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Voices from the Field

President Rodríguez Offers His Expertise on Diversity in Higher Education Leadership Positions

President Rodríguez speaks to an incoming UAlbany freshmen tour group. (Photo by Carlo de Jesus)

ALBANY, N.Y. (Jan. 30, 2018) – Although UAlbany was recently highlighted as a national model for inclusive education, minority students, faculty and staff continue to be underrepresented at a large number of college campuses. That includes high-level administrative positions.

President Havidán Rodríguez, a native of Arecibo, Puerto Rico, offered his perspective and experiences related to this issue in the American Economic Association (AEA)’s winter 2018 newsletter titled “The Minority Report.”

He's one of three higher education administrators featured in its “Voices from the Field” section.

Diversity is important in academic leadership, Rodríguez said, “because we live in global and very diverse communities, and colleges and universities must reflect this diversity at all levels, and especially in senior administrative positions.”

He continued: “Diversity enhances the worldview of our institutions. It provides different experiences and perspectives, new ideas and new ways of thinking that help us transform our institutions to better serve our students, our adjacent communities, and society in general. In my view, diversity and excellence go hand in hand and are mutually reinforcing.”

Rodríguez joined UAlbany with more than 25 years of experience as a leader in higher education. He was the founding provost and executive vice president academic affairs at The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV). His leadership was instrumental in creating UTRGV, a public research university founded in 2013.

In the newsletter, Rodríguez acknowledges his path to UAlbany has been “a long, interesting, challenging, but tremendously rewarding journey.” His proudest achievement is watching students succeed.

“My proudest achievement takes place at every commencement ceremony when we see the students who have worked so hard, have made so many sacrifices, and have struggled, but they achieved one of their goals, obtaining a college degree,” Rodríguez said.

Other featured administrators included Adela de la Torre, vice chancellor for student affairs and campus diversity at the University of California Davis and Cecilia Rouse, dean of the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Princeton University.

“The Minority Report” is a compilation of news from the AEA’s Committee on the Status of Minority Groups in the Economic Profession, the National Economic Association and the American Society of Hispanic Economists.

You can read the winter 2018 edition here (President Rodríguez is featured on page 13).

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