University at Buffalo

Stephen Santa-Ramirez, Ph.D. (he/him/his)

Stephen Santa-Ramirez, Ph.D. (he/him/his)

Assistant Professor of Higher Education

Assistant Professor


Specialty/Research Focus

Access and Equity; Diversity; Immigrant Issues; Higher Education; Race, Inequality, and Education; Legal Issues

Contact Information
482 Baldy Hall
North Campus
Phone: (716) 645-5236

Professional Summary:

The University at Buffalo operates on the unceded ancestral territory of the Seneca Nation of the Haudenosaunee Six Nations Confederacy. I am grateful to respectfully work as a guest on these lands with the Native people who occupied this space before us and those who still call this home.

Dr. Stephen Santa-Ramirez (he/him/his) is an Assistant Professor of Higher Education within the Graduate School of Education at the University at Buffalo. His vast experiences in U.S. higher education and student affairs include work in Multicultural and LGBT+ Affairs, Residential Life and Housing Services, and Migrant Student Services. In addition to teaching at UB, Dr. Santa-Ramirez has taught for the Philadelphia Freedom Schools, Michigan State University, The University of Texas at Arlington, and Arizona State University.

Dr. Santa Ramirez's personal and professional experiences in higher education – and identity as a scholar-practitioner-activist – have played formative roles in the development of his research agenda, which centers the lives and knowledge of historically marginalized and economically neglected students. By employing critical and asset-based frameworks, his scholarship investigates campus racial climate, first-generation students' sense of belonging, college student activism and resistance, and the various ways race, ethnicity, and im/migration inform the educational experiences of collegians who are Latinx and undocu/DACAmented.

In addition to authoring a host of book chapters, some of his published peer-reviewed articles can be located in the Journal of First-generation Student Success, Journal of Diversity in Higher Education, International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education, Journal of Hispanic Higher Education, Journal of Underrepresented and Minority Progress, Multicultural Perspectives, ACPA Developments, and a forthcoming piece in the Journal of Negro Education.

In recent years, Dr. Santa Ramirez received the Legacy of Leadership honor from West Chester University, was selected as a Fellow for NASPA's Emerging Faculty Leadership Academy, the American Association of Hispanics in Higher Education (AAHHE), and New York University's Faculty First-Look. Furthermore, he is a recipient of the ACPA - College Student Educators International Latinx Network Community Advancement & Service Award. In spring 2022, he will be inducted as an ACPA Diamond Honoree, a prestigious honor for professionals who have made and continue to make a tremendous impact in the field of higher education and student affairs.

Education and Training:
  • PhD, Educational Policy and Evaluation, Arizona State University
  • MA, Student Affairs Administration, Michigan State University
  • BA, Communication Studies, West Chester University
  • Certificate - Penn Equity Institute, University of Pennsylvania, Center for the Study of Race & Equity in Education
  • Certificate - Socioeconomic Justice, Arizona State University, School of Social Transformation
  • Certificate - Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in the Workplace, University of South Florida, Muma College of Business
Awards and Honors:
  • Diamond Honoree (c/o 2022); ACPA - College Student Educators International; 2022-03-03;
  • NASPA’s Emerging Faculty Leadership Academy (EFLA); NASPA – Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education; 2021-02-01;
  • University of Michigan's Diversity Scholars Network; University of Michigan; 2020-09-30;
  • NYU Faculty First-Look Fellow/Visiting Affiliate; New York University; 2019-11-01;
  • Legacy of Leadership Honoree; West Chester University of PA; 2019-03-07;
Recent Publications:
Journal Article:
  • Santa-Ramirez, S. (2021). A historical snapshot of Latinx student activism from the 1960s – 1990s: A university archival analysis. Journal of Hispanic Higher Education, 1-14.
  • Santa-Ramirez, S. (2021). Hard work and heart work: First-generation Undocu/DACAmented collegians, cultural capital, and paying-it-forward. Journal of First-generation Student Success, 1(1), 32-48.
  • Santa-Ramirez, S. (2021). Sink or swim: The mentoring experiences of Latinx Ph.D. students with faculty of Color. Journal of Diversity in Higher Education. Advance online publication.
  • Santa-Ramirez, S., Wells, T., Sandoval, J., & Koro, M. (2020). Working through first-generation students of Color experiences, university mission, intersectionality, and post-subjectivity. International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education.
Book Chapter:
  • Muñoz, S. M., & Santa-Ramirez, S. (2021, forthcoming). Reimagining institutionalized support for undocumented and DACA college students: A critical approach. In R. Johnson, U. Anya, & L. Garces (Eds.), Racial Equity on College Campus: Connecting Research to Practice (forthcoming). SUNY Press.
Recent Presentations:
Invited Lectures:
  • Hall, K., Muñoz, S. M., Salazar, C., Santa-Ramirez, S., & Vigil, D. (November 2020). Moving Beyond Exclusionary Policies: Legal Violence and its Effect on Undocumented College Students. Invited Session Presentation at the Association for the Study of Higher Education (ASHE) Annual Conference.;
  • Santa-Ramirez, S. (April 2021). Intersectional Identities & Embracing Differences. Invited featured speaker for Jefferson University (Philadelphia University + Thomas Jefferson University) East Falls Campus Unity Week, Philadelphia, PA.;
  • Santa-Ramirez, S. (November 2020). Activism as a form of resistance: Undocu/DACAmented collegians resisting subordination in the Trump era. Research paper presentation at the Association for the Study of Higher Education (ASHE) Annual Conference.;
  • Santa-Ramirez, S., & Cho, K. S. (March 2021). The Support and Stifling of College Student Activism. Presention at the ACPA – College Student Educators International Annual Conference.;
  • Santa-Ramirez, S., & Demps, D. (September 2020). Scholar-Activist Identity: When Scholarship Meets Action. Presentation at the annual Latina/o Communities Conference, West Chester University, West Chester, PA.;
Recent Editorships:
  • Advisory Board; Journal of Critical Scholarship on Higher Education and Student Affairs
  • Associate Editor; Journal of Critical Scholarship on Higher Education and Student Affairs
  • Section Editor; Current Issues in Education Journal

Contact Information

482 Baldy Hall
North Campus
Phone: (716) 645-5236