coordinator, Deputy IX Coordinator and co-chair for the Campus Climate Response Team. Prior to UT, she served in various legal capacities including in-house counsel, general counsel, and litigation attorney with UT System, the Texas Commission on Human Rights and the Office of the Attorney General. She holds a law degree from Gonzaga University and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Texas at Austin.
Dr. Jennifer Maedgen
Senior Associate Vice President and Chief of Staff; Clinical Associate Professor, Department of Educational Psychology
512-232-2910; FAC 402
Dr. Jennifer Maedgen has oversight responsibility for the Office of Institutional Equity (OIE) and disability efforts on campus, serving as the University’s ADAAA/504/EIR Coordinator. She also serves as the vice president's liaison to the Hogg Foundation for Mental Health and the University Interscholastic League, and functions as the chief of staff for the division. Maedgen received a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA), graduating summa cum laude. She received her master’s degree and doctorate in clinical psychology from the University of Texas at Austin. Dr. Maedgen completed her predoctoral internship at the University of Virginia Health Sciences Center in Charlottesville, Virginia, where she worked in children's rehabilitation, adult/child neuropsychology, and forensic settings. She also completed her post-doctoral fellowship at the University of Virginia, during which time she worked in the neuropsychology clinic in the Department of Psychiatric Medicine and at the Learning Needs and Evaluation Center (LNEC). She was later appointed as the director of the LNEC, and served in this role and as an assistant professor of clinical psychiatric medicine for three years. Dr. Maedgen returned to The University of Texas at Austin in 2003 as an assistant dean of students and director of Services for Students with Disabilities (SSD). She joined the DDCE in January 2007. In addition to her administrative role, she has taught courses on critical thinking, psychological assessment, and disability, as well as published articles and book chapters on issues relating to attentional disorders and disability accommodations. She has a clinical appointment in the Department of Educational Psychology and is a licensed psychologist in the state of Texas.
A native Texan and licensed psychiatrist, Dr. Martinez is the fifth executive director and the first Hispanic to lead the Hogg Foundation for Mental Health since its creation in 1940. The foundation’s grants and programs support mental health services, research, policy analysis and educational projects in Texas. He is a clinical professor with an appointment in the School of Social Work at The University of Texas at Austin and a guest lecturer at the Harvard School of Public Health. His academic interests include minority health, health disparities, and workforce issues. In addition to his administrative and academic duties, he is on the board of the National Partnership for Action to End Health Disparities Region VI Health Equity Board, a commissioner on the Supreme Court of Texas Permanent Judicial Commission for Children, Youth and Families, a member of the Texas Department of State Health Services’ Texas Implementation of Medication Algorithm Advisory Council, and a member of the University of Texas – University Charter School Advisory Board. He is a Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association and also a member of the American College of Mental Health Administration, the National Hispanic Medical Association, the Texas Society for Psychiatric Physicians, the Harvard Faculty Club, and The Reede Scholars, a network of public health leaders who have completed The Commonwealth Fund/Harvard University Fellowship in Minority Health Policy at Harvard Medical School. He is licensed to practice medicine in Texas and North Carolina and is a diplomate of the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology. He has a master’s degree in public health from Harvard University’s School of Public Health, a doctor’s degree in medicine from Baylor College of Medicine, and master’s and bachelor’s degrees in business administration with a concentration in finance from The University of Texas at Austin.
Dr. Leonard Moore
Senior Associate Vice President for Academic Diversity Initiatives and Student Engagement
Longhorn Center for Academic Excellence; Professor, Department of History, College of Liberal Arts
Dr. Leonard Moore has a wide-spanning portfolio that includes the Longhorn Center for Academic Excellence, TRIO Programs, Pre-College Academic Readiness Programs and the Longhorn Center for Community Engagement. Additionally, he is a professor in the Department of History. Dr. Moore teaches several popular undergraduate courses, including the Gateway Scholars signature course titled Race in the Age of Obama. He is a frequent speaker across the country on issues related to race, education, and social entrepreneurship. He has been at the University of Texas since 2007.
