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DEI-Focused Cluster Hires

Announcing our 2023-2024 DEI-Focused Cluster Hire Search 

The College of Liberal Arts is proud to announce the opening of its third DEI-Focused Cluster Hire. The following five positions are part of a college-wide cluster of searches designed to increase DEI-focused curricular coverage: 

All positions are finalized and approved by the Provost, though some are awaiting posting in our system. Please check back if you do not find them immediately.

How to apply: Please see for these positions and others available at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo.


History of CLA's Cluster Hires

The College of Liberal Arts conducted its first cluster search focused on diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in 2017 and this search was designed to attract a diverse group of academics invested in inclusive teaching and dedicated to scholarly contributions in this area. We successfully hired seven assistant professors across several departments. All have been involved in diversity and inclusion efforts in their departments, our college, the university, and in the community.

To promote equity-minded and inclusive teaching strategies across the university and increase curricular coverage of areas related to DEI, a university-wide cluster of tenure-track faculty search was launched in 2019. From this search, five new assistant professors were hired in the College of Liberal Arts. During the 2021-2022 school year, a third search was launched that resulted in successfully hiring 10 diverse and inclusive assistant professors representing eight different departments.


Meet the DEI-Focused Cluster Faculty 

2022 Cohort

Alexia AraniAlexia Arani (she/they)

Women’s, Gender, & Queer Studies Department 
Degree: Ph.D. in Anthropology with a specialization in Critical Gender Studies from UC San Diego 
Research Interests: Disability Justice, queer/trans of color critique, social movements, state violence, prison abolition and care work​




Darrion CarrollDarrian Carroll

Communication Studies Department 
Degree: Communication Studies from the University of Maryland
Research Interests: Race, Rhetoric, World-Making





Alison Yeh CheungAlison Cheung

Communication Studies Department 
Degree: Ph.D. in Communication from the University of Utah
Research Interests: Rhetorical criticism, rhetorics of race, critical media studies and Asian American cultural production





Alison Yeh CheungAshley Clemons

English Department 
Degree: Ph.D. from the University of Florida; B.A. from Wayne State University 
Research Interests: African American Literature; Contemporary American Literature; Detroit’s Black Cultural & Literary Studies; and Afrofuturism​



Nikhil DebNikhil Deb

Social Sciences Department 
Degree: Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of Tennessee​; M.A. in Sociology from Ohio University​; M.S.S in Sociology from Shahjalal University in Bangladesh                                                                                   Research Interests: Political Economy, Development and Environment, Global South.



Maya HislopMaya Hislop

English Department 
Degree: Ph.D. in English from University of Virginia;
B.A. in English from Williams College
Research Interests: African American Literature, 20th & 21st century; Gender studies, sexual violence/misogynoir; Carceral studies, prison abolition; Media studies, race, gender, and class



Susana A. López (she/her/ella)Susana A. López (she/her/ella)

Psychology and Child Development Department 
Degree: Ph.D. in Counseling, Clinical and School Psychology from the University of California Santa Barbara; M.S. in Psychology from Cal Poly; B.S. in Psychology from Cal Poly 
Research Interests: Racial Trauma and Healing, Stress and Resilience, Immigration, Acculturation and Mental Health Disparities in underserved communities. 


Jorge E. MoragaJorge E. Moraga 

Ethnic Studies Department 
Degree: American Studies from Washington State University
Research Interests: Latinx Studies; Sociology of Sport; Race, Class, Gender in Popular Culture & Media 




John Paul PaniaguaJohn Paul Paniagua

History Department 
Degree: Ph.D. from Princeton University; B.A. from Whittier College
Research Interests: Indigenous Americas, Colonial Atlantic World





Gabriel SoldatenkoGabriel Soldatenko

Ethnic Studies Department 
Degree: Ph.D. in Philosophy from SUNY Binghamton; M.A. in Philosophy from SUNY Binghamton; B.A. in History from Arizona State University; B.A. in Philosophy from Arizona State University
Research Interests: Latinx Studies, Urbanism and Critical Social Theory




2019 Cohort

Yun Lucy BencharitYun Lucy Bencharit

Psychology and Child Development Department - Diversity and Organizational Behavior
Degree: Ph.D. in Psychology from Stanford University
Research Interests: Cultural variation in emotional expressions in work settings, teamwork, and group dynamics across cultures; diverse, equity and trust in organizations.


Deborah DonigDeborah Donig

English Department - Global Anglophone Literatures
Degree: Ph.D. in English from University of California, Los Angeles
Research Interests: Global Anglophone Literature, Human Rights, Comparative Genocide, and Humanistic Technology




Thanayi JacksonThanayi Jackson

History Department - African American History
Degree: Ph.D. in United States History from University of Maryland
Research Interests: Politics and Race in the U.S. from 1865, Civil War and Reconstruction, African American Activism, Partisanship and Political Culture.




Shanae MartinezShanae Martinez

English Department - Indigenous Studies
Degree: Ph.D. in English Literature and Clutural Theory from University of Wisconsin
Research Interests: Indigenous American Literatures, Indigenizing knowledge production, Decolonial Praxis, Transnationalism, Trans-Indigenous Resistance, Feminist Alliance and Tourism.



Kylie Parrotta Kylie Parrotta

Social Sciences Department - Criminology and Gender
Degree: Ph.D. in Sociology from North Carolina State University
Research Interests: Social Psychology of Organizational Change, Race and Gender Disparities, Identity Work and Stigma Management, 21st Century Policing, Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, and Race & STEM.



2017 Cohort

Jay BettergarciaJay Bettergarcia

Psychology and Child Development Department - Multicultural Psychology
Degree: Ph.D. in Counseling, Clinical, and School Psychology from UC Santa Barbara
Research Interests: LGBTQ mental health and wellness and affirming approaches to mental health care for transgender and nonbinary people


Joan MeyersJoan Meyers

Social Sciences Department - Diversity in the Workplace
Degree: Ph.D. in Sociology from UC Davis
Research Interests: Diversity and inclusion in the workplace





Steven RuszczyckySteven Ruszczycky

English Department - Queer Studies
Degree: Ph.D. from University of Buffalo, SUNY
Research Interests: Queer theory, history and theory of pornography, sexual studies, disability studies, and the medical humanities




Emily RyallsEmily Ryalls

Communication Studies Department - Mediated Representations of Race and Gender
Degree: Ph.D. from University of South Florida
Research Interests: Cultural studies and feminist media studies, with a focus on popular culture and issues of race, gender, class, and sexuality




Farah Al-NakibFarah Al-Nakib 

History Department - North African and Middle Eastern History
Degree: Ph.D. in History from the School of Oriental and African Studies, London
Research Interests: Urban history of Kuwait city before and after oil



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