Barrera, Magdalena L.

Barrera, Magdalena L.




Preferred: (408) 924-2405


  • Doctor of Philosophy, Modern Thought and Literature, Stanford University, 2006
  • Bachelor of Arts, English (with Honors) and Latin American Studies, University of Chicago, 1997


Dr. Magdalena L. Barrera is the inaugural Vice Provost for Faculty Success at San José State University (SJSU). In this role, she oversees all aspects of the faculty recruitment and the tenure and promotion processes, and is committed to recruiting and retaining diverse faculty who bring asset-minded pedagogies to the classroom. Dr. Barrera also heads SJSU's Accessible Technology Initiative and Hispanic Serving Institution initiatives.
Prior to joining the Office of the Provost in 2020, she was Professor and Department Chair of Chicana and Chicano Studies. As a faculty member, she taught Chicanx history, literature, film, comparative Ethnic Studies, public speaking, and more. During that time, she also served for two years as the Faculty-in-Residence for Diversifying the Faculty in SJSU’s Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, and a year as a Faculty Fellow at the Chicanx/Latinx Student Success Center.
Dr. Barrera’s current research focuses on the experiences of historically underserved students and faculty in higher education; her work has appeared in a wide range of journals, edited collections, and higher education news outlets. She is the co-author of The Latinx Guide to Graduate School (Duke University Press, 2023), a book that exposes the unspoken rules and expectations of grad school so that students can merge their academic and cultural identities—finding success not simply to play the game, but to transform institutions and widen the path for those who follow.
Dr. Barrera is the granddaughter of Mexican immigrants and first in her family to pursue post-secondary degrees. She holds a B.A. in English and Latin American Studies from the University of Chicago and a Ph.D. in Modern Thought and Literature from Stanford University. She is honored to have been a Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellow (1996-97) and an Institute for Citizens and Scholars Career Enhancement Fellow (2011-2012). An avid photographer, lifelong bookworm, and dog lover, she enjoys traveling the world with her husband, most recently visiting France, Morocco, and Bali.