- Laura Bohórquez Garcia, new director, AB540 and Undocumented Student Center
- Kirsten Stevenson, incoming senior campus counsel and special advisor to the vice provost of Academic Affairs
- Sheila O’Rourke, outgoing senior campus counsel and special advisor to the vice provost of Academic Affairs
Laura Bohórquez Garcia has been named the new director of the AB540 and Undocumented Student Center, starting June 1, according to an announcement from Mayra Llamas, executive director of Community Resource and Retention Centers.
Llamas said Bohórquez Garcia will take the lead, manage, supervise and implement services and programs that support the academic success and retention of undocumented students via the center.
Bohórquez Garcia describes herself as a proud Mexican immigrant, former first-generation student and current first-generation professional, whose awareness and approach to higher education, organizing and advocacy comes from the knowledge she acquired through her family’s work in various aspects of the apple and cherry industries in Washington.
She attended Western Washington University, earning a Bachelor of Arts degree in American cultural studies with a concentration in diversity in higher education; and Loyola University Chicago, receiving a Master of Education degree.
She co-founded and co-chaired the Undocumented Immigrant and Allies Knowledge Community within the National Association for Student Affairs in Higher Education, and served as the education equity coordinator at United We Dream, the first and largest immigrant youth-led network in the nation.
Kirsten Stevenson, who recently completed a temporary assignment as deputy chief human resources officer at UC Davis Health, has returned to her role as a senior campus counsel but with added responsibility as special advisor to the vice provost of Academic Affairs.
After seven months at the health system, she took up her new duties May 1, working alongside Sheila O’Rourke, who is retiring from the post at the end of June. O'Rourke and Stevenson will work together until then. Read more about O’Rourke below.
Stevenson joined the Office of the Campus Counsel in 2014 after having been a partner in a Columbus, Georgia, firm where she focused on labor and employment law. She practiced the same kind of law with firms in El Paso, Texas, and Los Angeles before going to Georgia. She is a member of the California, Texas and Georgia bars.
Since coming to UC Davis, she has established herself as a trusted legal advisor for leadership, with a broad practice over employment, contracts, real estate, construction and civil rights.
Besides her new assignment with Academic Affairs, Stevenson has resumed her role as lead counsel for UC Davis Health employment and labor issues and will also assist with UC Davis Health purchased service arrangements.
Sheila O’Rourke is retiring at the end of June after 25 years of service to UC, the last seven at UC Davis as senior campus counsel and special advisor to the vice provost of Academic Affairs.
“Sheila’s keen knowledge of academic personnel issues and her employment law background made her an especially vital resource to this work and to both units and UC Davis as a whole,” Academic Affairs Vice Provost Phil Kass, Assistant Vice Provost Binnie Singh and Chief Campus Counsel Michael F. Sweeney said in an announcement.
O’Rourke’s UC career has included appointments as academic compliance officer at Berkeley, associate vice provost at the Office of the President and assistant provost at Berkeley. Concurrent with these appointments, she served for 15 years as the director of the UC President’s Postdoctoral Fellowship Program. She taught a freshman seminar on Civil Rights Law in Higher Education through the Graduate School of Education at Berkeley for 10 years.
In 2012, she received the Individual Leadership Award from the National Association of Diversity Officers in Higher Education for her work on developing programs, policies and practices to eliminate barriers that prevent the full participation of minority and women faculty in higher education.
Prior to joining UC, O’Rourke worked as a supervising civil rights attorney for the Office for Civil Rights, U.S. Department of Education, and as a teaching fellow at Stanford Law School. She is a graduate of Stanford University and Berkeley Law.
She joined UC Davis in 2013, and, said Sweeney, has distinguished herself on issues of academic personnel, civil rights, and diversity, equity and inclusion.
“Sheila will be remembered for her wisdom and straight talk, and the significant impact she had on the campus,” Sweeney said. “The national attention UC Davis has garnered for implementing practices that prevent hiring faculty with previously substantiated academic misconduct, including sexual harassment, is largely due to her leadership on this important topical issue.”