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Women in Higher Education: 7 Deans Share Insights and Advice

University Leaders Reflect on Women’s History Month
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Dean Lisa Kirtman
Lisa Kirtman

College of Education
Dean Lisa Kirtman

Lisa Kirtman, professor of elementary and bilingual education, became the College of Education’s second dean in 2016. She has dedicated her career to providing just, equitable and inclusive education, closing the opportunity gap and training compassionate and culturally competent teachers. As dean, Kirtman has established and supported projects, collaborations and partnerships that advance teaching and learning. Kirtman has also created cross-divisional collaborations and assisted with fundraising efforts to support the college.

Kirtman previously served as the college’s associate dean, chair of the Department of Elementary and Bilingual Education and acting chair of the Department of Literacy and Reading Education. She also served as coordinator for the Multiple Subject Credential and Multiple Subject Intern programs, a member of the Academic Senate and on several university committees. Kirtman earned her doctorate in educational policy from UC Berkeley before joining Cal State Fullerton in 2000.

What does celebrating Women’s History Month mean to you?

As a Black woman, if you want to tell my story…tell my story of achievement and of success. I don’t want to focus on the struggles; those will always be there. It’s what we do in spite of them that matters most. I am a woman who was able to earn a Ph.D. from UC Berkeley, a woman who found her passion being an elementary school teacher and then dean of a college of education fighting for educational equity against all odds.

Tell the story of my mom who is my greatest role model and the strongest and kindest woman I know. She raised me and taught me what it means to be a strong Black woman. She worked hard every day to ensure that I would be successful.

Tell the story of my leadership team, which is made up of nine strong women who support me and help me to be successful. I hope they know that I support them.

I am successful because of the women around me who believe in me and support me. This is what it means to me to celebrate Women’s History Month.

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