Dr. Julian Vasquez Heilig is an award-winning, nationally ranked public policy scholar, community and civil rights leader, and creative innovator with nearing two decades in seven academic leadership roles— provost, dean, department, program, center, and association. He’s known as a change maker that has collaboratively delivered rapid and exceptional results at the University of Texas at Austin, California State University and the University of Kentucky. He has led in a community-engaged, collaborative, equity-minded and transformative manner. While at UK, the College of Education achieved its highest ever U.S.News national rankings and achieved remarkable freshman student enrollment (+62%) and diversity (+150%) gains despite a worldwide pandemic.
His research and practice is primarily focused on K-12 and higher education curriculum, policy and leadership that impacts equity and innovation. A prolific scholar, he has authored 70 publications and spoken at hundreds of events — including more than 30 universities and seven countries. His work has been cited by the New York Times, Washington Post, Associated Press, USA Today, Education Week, Huffington Post and other print and electronic media outlets. He has also appeared to discuss his research on local and national radio and TV including Al Jazeera, PBS, NBC, CBS, NPR, Univision, and MSNBC.
As a national and international thought leader, Provost Vasquez Heilig has served on multiple governing boards and conveyed invited testimony and input for local, state, national and international policy-making bodies. He has also served as a volunteer education policy advisor and provided educational policy input for presidential and gubernatorial campaigns. He was elected to the Executive Committee and as Education Chair for the both the California and Kentucky NAACP state conferences. In 2019, he served as an association delegate and represented the United States at the 8th Education International World Congress in Bangkok, Thailand.
He has been honored with more than 30 teaching, research and service recognitions including Harvard’s Education Next top ten education policy voices in social media, Diversity in Education Magazine's Multicultural Champion for 2015, and the passage of California Assembly Resolution 1459 — which commended his state and national impact for education. He was recently selected as a recipient of the 2022 Linda C. Tillman Social & Racial Justice Award — which recognizes an academic who demonstrates outstanding leadership in furthering the values of “diversity, equity, and social justice in PK-20 educational organizations.”
Provost Vasquez Heilig received his Ph.D. in educational administration and policy analysis and a master’s degree in sociology from Stanford University. He also earned a master’s in higher education and a bachelor’s degree in history and psychology from the University of Michigan Ann Arbor.