Alumna Mildred Garcia Named Chair of State Higher Education Association | Teachers College Columbia University

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Alumna Mildred Garcia Named Chair of State Higher Education Association

Mildred Garcia (M.A. 1985, Ed.D. 1987)
Mildred Garcia (M.A. 1985, Ed.D. 1987)

Mildred Garcia (M.A. 1985, Ed.D. 1987), president of California State University, Fullerton and an expert in equity, diversity and education policy, has been elected the next chair of the board at the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU), beginning her service in 2018.

AASCU is a Washington, D.C.-based association of nearly 420 public colleges, universities and systems whose members share a learning- and teaching-centered culture, a historic commitment to underserved student populations and a dedication to research and creativity that advances economic progress and cultural development in each of their regions.

In an email to TC, Garcia wrote:  “It is my honor and privilege to serve AASCU at this historical time. As we look to 2017 and 2018, we know we are entering unpredictable times. Now more than ever, our state colleges and universities must come together to grapple with new realities and unknown possibilities and challenges. I look forward to working collaboratively alongside our outstanding president, Dr. Muriel Howard, and my fellow presidential colleagues to confront these challenges with strength and tenacity.

“Our colleges and universities serve students from all walks of life, preparing them to succeed in a global society and become the engaged citizens our democratic society requires. I am confident that together, our work and leadership will ensure academic access and success for a new generation of diverse students.”

Garcia won TC’s Distinguished Alumni Award in 2015 for her career focus on equity and diversity for minorities in higher education.  According to an article in Diverse Issues in Higher Education, under Garcia’s leadership since 2012, CSU Fullerton has seen “a 24 percent improvement in six-year graduation rates and a significant drop in the achievement gap between underrepresented students and their campus peers. The institution is number one in California and fifth in the nation in awarding bachelor’s degrees to Hispanics, as well as fifth in the nation in graduating students of color.”

As chair of AASCU’s Board of directors, Garcia also becomes chair the Executive Steering Committee of the association’s Millennium Leadership Initiative (MLI), where she will also serve for a year as a mentor to a developing higher education executive leader. Mentors provide protégés with counsel and assistance to identify career development and leadership opportunities for them in higher education. Garcia also will chair the AASCU’s Committee on International Education and deliver the President-to-Presidents lecture at the AASCU Annual Meeting, a 30-year tradition and signal honor by the AASCU Board of Directors to one of their colleagues.

Garcia holds a Doctor of Education degree and an M.A. in Higher Education Administration from Teachers College. She also holds a master’s degree in Business Education and Higher Education from New York University, and a bachelor’s degree in Business Education from Bernard M. Baruch College in New York City. She began her higher education at New York City Community College, where she earned an associate degree.

Before assuming the leadership of CSU Fullerton, she was president of CSU-Dominguez Hills, and before that at Berkeley College in New York and New Jersey. She has served on President Obama's Advisory Commission on Educational Excellence of Hispanic Americans, and on the U.S. Committee on Measures of Student Success, which is charged with developing recommendations to improve student success at two-year degree-granting institutions.

Garcia has held several leadership positions at Arizona State University, where she was a tenured professor in the Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences and faculty liaison with the Hispanic Research Center on campus. She was affiliated with Montclair State University in Montclair, New Jersey from 1986 to 1996 and Hostos Community College of the City University of New York from 1979 to 1986.

Published Tuesday, Jan 3, 2017