Erica Yamamura, PhD

PhD, Education (Higher Education and Organizational Change), University of California, Los Angeles
MA, Education (Higher Education and Organizational Change), University of California, Los Angeles
BA, Political Science and Asian American Studies, University of California, Los Angeles

Program Director, Student Development Administration (SDAD)
Associate Professor, Student Development Administration (SDAD)

Phone: (206) 296-2105

Building/Room: Loyola 408


Erica K. Yamamura is an associate professor and the MA coordinator in the Student Development Administration program. She is passionate about helping students realize their educational potential by uncovering their community cultural wealth and working to dismantle levers of inequality.

Her research is centered on the nexus of diversity and equity in P-20 education, specifically in the areas of college access, university-community partnerships, college student development, and retention for historically underrepresented communities (African American, Latinx, Native American, Southeast Asian, 1st generation, low income, urban, and immigrant students). Within these areas, and in collaboration with university and community partners, she examines opportunity structures, programs, and student, faculty, administrative, and community members’ experiences to illuminate promising practices to advance equity and diversity. To date, she has partnered with a number of on-campus partners (Division of Student Development, Center for Community Engagement, and the Learning Assistance Programs), open-access institutions in the region (Bellevue College, Cascadia College, South Seattle College, and North Seattle College), K-12 (Seattle Public Schools, Middle College High School), and college access organizations (Rainier Scholars). 

Prior to her arrival at Seattle University, she served as an assistant professor in the Educational Leadership program at Texas State University. At Texas State she taught courses in participatory action research, community engagement, and social foundations. She collaborated on research and provided professional development with a variety of community partners: the Texas State Division of Student Affairs, Greater Austin Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, the Leander Independent School District, and a number of organizations in the Rio Grande Valley border region. Immediately following her graduate studies, she served as a postdoctoral Scholar-in Residence at Carleton College. 

Before becoming a professor, she spent over a decade cultivating community partnerships to advance educational equity and diversity in P-20 educational settings (Mentor Programs, Non-Profit, and University/Community Partnerships) and in student affairs (Residential Life, College Access, and Educational Internships). In addition, Dr. Yamamura has extensive research experience utilizing quantitative, qualitative, and participatory methodologies, including serving as a Research Assistant at the UCLA Higher Education Research Institute and working with university and non-profit partners on assessment and program evaluation. 

She earned a BA in Political Science and Asian American Studies, and an MA and a PhD in Education (Higher Education and Organizational Change) all from UCLA. As a doctoral student she was a Spencer Foundation Fellow and received the UCLA Faculty Award for her leadership in the HEOC program. Dr. Yamamura is a proud product of California’s public education system, having attended K-12 schools in the Los Angeles Unified School District and postsecondary education in the University of California system. 

Born and raised in Los Angeles, Dr. Yamamura has an affinity for exploring ethnic cuisines. She currently enjoys exploring the wealth of Southeast Asian restaurants in the greater Seattle area and welcomes suggestions for tasty local taquerias. 

Selected Publications

Guerra, P., Nelson, S., Jacobs, J., & Yamamura, E. (2013). Developing educational leaders of social justice: Programmatic elements that work or need improvement. Education Research and Perspectives Journal, 40, 124-149.

Jacobs, J., Yamamura, E.K., Guerra, P., & Nelson, S. (2013). Emerging leaders for social justice: Negotiating the journey through action research. Journal of School Leadership, 23(1), 91-121.

Larrotta, C., & Yamamura, E.K. (2011). Meaningful parent engagement in schools: A case study of Latina/o parent empowerment. Adult Basic Education and Literacy Journal, 5(2), 74-83.

Yamamura, E.K., Martinez, M., & Saenz, V.B. (2010). Moving beyond high school expectations: Examining stakeholders’ responsibility for increasing Latina/o students’ college readiness. The High School Journal, 93(3), 126-148.