In 2011, Dr. Moore received the Salute Chair's Award from Austin Partners in Education. Through his advocacy in the community and in the classroom he led more than a hundred students and residents to volunteer in the Austin Independent School District. A student population that he has actively taught and mentored on campus is student athletes. Through his work with black male athletes he promotes a healthy balance between academics and athletics. Prior to coming to the University of Texas, he spent nine years as a professor and administrator at Louisiana State University. He earned his Ph.D. in American History from Ohio State University in 1998 at the age of 26. He received his bachelor’s degree in history from Jackson State University in 1993 and he is a native of Cleveland, Ohio.
Patrick Patterson currently serves as the Assistant Vice President of The Longhorn Center for School Partnerships. He was born and raised on the South Side of Chicago, and attended Chicago Public Schools. Upon completing his graduate degree in Education from Chicago State University, he moved to Austin Texas in 1983 to begin his public school teaching career. He worked in what many would consider “tough” schools, but he always knew that education was the main reason for his quality of life and he wanted other young people who were from disadvantaged situations to break their family’s poverty cycle by obtaining a quality education and joining, at a minimum, working class society. He was a pioneer in Austin Public Schools as he became the first and only, at this time, person to become campus principal at the elementary, middle, and high school levels. His (two) high schools (Lanier, 2004 and LBJ, 2005-2009) were recognized by Newsweek as top 1200 high schools in the nation for multiple years. During his last four years as LBJ High School Principal, LBJ led the Central Texas area in the ApplyTexas rate and was recognized by The Austin Chamber of Commerce each of those years for doing so. This was done in a high school that was 100% minority and over 80% of the students qualified for free/reduced lunch. He felt very strongly about giving the opportunity of post-secondary education to his students. In 2009 Mr. Patterson was named AISD Secondary Principal of the Year, and in his final year in 2010, the Texas Assoc. of Journalism Educators, named him Administrator of the Year for the entire State of Texas!
After 28 years of employment credit with Austin ISD, and thirty years overall, he decided to retire and start over in a different capacity as he felt he had given all he had in the public school setting and wanted to try something new. Hence, his new work at The University of Texas at Austin. In January, 2014, Mr. Patterson was selected as Asst. Vice President of the Longhorn Center for School Partnerships (LCSP), in the Division of Diversity and Community Engagement at The University of Texas at Austin. His portfolio includes all of the Outreach Centers across the State of Texas, as well as the unit, Pre-College Academic Readiness Program (PCARP).
Ms. Ana “Ixchel” Rosal
Executive Director, Student Diversity Initiatives
Ana “Ixchel” Rosal has more than 20 years of experience providing organizational leadership. As executive director of Student Diversity Initiatives, she oversees the Gender and Sexuality Center: Serving Women and LGBTQ Communities and the Multicultural Engagement Center. Through her work with these units, Ixchel has developed a focus within student affairs on student leadership and identity development, as well as campus climate issues.
Prior to her tenure in higher education, Ixchel was a community cultural development worker; she worked with community-based organizations and used the arts and other forms of cultural production to build capacity within historically marginalized communities. Ms. Rosal received her undergraduate degree from University of California-Berkeley, where she studied Latin American history and women’s studies. After moving to Texas, she received her Master’s in Public Policy from the LBJ School at the University of Texas, Austin.
Associate President for Community and External Relations
Erica Sáenz joined the University of Texas at Austin in 2008 and currently serves as associate vice president for community and external relations (CER). The CER portfolio includes DDCE’s communications and special events teams. CER is also responsible for providing program and sponsorship management for campus and community partnerships. Erica holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Texas at Austin and a master’s degree from UCLA. Prior to coming to UT-Austin, Sáenz held various positions at UCLA including serving in the chancellor’s office where she liaised with campus and community constituencies on behalf of the assistant chancellor and assistant provost and gained experience in managing emerging areas of campus concern of both external and internal origin.
