Liliana M. Garces is the W.K. Kellogg Professor in Community College Leadership at the University of Texas at Austin. She also holds courtesy appointments at the University of Texas School of Law and the Center for Mexican American Studies. She teaches courses on higher education law, equity and diversity in higher education, and race, law, and education. Her scholarship broadly examines how legal and education systems shape educational opportunity and create inequality for historically marginalized student populations. Her interdisciplinary work is grounded in the conceptual understanding that legal and education systems interact dynamically through the actions of organizational actors that initiate lawsuits, influence legal decision-making, and interpret and implement legal rulings within educational contexts. These actions shape education policies and practices to exacerbate or reduce social inequality. Drawing from frameworks in socio-legal studies, sociology, education, law, and political science, she employs quantitative, qualitative, and legal research methods to investigate this dynamic. Her research has been funded by the Spencer Foundation, the William T. Grant Foundation, the Ford Foundation, and the W.E. Upjohn Institute.
Dr. Garces's scholarship has been published in a variety of top peer-reviewed education journals, including Educational Researcher, American Educational Research Journal, American Journal of Education, Journal of Higher Education, Educational Policy, Teachers College Record, Peabody Journal of Education, The Review of Higher Education, and Urban Review, as well as law journals, policy reports, and books. She is co-editor of Racial Equity on College Campuses: Connecting Research and Practice (SUNY Press, 2022), School Integration Matters: Research-Based Strategies to Advance Racial Equity (Teachers College Press, 2016), and Affirmative Action and Racial Equity: Considering the Fisher Case to Forge the Path Ahead (Routledge, 2015). She is on the editorial boards for Educational Researcher, Sociology of Education, and American Educational Research Journal. She is an active member of national organizations focused on education issues.
Over the years, Dr. Garces's work has been featured in National Public Radio, The New York Times, Chronicle of Higher Education, Inside Higher Ed., and other media outlets, and at various invited briefings at the National Press Club in Washington, DC. Her research has been recognized by the American Education Research Association with the Palmer O. Johnson Memorial Award for an article of outstanding importance to education research in 2013 and by the Association for the Study of Higher Education with the 2015 Early Career Award and with the 2020 Excellence in Public Policy Higher Education Award.
Combining her expertise in law and education, Dr. Garces has represented the education community in the filing of legal briefs in U.S. Supreme Court cases that have played consequential roles in interpreting law around race-conscious policies in education. She served as counsel of record and co-wrote, with leading scholars in the field, amicus briefs joined by hundreds of social scientists in the following cases: Parents Involved in Community Schools v. Seattle School District (2007) (553 signatories); Fisher v. University of Texas I (2013) (444 signatories); Fisher v. University of Texas II (2016) (823 signatories); and Schuette v. Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action (2014) (filed by The Civil Rights Project/Projecto Derechos Civiles at the University of California, Los Angeles). Most recently, she served as counsel and co-authored an amicus brief filed by 1,241 social scientists in support of Harvards defense of its race-conscious admissions policies in Students for Fair Admissions v. Harvard.
Prior appointments before the University of Texas at Austin include: Associate Professor at The Pennsylvania State University, where she co-directed and co-founded the Center for Education and Civil Rights; Assistant Professor at The George Washington University Graduate School of Education and Human Development; and Post-Doctorate Fellow at the University of Michigan's National Poverty Center in the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy. Prior to becoming faculty, she worked as a staff attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union Foundation and the Legal Aid Society in DC, and as a judicial law clerk in federal district court. Dr. Garces holds a doctorate in education from Harvard University, a juris doctor from the University of Southern California School of Law, and a bachelor of arts from Brown University.
Ed.D., Harvard University
Ed.M., Harvard University
J.D., University of Southern California School of Law
B.A., Brown University
Expertise on the intersection of law and educational policies and practices focused on access, diversity, and equity in higher education, including affirmative action, freedom of expression and inclusion, and the use and influence of research in law.
Editorial Board Member, Sociology of Education(2020 - Present)
Member, Equity Review Process Consultative Committee, University of Texas at Austin(2020 - Present)
Associate Editor, The Journal of Higher Education(2018 - 2022)
At Large Board Member, Association for the Study of Higher Education (ASHE), (2018 - 2020)
Member, Palmer O. Johnson Memorial Award Committee, AERA, (2018 - 2020)
Member at Large, Council for Racial and Ethnic Equity and Diversity, The University of Texas at Austin(2018 - 2020)
Editorial Board Member, Educational Researcher(2017 - Present)
Editorial Board Member, AERA Open(2017 - 2019)
Editorial Board Member, The Journal of Higher Education(2016 - 2018)
Editorial Board Member, Curriculum Inquiry(2014 - 2019)
Editorial Board Member, The Review of Higher Education(2012 - 2020)
Member, Association for the Study of Higher Education(2008 - Present)
Member, American Educational Research Association(2006 - Present)
Garces, L. M., Ambriz, E. & Pedota, J. (2022). Legal Challenges to Bias Response Teams on College Campuses. Educational Researcher. https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.3102/0013189X221088307. doi:https://doi.org/10.3102/0013189X221088307.
