President José Luis Cruz delivered a presentation in the Lovinger Theatre last Monday describing the power of intentionality in driving improvements in student success. As he noted in his Convocation address on September 21, one of Lehman College’s main priorities this year will be to redouble efforts to increase graduation rates, narrow achievement gaps, and reduce the time it takes our students to graduate.
“In all my years in higher education I’ve learned that it’s all about intentionality,” he said. “It’s about focus, commitment, and drive. It’s less about the practices; and more about the practitioners.”
Wearing a headset, jeans, and button-down shirt, President Cruz talked the crowd through a series of slides highlighting the importance of using actionable data to engage and mobilize campus communities to accelerate progress in student success. (Watch the video here.)
President Cruz illustrated his talk with case studies and examples from his varied experiences as a faculty member, department chair, dean of academic affairs, and Vice President of Student Affairs at the University of Puerto Rico; as Vice President at The Education Trust, a Washington D.C.-based advocacy and research organization; and as Provost at California State University, Fullerton. All of his experiences have taught him, he noted, that substantive and effective change is not about the “disruptive innovation” that some policymakers advocate—but rather about the sum of many well choreographed incremental improvements in campus programs and services.
“The quality of execution trumps the boldness of student success reform efforts,” he said.
“It’s important to remember that behind every data point in a presentation is a human being,” said Dr. Harriet Fayne, the Interim Provost of the College, “and President Cruz knows that. He completely understands that improving numbers at our College means improving the lives of our students. And that’s the most important thing.”