Leading the Way

Altarriba, Medina are named Fellows in SUNY’s Hispanic Leadership Institute

Jeanette Altarriba and Alfredo Medina are in the inaugural class of Fellows at SUNY’s Hispanic Leadership Institute.

ALBANY, N.Y. (March 22, 2017) — UAlbany’s Jeanette Altarriba and Alfredo Medina are among the inaugural class of Fellows at SUNY’s Hispanic Leadership Institute (HLI), chosen for their potential to become top leaders at SUNY institutions.

"In New York, we know that diversity is our greatest asset and this groundbreaking program will ensure that the leadership at SUNY will reflect the strength of New York's diverse communities," Gov. Andrew Cuomo said. "This fellowship will give New York's future leaders the tools and training necessary to succeed and lead the SUNY system."

Altarriba and Medina are already prominent leaders at UAlbany. Altarriba is vice provost for Undergraduate Education, a professor of Psychology and a Collins Fellow. Medina is executive director of the Office for Public Engagement, working with faculty, staff and students to advance public engagement and outreach efforts.

“Diversifying leadership at the highest levels of the University at Albany is one of our top priorities, and we are proud and pleased that Jeanette Altarriba and Alfredo Medina are representing UAlbany as Hispanic Leadership Institute Fellows,” said UAlbany President Havidán Rodríguez. “Their proven dedication, abilities and promise make them exemplary members of HLI, and I look forward to seeing the great contributions they will continue to make in the future.”

There are 12 HLI fellows from across the state in this first class, which was honored earlier this month at the annual conference of SOMOS El Futuro, a nonprofit that works in collaboration with the New York State Legislature’s Puerto Rico/Hispanic Task Force to address the needs and concerns of the state’s Hispanic population.

Medina said working with the other fellows is one of the high points of the program. “In addition to planned leadership retreats and our monthly peer-led discussions, we interact regularly over Skype and an HLI Listserv to keep us engaged,” he said. “Continuous interaction is key since we are all busy.” In addition to his UAlbany position, Medina is pursuing a Ph.D through the School of Education’s Department of Educational Policy and Leadership.

The fellowship program began in January with a three-day leadership retreat through the SUNY SAIL Institute, which works to develop strategic and innovative leaders in higher education. Each fellow also works with two mentors – generally provosts and presidents at SUNY institutions – leads article review discussions and completes a research project. The program ends with another retreat in June.

“Some of our focus thus far has been on culture, diversity and inclusion issues in higher education, and what has been truly phenomenal has been the ability to have integrated discussions with newfound colleagues across the SUNY system on these issues,” Altarriba said. “My hope is not only to learn about issues and concerns facing higher education today, regionally, nationally, and internationally, but also to form lasting relationships with my SUNY colleagues who are pursuing new avenues for career and personal advancement. It’s been a very enlightening and stimulating journey so far.”

Medina noted that diversifying top leadership is important both to bring different viewpoints and cultures to the table, and to better reflect the growing Latino/a student body.

SUNY Chancellor Kristina M. Johnson sees the program as increasing role models for students. “There are mentors and there are role models. All individuals can be mentors, but role models are individuals that look like us - they make it possible for us to see ourselves in their role,” she said. “The Hispanic Leadership Institute is an example of SUNY's commitment to becoming the most inclusive university in the country by providing Latino role models at the highest levels of leadership."

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About the University at Albany
A comprehensive public research university, the University at Albany-SUNY offers more than 120 undergraduate majors and minors and 125 master's, doctoral, and graduate certificate programs. UAlbany is a leader among all New York State colleges and universities in such diverse fields as atmospheric and environmental sciencesbusiness, public health, health sciences, criminal justice, emergency preparedness, engineering and applied sciences, informatics, public administration, social welfare, and sociology taught by an extensive roster of faculty experts. It also offers expanded academic and research opportunities for students through an affiliation with Albany Law School. With a curriculum enhanced by 600 study-abroad opportunities, UAlbany launches great careers.