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In The Margins

Apr 1, 2021

Growing up in Southeast Los Angeles, Chancellor Eloy Ortiz Oakley never thought that the struggles he had faced and overcome in his youth would bring him on a path to leading the largest college system in the country. As the 2021 recipient of the Diverse Champions Award, Oakley joins us in this episode to talk about his approach to diversity, equity, and inclusion issues in higher education. Oakley also discusses the current impact COVID-19 has had on community college students, his hopes for the future of higher education, and the accomplishments he is most proud of. So join in the conversation and take a glimpse into the heart and mind that Oakley leads from. 



  • The challenges facing first-generation students.  
  • How COVID-19 has amplified these challenges. 
  • Why is there a decline in community college enrollment amidst the pandemic?
  • Strategies to support vulnerable students on their path to completion. 
  • Goals and aspirations for the future of diversity in higher education. 
  • Thoughts and advice on leadership, policies, and championing diversity issues. 



“I would hope that at some point the kind of work that we're talking about here is done by everyone in every organization and there is no need to highlight individuals who are lifting up diversity, equity, and inclusion.”

“That's what informs me every single day that I come to work in this job: knowing that there are thousands of neighborhoods throughout the country and families throughout the country that still see higher education as something for somebody else, not for them.”

“If we use this pandemic as another excuse to leave a generation of students behind, then it's going to come back to haunt us a hundredfold.”



Eloy Ortiz Oakley to receive the 2021 Diverse Champions Award - read the article here:

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In The Margins is produced by Diverse: Issues In Higher Education and edited by Instapodcasts (visit at