Garces, L. M., Johnson, B., Ambriz, E. & Bradley, D. (2021). Repressive legalism: Understanding how university administrators' responses to hateful incidents on campus relate to inclusion policy. American Educational Research Journal. doi:https://doi.org/10.3102/00028312211027586.
Garces, L. M., Hinga, B. & Rios-Aguilar, C. (2021). Boundary crossing between academia and law: Understanding researchers participation in legal cases pertaining to educational equity. Journal of Higher Education. doi:https://doi.org/10.1080/00221546.2020.1860648.
Garces, L. M. (2020). The false notion of race-neutrality: How legal battles in higher education undermine racial equity. Change: The Magazine of Higher Learning, 51–55. (View)
Poon, O., Garces, L. M., Wong, J., Segoshi, M., Silver, D. & Harrington, S. (2019). Confronting misinformation through social science research: SFFA v. Harvard. Asian American Law Journal.
Garces, L. M. & Bilyalov, D. (2019). Navigating the quicksand: How postsecondary administrators understand the influence of affirmative action developments on racial diversity work. Teachers College Record.
Marin, P., Yun, J., Garces, L. M. & Horn, C. L. (2019). Bridging divides: Understanding knowledge producers perspectives on the use of research in law. Journal of Higher Education.
Garces, L. M., Marin, P. & Horn, C. L. (2019). Arguing admissions: Examining Amicis use of extra-legal sources in Fisher. Journal of Diversity in Higher Education..
Jayakumar, U. M., Garces, L. M. & Park, J. (2018). Reclaiming diversity: Advancing the next generation of diversity research toward racial equity. Handbook of Theory and Research.
Garces, L. M., Marin, P. & Horn, C. L. (2018). The U.S. Supreme Courts use of non-legal sources and amicus curiae briefs in Fisher v. University of Texas. Journal of College and University Law.
Marin, P., Horn, C. L., Miksch, K., Garces, L. M. & Yun, J. (2018). Use of extra-legal sources in amicus curiae briefs submitted in Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin. Education Policy Analysis Archives.
Horn, C. L., Marin, P., Garces, L. M., Miksch, K. & Yun, J. (2018). Shaping educational policy through the courts: The use of social science research in amicus briefs. Educational Policy.
Mickey-Pabello, M. & Garces, L. M. (2018). Addressing racial health inequities: Understanding the impact of affirmative action bans on applications and admissions in medical schools. American Journal of Education.
Lewis, M., Garces, L. M. & Frankenberg, E. (2018). A comprehensive and practical approach to policy guidance: The Office for Civil Rights role in education during the Obama Administration. Educational Researcher.
Garces, L. M., Ishimaru, A. & Takahashi, S. (2017). Introduction to beyond interest convergence: Envisioning transformation for racial equity in education. Peabody Journal of Education.
Garces, L. M. & Gordon da Cruz, C. (2017). A strategic racial equity framework. Peabody Journal of Education.
Garces, L. M. (2016). Lessons from social science for Kennedys doctrinal inquiry in Fisher v. University of Texas II. UCLA Law Review Discourse.
Frankenberg, E., Garces, L. M. & Hopkins, M. (2016). Advancing Integration for Equity Across the Educational Pipeline. New York, NY: Teachers College Press.
Garces, L. M. (2015). Balancing liberty and equality: Justice Kennedys decisive vote in Fisher v. University of Texas, Part II. Educational Researcher.
Garces, L. M. (2015). The University of Texas at Austins defense of affirmative action in Fisher v. University of Texas: Lessons for institutional policies and practices. Association of Mexican American Educators Journal.
Garces, L. M. & Cogburn, C. D. (2015). Beyond declines in student body diversity: How campus-level administrators understand a prohibition on race-conscious postsecondary admissions policies. American Educational Research Journal.
Garces, L. M. & Mickey-Pabello, D. (2015). Racial diversity in the medical profession: The impact of affirmative action bans on underrepresented student of color matriculation in medical schools. The Journal of Higher Education.
Jayakumar, U. M., Garces, L. M. & Fernandez, F. (2015). Affirmative Action and Racial Equity: Considering the Evidence in Fisher to Forge the Path Ahead. New York, NY: Routledge Taylor & Francis Group.
Garces, L. M. (2014). Aligning diversity, quality, and equity: The implications of legal and public policy developments for promoting racial diversity in graduate studies. American Journal of Education.
Garces, L. M. & Jayakumar, U. M. (2014). Dynamic diversity: Toward a contextual understanding of critical mass. Educational Researcher.
