Professor of education recognized for over four decades of nurturing social justice scholars and researchers.
UCLA Professor of Education Daniel Solórzano was honored with the inaugural Revolutionary Mentor Award by the Social Justice Special Interest Group of the American Educational Research Association (AERA). The inaugural director of the newly established UCLA Center for Critical Race Studies was recognized at AERA’s Annual Meeting in San Antonio in April for his 40-plus years of scholarly work, teaching, and mentorship.
“Professor Daniel Solórzano is a giant among giants,” says Marcelo Suárez-Orozco, Wasserman Dean of the UCLA Graduate School of Education & Information Studies. “He is a pathbreaking scholar, a phenomenal mentor, and a citizen par excellence. The entire GSE&IS Community joins me in congratulating Danny for this extraordinary award and celebration of his lifelong dedication to to social justice in education. Bravo, Danny, Bravo!”
Among his recommendations for the Revolutionary Mentor Award, a letter from 56 current and former students recommended Solórzano to the Critical Educators for Social Justice Special Interest Group that created the new AERA honor.
“Alongside his groundbreaking contributions to the fields of critical race studies in education, sociology of education, women and gender studies, and ethnic studies, Dr. Solórzano has been a staunch advocate of and firm believer in the transformative role of social justice,” stated Solórzano’s students. “His impact to the field through teaching, scholarship, and service are immense and simultaneously includes the invisible labor he engages in creating more just and humane classrooms, communities, and universities.”
“Getting this award is truly one of the highest and most humbling honors in my 44 years as an educator,” says Professor Solórzano. “I see my mentoring as an extension of my teaching. To that end, I have been blessed with extraordinary students throughout my entire career and my 27 years at UCLA. Our students are the ones who carry forward the work for social and racial justice.”
Solórzano teaches in the Division of Social Science and Comparative Education in UCLA’s Graduate School of Education & Information Studies. His teaching, research and publishing interests include critical race theory in education; racial microaggressions; critical race pedagogy; and critical race spatial analysis.
Professor Solórzano has authored more than 100 research articles and book chapters on issues related to educational access and equity for underrepresented student populations in the United States, critical race theory, and racial microaggressions. He has taught at the Los Angeles County Juvenile Hall, the California Community College, the California State University, and the University of California Systems.
Among his many accolades, Solórzano has received the UCLA Distinguished Teacher Award, the AERA Social Justice in Education Award, the Derrick A. Bell Legacy Award from the Critical Race Studies in Education Association, and the Mildred Garcia Exemplary Scholarship Award from the Association for Studies in Higher Education (ASHE). In 2014, he was selected as an AERA Fellow. At UCLA, Solórzano served as the inaugural Associate Dean for Equity and Diversity and Chief Diversity Officer representing UCLA Ed & IS from 2014 to 2015.
In 2015, Solórzano and a cadre of UCLA graduate students and alumni launched the UCLA Center for Critical Race Studies. The Center engages scholars and community members in interdisciplinary research that expands the understanding of crucial educational and social inequality issues, including race, racism, and their connection to other forms of discrimination such as sexism, classism, homophobia, and ableism. The Center and its scholars and researchers are focused on producing and supporting studies that explore historical and contemporary issues impacting diverse communities in order to achieve educational equity and work toward social and racial justice.
Professor Solórzano says that the upcoming end of the academic year brings to mind the fact that his work in preparing socially conscious educators and leaders is never fully done.
“We end each academic year with our graduations,” notes Solórzano. “To see our students walk across the stage and to know they are moving on to continue their work for social and racial justice are some the proudest moments of my career. Then, to welcome a new group of students in the Fall reminds me of the work that needs to continue. And it does.”
Above: UCLA Professor of Education Daniel Solórzano (fourth from left, top row) directs the UCLA Center for Critical Race Studies.
Courtesy of Daniel Solórzano