Dr. Brian Arao

Educator | Diversity and Equity Strategist | Coach | Executive Advisor | Amateur Plant-Based Chef | Powerlifting Yogi | Professional Comic Book Geek

Dr. Brian Arao (he/him/his) is an innovative and passionate educator who excels at helping others grow more fully into their potential. Brian has pursued this calling for more than 20 years in the field of student affairs in higher education, with experience in residential education, student conduct, student activities, student government, basic needs programs, non-clinical case management, advising student-run organizations, and social justice education. He currently serves as the Associate Dean of Students & Chief of Staff at UC Santa Cruz (UCSC). He also consults privately as a diversity and equity strategist, educator, and coach for colleges, universities, and both nonprofit and for-profit organizations.

Brian was drawn to coaching as an inherently anti-deficit approach to facilitating deep, transformative, and empowering learning. As a coach, he does not counsel or provide advice, but instead partners with clients to recognize and better understand the wisdom they possess, use it to identify what matters most to them, and create concrete plans for actualizing their goals.

Brian is a Professional Certified Diversity Coach with the CoachDiversity Institute and a member of the International Coaching Federation. He also earned a bachelor’s degree in biology from UC Santa Cruz, a Master’s in higher education and student affairs administration from the University of Vermont, and a doctorate in international and multicultural education with an emphasis in human rights education from the University of San Francisco. Brian resides in Santa Cruz with his husband Jimmy, their cats Spike and Drusilla, and their dogs Paloma and Rio.