February 2016

Santa Clara University School of Education and Counseling Psychology Welcomes New Dean

Introducing Dr. Sabrina Zirkel, the newly named Dean of SCU’s School of Education and Counseling Psychology.

SANTA CLARA, Calif. Feb. 16, 2016— Santa Clara University is pleased to announce that Dr. Sabrina Zirkel, Associate Dean of Education at Mills College, will be appointed Dean of Santa Clara’s School of Education and Counseling Psychology, effective June 1, 2016. Zirkel will provide overall academic, administrative, and financial leadership for the School. She will report directly to Dr. Dennis Jacobs, University Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs.

A well-established scholar who studies race, ethnicity, gender, and class across all sectors of education, Zirkel is the Abbie Valley Professor of Educational Leadership at Mills College. She has extensive administrative experience at Mills College, serving as Associate Dean in the School of Education as well as Director of the Educational Leadership program and the Ed.D. program. Most recently, in her role as Chair of the Faculty Executive Committee, Zirkel worked with the senior leadership at Mills to develop a number of innovative, interdisciplinary programs that engage students while serving the needs of the College and the local community.

“Santa Clara faculty showed a passion for ensuring that graduates of the School of Education and Counseling Psychology are well prepared to make a difference in their communities as outstanding counselors, educators, and leaders,” said Zirkel. “I am especially looking forward to working with faculty to build on the current efforts of Santa Clara University and the School of Education and Counseling Psychology in the Thriving Neighbors Initiative and the School’s campus in East San Jose.”  

As demonstrated through her scholarship and community work, Zirkel possesses a deep commitment to issues of diversity, justice, and inclusion. She serves as an advisor to the African American Regional Educational Alliance (AAREA) and to STEM STEPS, programs that seek to improve the educational experiences of African American students in the East Bay.  

“Dr. Zirkel comes to Santa Clara with an impressive record in curricular innovation, faculty development, and student engagement,” said Santa Clara University President Michael Engh, S.J. “Our School of Education and Counseling Psychology prepares leaders to serve the education and mental health needs of Silicon Valley. Dr. Zirkel’s experiences coupled with her passion for promoting educational equity will be a significant benefit to the school and the community.”

Zirkel will succeed Dr. Carol Ann Gittens, a professor of liberal studies, who is currently serving as interim dean for the 2015–16 academic year.

Zirkel earned her bachelor’s degree with high honors in Psychology from the University of California, Berkeley in 1986 and her Ph.D. in Psychology from the University of Michigan in 1991. She was a psychology professor at College of the Holy Cross, a Jesuit institution similar to Santa Clara University, from 1991-1994 and served as a visiting fellow at Stanford University’s Research Institute for the Comparative Study of Race and Ethnicity.

Zirkel is married with three children. Her husband, Christopher Simon, serves as a Director in the Human Resources department at the University of California, Office of the President.

About the School of Education and Counseling Psychology
Serving more than 700 students, the School of Education and Counseling Psychology offers master’s degree and credential programs to prepare professional counselors and K-12 educators and administrators. It educates practitioners whose professional competence, social conscience, and human compassion will transform lives, schools, and communities for the greater health, well-being, and the common good of all. For more information, see www.scu.edu/ecp

About Santa Clara University
Santa Clara University, a comprehensive Jesuit, Catholic university located 40 miles south of San Francisco in California’s Silicon Valley, offers its more than 8,800 students rigorous undergraduate curricula in arts and sciences, business, theology, and engineering, plus master’s and law degrees and engineering Ph.D.s. Distinguished nationally by one of the highest graduation rates among all U.S. master’s universities, California’s oldest operating higher education institution demonstrates faith-inspired values of ethics and social justice. For more information, see www.scu.edu

Media Contact
Tina Vossugh| tvossugh@scu.edu | (408) 829-4836


Press Release, Education, Counseling Psychology
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