Sáenz is a proud member of Austin Creative Alliance, Austin Script Works, FuturoFund Austin, Hispanic Women’s Network of Texas- Austin branch, Las Comadres Para Las Americas, and the Screen Actors Guild. Her current board and service commitments include the Austin Involved Advisory Council, Community Action Network, Goodwill Industries of Central Texas, Hispanic Scholarship Consortium Advisory Council, I Live Here, I Give Here, the Long Center for the Performing Arts, Teatro Vivo, and the Texas Exes Hispanic Alumni Network.Dr. Sherri L. Sanders
Associate Vice President for Strategic Initiatives; Clinical Associate Professor,
Department of Educational Administration, College of Education
Sherri L. Sanders, associate vice president for strategic initiatives, serves as the point person in developing and implementing the university’s diversity planning process and creating and executing the division’s strategic and assessment plans. On behalf of the vice president, she collaborates closely with the leadership of the UT Charter School System, including the UT Elementary School and the UT Charter School, in facilitating initiatives that advance the vision and mission of both schools. Dr. Sanders also partners with the Senior Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs and other academic leaders in their efforts to create an inclusive culture where faculty recruitment and retention initiatives, including gender equity endeavors can succeed. Furthermore, Dr. Sanders directs the Barbara Jordan Statue Project, including its endowed scholarship.
Prior to 2007, she was a member of the Office of the Dean of Students senior leadership team for nineteen years and served both as assistant and associate dean of students. She is a clinical associate professor within the Department of Educational Administration. In 1998, she received her Ph.D. in educational administration from UT-Austin. Her dissertation was a qualitative study of “The Leadership Behaviors and Styles of Selected Female Academic Deans” and her research interests include diversity and strategic planning, gender equity, faculty recruitment and retention, and climate assessment. Dr. Sanders earned her M.A. in college student personnel from Bowling Green State University and a B.S. in psychology from Louisiana State University. Throughout her tenure, she has received numerous awards including the Parents’ Association Outstanding Student Affairs Staff Merit Award and the Margaret C. Berry Outstanding Contribution to Student Life Award. In 1999, Dr. Sanders was selected as the university’s representative to Leadership Texas and in 2004 she was honored as a participant in the Fulbright Scholar Program in Germany.
Dr. Susan B.A. Somers-Willett
Assistant Vice President for Research and Policy
Dr. Susan Somers-Willett serves as point person for research and policy in the DDCE as well as many of the communications for the vice president for diversity and community engagement, including statements and speaking engagements. Along with the vice president, she takes a lead role in developing the Longhorn Campaign for Men of Color, which aims to improve academic and social outcomes for boys and young men of color on local, state, and national levels. Her unit partners with UT-Austin faculty and organizations such as the City of Austin Mayor’s Office, AISD, and the U.S. Department of Education to produce policy reports and other research-based publications that bring the intellectual resources of the university to external constituents.
Dr. Somers-Willett earned her A.B. in Women’s Studies and Cultural Anthropology from Duke University, and an M.A. in English and a Ph.D. in American Literature from The University of Texas at Austin. Prior to joining the DDCE, she taught at Carnegie Mellon University, The University of Illinois Champaign-Urbana, and Montclair State University. She currently serves as liaison to the vice president on the Campus Climate Response Team and is an advisory board member for the Fearless Leadership Institute (FLI), a support organization for African American women at UT-Austin.
Dr. Betty Jeanne Taylor
Assistant Vice President for Strategic Initiatives
Dr. Betty Jeanne Taylor serves as the assistant vice president for strategic initiatives, working with university and school leadership in developing curriculum and implementing practices for inclusive environments. Dr. Taylor is responsible for the design, implementation and facilitation of the Inclusive Classrooms Leadership Certificate Seminar and collaborates with the Office of the Senior Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs regarding faculty recruitment and retention. Taylor also works with the University of Texas – University Charter School System (UT—UCS) leadership on initiatives including strategic planning. With more than 15 years of experience, Taylor has served as an instructor, facilitator, and administrator.
Prior to joining DDCE, she served on the Office of the Dean of Students management team as director of Greek Life and Education where she also instructed undergraduate courses in Educational Psychology. She received a B.S. in communication and a M.S. in higher education from The Florida State University and holds a Ph.D. in educational administration from UT–Austin. Taylor has been recognized for her service and leadership with honors including the University of Texas President’s Outstanding Staff Award, Texas Parents’ Association Staff Merit Award, and the Association of Fraternity/Sorority Advisors Distinguished Service Award.