Chris Esparza serves as the Director of Diversity, Inclusion, and Leadership Development here at the School of Law. He joined the Oregon Law team in September 2018, however he’s been on the University of Oregon campus since 2006. In this new role, Chris is helping lead the law school’s collaborative effort to develop, implement, and support programs and services that promote inclusive leadership, community and belonging, and discussions of equity and justice within and outside the classroom. In addition, Chris will help advise and support students from groups historically underrepresented in law school and in the legal profession, provide training and support initiatives for the law school community, and co-advise the Frohnmayer Leadership Program.
Chris received his Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Stanford University, and his Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology from the University of California Santa Barbara. In addition, his 3 years of doctoral studies focused on multicultural counseling, the collegiate experience of first-generation college students, and advanced facilitation of group dialogues. Prior to joining Oregon Law, Chris served as the Associate Director for the UO’s Holden Center for Leadership & Community Engagement and 3 years as Staff-in-Residence with the UO’s Center on Diversity and Community.
Outside of the University of Oregon, Chris also serves as a Lead Facilitator for LeaderShape Inc., a nonprofit organization dedicated to creating a just, caring, thriving world through structured leadership development programs. In this role, Chris has facilitated both one- and six-day leadership programs at over 15 universities across the country (plus 2 internationally). His facilitation often infuses his outside interest in improvisation—exploring ways to infuse the principles of improvisation into leadership learning (e.g. trust, adaptability, group cohesion, listening and communication, creativity, storytelling). Among the many joys his work brings, he particularly enjoys conversations with students, peers, and colleagues that focus on ways we each can contribute to co-creating a better world together.
Running is one of Chris’s most unexpected hobbies, completing many marathons and half-marathons over the last 15+ years. As if running itself wasn’t enough—one of those marathons was run in a full-body banana suit, and the most recent one included pushing a 32-pound speaker in a baby jogger that blared 4.5 hours of upbeat, dance music! Additionally, he’s had the opportunity to perform as a dancing camel down Disneyland’s Main Street… play a mute in an opera… learn to twist balloon animals… and drive a real fire truck. But, no matter the context or occasion, Chris is constantly striving to embody his core values: wisdom, compassion, and play. His personal vision for the world is one in which we meaningfully, positively and powerfully co-create better ways of relating with each other—a world where we influence each other in positive ways and cultivate inclusivity, equity, generosity, curiosity, trust, and exploration as antidotes to fear and uncertainty.