Arts & Humanities Graduate Diversity Office

Graduate students celebrating


Welcome to the Arts and Humanities Diversity Director’s Office. Our mission is to support all prospective and current Arts and Humanities students, staff, and faculty at Berkeley. Guided by a commitment to inclusion and advocacy, primarily for students who are first-generation, historically underrepresented, with disabilities, or who have overcome significant educational disadvantages, our office is here to provide comprehensive support as described below.

Statement on current climate: 

This past summer our country witnessed historic protests that focused on the disproportionate use of police violence against Black people. Because our society was already feeling restless after many weeks of sheltering in place due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many young people decided to act. These protests also affected the Berkeley campus as students, and particularly BIPOC students, wondered about the role our university and departmental communities have played in challenging the very structures that fueled the protests. 

Our office affirms the right of all students, and particularly those who have been historically underrepresented in higher education, to pursue educational opportunities at gateway institutions like UC Berkeley. We affirm that Black Lives Matter, that in light of the historical neglect of African American communities the university can be a mitigating force against the pervasive marginalization that is still endemic in the United States, and that only by being proactive and holistic in our approach, can we be responsive to the diverse educational needs of our entire society.  


Individual admissions consultations for prospective A & H graduate students

Our office provides 30 or 60 minute individual consultations for students who are currently applying to Arts and Humanities graduate programs. We discuss application strategies customized to your situation, how to write an effective statement of purpose and personal statement, what funding opportunities to pursue, and how to reach out to get effective letters of recommendation. For students who are first generation or historically underrepresented, we help demystify the graduate application process, suggest how to best talk about your research in your statements, and how to address uneven blips in your transcript. To schedule an initial consultation, please click here.

Resource support for current A & H graduate students

Our office is here to support your success in your graduate program. For new graduate students, we are here to advise you on diversity-oriented resources that can make your transition into Berkeley’s academic community a smoother one. We routinely share information with you about new fellowships, professional development opportunities, and mentoring programs. We can also help you strategize as you plan your entry into the academic job market or other employment opportunities available to doctoral students. Finally, we also connect you to your fellow A & H graduate student colleagues through a variety of group events meant to cultivate a larger sense of community.

Departmental consultations on campus climate and admissions strategies

The Arts and Humanities Diversity Director’s Office is available to assist all A & H departments during the fall admissions season to help admissions committees maximize their inclusive practices during their application review process. We work with each department in identifying best practices that can help them with the recruitment of historically underrepresented and first-generation students. We also act as a liaison between individual departments, the Graduate Division, and the Arts and Humanities Dean’s Office.

 To address current dynamics in the department, our office also assists departments by providing consultations on inclusive best practices, contacts to diversity resources on and off campus, and strategizing for promoting a positive climate among members of the departmental community.

Workshops and presentations

Our office facilitates on-line workshops and presentations for on and off campus student groups focusing on writing the statement of purpose, choosing an effective writing sample, pursuing financial support for grad school, and developing customized academic strategies for increasing productivity. To request a workshop or presentation please contact our office ahead of time so that we can discuss your needs.

Collaboration with on-campus partners and other university institutions

As an active member of Berkeley’s diversity professionals network our office regularly collaborates with partners across the university on a variety of initiatives supporting A & H graduate students.

 We are also the home for Berkeley’s Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship Program (MMUF) and a Creating Connections Consortium (C3) founding member.

About us:

Alberto Ledesma, Assistant Dean.
Assistant Dean for Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity
Division of Arts & Humanities

Alberto Ledesma grew up in East Oakland and received his undergraduate and graduate degrees from UC Berkeley. He earned a Ph.D. in ethnic studies in 1996 and is a former faculty member at California State University, Monterey Bay, and a lecturer in ethnic studies at UC Berkeley. He has held several staff positions at UC Berkeley, including director of admissions at the School of Optometry, and writing program coordinator at the Student Learning Center. He is the author of the award winning illustrated autobiography, Diary of A Reluctant Dreamer.

Office: 2411 Dwinelle Hall
Telephone: 510.642.5575 | Fax: 510.643.6762
Mailing address: 101 Durant Hall, Berkeley, CA 94720-2920

Diana Acidera, Program Manager
Diana Acidera
Program Manager for Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity
Division of Arts & Humanities

Diana Acidera grew up in the Fresno-Central Valley area and is a first-generation to college student. She received her BA in Chicano Studies and Political Science from UC Berkeley, as well as her MBA in Marketing and MA in Management & Educational Leadership from Mills College. She remains passionate about serving diverse populations and advocating for underrepresented and underserved communities in education. She hopes to continue positively impacting the lives of individuals by creating safe spaces to actively journey and engage in practices of mindfulness, cultivating connections, and exploring healing modalities for wellness.

Office: 2413 Dwinelle Hall
Telephone: 510.664.4968 | Fax: 510.643.6762
Mailing address: 101 Durant Hall, Berkeley, CA 94720-2920