California State University, Fullerton

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José L. Cruz Joins Cal State Fullerton

New Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs

Dec. 3, 2012

“I am passionate about expanding opportunity, fueling social mobility, and driving intergenerational advancement through the power of higher education,” said José L. Cruz, the new provost and vice president for academic affairs at Cal State Fullerton.

“I believe Cal State Fullerton can become a model in the nation’s quest to once again lead the world in educational attainment – by improving student success rates as the result of strengthening the quality of its academic programs and supporting the scholarly and creative work of its faculty and students.”

Cruz’s tenure begins today, Dec. 3.

“When President Garcia talks about her vision of the university being recognized as one of the premier, comprehensive universities in the country, I truly believe that it’s within our reach. It will require plenty of institutional will and collective action, of course, but that’s ultimately why I’m drawn to Fullerton – the magnitude of the challenge and the impact of the work.”

In his previous position as vice president for higher education policy and practice at The Education Trust — a national research and advocacy organization that promotes equity-minded educational policies and practice — he was responsible for all strategic and operational aspects of the Access to Success Initiative. One of the nation's largest voluntary efforts to increase student access and success, the initiative worked with 22 public higher education systems and 312 campuses serving 3.5 million students.

“Given my experience at Ed Trust, when I look at the scale of Cal State Fullerton, the demographics of the student body, the quality of the faculty and the mission of the university, I can’t help but see a university that is well-positioned to serve as a national model,” Cruz said. “Indeed, a study we produced at the Ed Trust revealed that this university is one of only five nationwide that meet fairly conservative criteria on accessibility, affordability, and student success metrics.”

Initially, Cruz will hold both formal and informal conversations with university administrators, deans, faculty members and students to discover their perspectives on institutional and programmatic challenges that are facing the university.

“Given their experience, I want to understand how they think the provost’s office can better serve the needs of the university and better contribute to our institutional objectives. After speaking with different groups, I hope to develop a clearer understanding of the current state of affairs as well as the aspirations of the university. I look forward to working with members of the university to help advance the institutional mission,” he said.

During his visits to the campus, Cruz has spoken to wide segments of the campus community.

“I detect a sense of pride in what Cal State Fullerton has accomplished as well as a sense of enthusiasm and opportunity for what lies ahead,” he said. “People seem engaged and optimistic.  Best case in point is the  outstanding level of participation in the development of the university’s strategic plan.”

Cruz also believes colleges and universities are increasingly going to be called upon to demonstrate how they can meet society’s needs.

“The cost of college, quality of learning, and success rates of students are major topics of discussion in Washington, D.C. and state legislatures throughout the country,” he said. “Many states are moving from enrollment-based to performance-based funding models and there’s plenty of evidence that the Federal government will follow suit.”

“These external pressures on higher ed institutions will exacerbate the need for national models – institutions that can clearly articulate their value to their local communities, their state, and our nation. I am confident that Cal State Fullerton will be one of them. ”

By: Valerie Orleans, 657-278-4540

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