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Ishara Casellas Connors

Professional Experience


Texas A&M University

Assistant Professor (2021 - present)

Bush School of Government and Public Service

Department of Public Service & Administration

Affiliated Faculty, Latino/a and Mexican American Studies


Assistant Dean for Diversity & Climate (2018-2021)

College of Geosciences


Tufts University

Associate Director (2015 - 2018)

Institute for Democracy & Higher Education


Boston College, Lynch School of Education

Ph.D. Higher Education, 2020 

Dissertation: Examining Racial Discourse in Diversity Policies at Hispanic Serving Institutions

Committee: Ana M. Martínez Alemán (Chair), Andrés Castro Samayoa, Gabrielle Oliveira


Columbia University, Teachers College

M.A. Higher and Postsecondary Education, 2011


Clark University

B.A Business Management, 2006


Casellas Connors, I.  (2023). Racial Diversity in the Geosciences: Engaging Community Cultural Wealth for Success. 29 (2). Journal of Women and Minorities in Science and Engineering.


Casellas Connors, I. (2022). Examining racial discourse in equity reports: Florida’s public Hispanic serving institutions. Education Policy Analysis Archives, 30, (29).


Unangst, L., Casellas Connors, I., & Barone, N. (2022). State-Based Policy Supports for Refugee, Asylee, and TPS-Background Students in US Higher Education. Refuge: Canada’s Journal on Refugees, 38(1), 95–110.


Casellas Connors, I., & McCoy, H. (2022). Performing Anti-racism: Universities Respond to Anti-Black Violence. Race and Justice, 12(3), 588–613.


Unangst, L., Borg, N., Casellas Connors, I., & Barone, N. (2022). Diversities at US colleges and universities: Online diversity statements at institutions employing chief diversity officers. Journal of Higher Education Policy and Leadership Studies, 3(3), 16-36. DOI:


Casellas Connors, I. (2021). Constructing a monolith: State policy, institutional DEI plans, and the flattening of Latinx identity at Hispanic-serving institutions. AERA Open.


Arnold, K. D., & Casellas Connors, I. (2021). The ‘anti-Instagram’: Using visual methods to study the college experiences of underrepresented students. Visual Studies, 1-19.https://10.1080/1472586X.2021.1893612


Casellas Connors, I. Unangst, L., Barone, N. (in progress). Supporting

displaced students: A Comparative Analysis of Institutional Supports. Revise 

and Resubmit with Minor Revision December 2022.


Casellas Connors, I. (under review).  Racial Equity in System-Level DEI Policy: The Implications for HSIs.


Casellas Connors, I. & Gonlin, V. (under review) Complicating Latinx Experience: Afro-Latinx Students’ Perceptions of Campus Climate and Sense of Belonging


2022 Casellas Connors, I. (PI), Unangst, L. Evans, K. (Co-PIs). Cultivating Refugee Access to Higher Education Across Maryland, District of Columbia, and Virginia. W.T. Grant Foundation $49,992.


2022 Evans, K (PI), Casellas Connors, I., Unangst, L. (Co-PIs). Access to Higher Education for Refugees in the MD/VA/DC area. University of Maryland, Office of Translational Research. $35,000. 


2022 Casellas Connors, I. (PI), Wanzer Serrano, D. Discourse Tracing of Emerging Hispanic-Serving Institutions in the University of Texas System. Race and Ethnic Studies Institute, Texas A&M University.  $9,960.   


2022 Quick, C. (PI), Casellas Connors, I, Salazar, C. (Co-PIs). HSI-HUB: Propagating Research- Intensive Communities Centering Servingness. National Science Foundation. 2.95 Million (Pending).

2021 Taylor, L.L.(PI), Casellas Connors, I. (Co-PI). Examining shifting enrollment across Texas community colleges: Administrative perspective navigating enrollment declines. Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board. $480,000 ($12,000 for Co-PI). 

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