Garces, L. M. (2013). Understanding the impact of affirmative action bans in different graduate fields of study. American Educational Research Journal.
Garces, L. M. (2013). Reflections on a collaboration: Communicating education research in Fisher. Educational Researcher.
Garces, L. M. (2013). Social science research and the courts: Considering post-Grutter v. Bollinger developments in higher education cases. Educational Policy.
Garces, L. M. (2012). Racial diversity, legitimacy and the citizenry: The impact of affirmative action bans on graduate school enrollment. Review of Higher Education.
Garces, L. M.. (2012). Necessary but not sufficient: The impact of Grutter v. Bollinger on student of color enrollment in graduate and professional schools in Texas. Journal of Higher Education.
Frankenberg, E. & Garces, L. M.. (2008). The use of social science evidence in Parents Involved and Meredith: Implications for researchers and schools. University of Louisville Law Review.
Orfield, G., Frankenberg, E. & Garces, L. M. (2008). Statement of American social scientists of research on school desegregation to the U.S. Supreme Court in Parents v. Seattle School District and Meredith v. Jefferson County. The Urban Review.
Garces, L. M. (1998). Evolving notions of membership: The significance of communal ties in alienage jurisprudence. Southern California Law Review.
Envisioning Racial Equity on College Campuses: Bridging Research-to-Practice Gaps for Institutional Transformation
Funded by Spencer Foundation, Co-Investigator with Royel Johnson (lead PI) and Uju Anya.
Balancing Free Speech and Inclusion in a Racially Divided Climate: How Postsecondary Institutional Responses to Hate Speech Are Shaping Equity and Inclusion Policy
Funded by the Spencer Foundation
Amici and the Courts: A Case Study of the Research Use Process of Intermediary Actors
Funded by William T. Grant Foundation, Co-Investigator with Patricia Marin (lead PI), Catherine Horn, and Karen Miksch.
Excellence in Public Policy Higher Education Award, Association for the Study of Higher Education, Council on Public Policy in Higher Education (2020 - 2020)
TIAA Institute Fellow, TIAA Institute Fellows Program (2018)
Public Voices Thought Leadership Fellowship, The Op-Ed Project (2018 - 2019)
Promising Scholar/Early Career Award, Association for the Study of Higher Education (2015 - 2015)
Palmer O. Johnson Memorial Award, American Educational Research Association (2014 - 2014)
Young Academic Fellows Program, Institute for Higher Education Policy and the Lumina Foundation (2011 - 2013)
Dissertation Fellowship, Spencer Foundation (2010 - 2011)
Inspirational Alumnus Award, University of Southern California School of Law (2004 - 2004)
Georgetown Womens Law & Public Policy Fellow, Georgetown University Law Center (1998 - 1999)
Outstanding Woman Law Graduate, University of Southern California School of Law (1998 - 1998)
Let's Create a Level Playing Field, Think About It with Uli Baer (Podcast), https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XXODBO8-wPc (2019)
Navigating the Quicksand: How Postsecondary Administrators Understand the Influence of Affirmative Action Developments on Racial Diversity Work, Ed Talk Series, University of Texas at Austin, https://txedmag.com/ed-talk-liliana-garces/ (2018)
Affirmative Action in the U.S.: Historical Beginnings and Recent Developments, Technical University of Dortmund, Germany, Dortmund, Germany (2017)
Noor Khalayleh, Ph.D., expected 2026 (Supervisor)
Lesley Hernandez Silva, Ph.D., expected 2025 (Supervisor)
Community Cultural Wealth, Equity & Access for Latino/a/x College Students, Latino/a/x Student Success, Asset Based Approaches to Latino/a/x Experiences in Higher Education
Jackie Pedota, Ph.D., expected 2024 (Supervisor)
Racial Equity across the P-20 pipeline, Institutionalization of Diversity Initiatives, Student Activism, University Counterspaces, Campus Cultural/Identity Centers, Oral History, Participatory Action Research
Evelyn Ambriz (Supervisor)
Social Reproduction, Race, Equity, Diversity, Higher Education
Sarah Simi Cohen (Supervisor)
|2023||Spring||ELP 395K: 5-Equity Diversity Higher Edu|
|2022||Fall||ELP 395C: Capstone: Adv Iss Higher Ed|
|2021||Fall||ELP 395C: Capstone: Adv Iss Higher Ed|
|2021||Spring||ELP 395K: 5-Equity Diversity Higher Edu|
|2019||Fall||ELP 395K: 5-Equity Diversity Higher Edu|
|2019||Spring||ELP 395L: Higher Education Law|
|2018||Fall||ELP 395L: Higher Education Law|
|2018||Spring||EDA 391T: Higher Education Law-Phd|
|2017||Fall||EDA 391K: 17-Equity/Access In Higher Ed|