MLFTC welcomes new associate dean of inclusion and community engagement

By

Meghan Krein

Cristóbal Rodríguez joins Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College as associate dean of equity, inclusion and community engagement. Rodriguez comes to us from Howard University where he held the position of director of graduate studies in the School of Education and associate professor of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies.

Born to immigrant parents from Mexico, Rodriguez grew up in the Borderlands of El Paso, Texas. “My family valued education more than anything else, along with hard-working ethics and sacrifice. They viewed it as a pathway to get ahead in life, para seguir adelante,” he says. 

Rodriguez earned his PhD in Educational Policy and Planning from The University of Texas at Austin. “I felt that no matter how hard students worked and sacrificed, educational systems were intentionally failing our communities with limited access and resources, biased conditions and policies, and more subtractive schooling than a culturally-responsive education. I knew policies and systems needed to improve,” says Rodriguez. 

“What really excites me about this position is to be aligned in philosophy with an institution focused on innovation and access, and to have an opportunity to collaborate, learn from and with, and serve with like-minded colleagues and staff is extraordinary,” Rodriguez says. 

Rodriguez’s works and collaborations have been published in the Journal of Latinos and Education, Harvard Journal of African American Policy, Journal of Hispanic Higher Education, Equity & Excellence in Education, Association of Mexican American Educators Journal and the International Journal for Qualitative Studies in Education. Recently, Rodriguez provided an expert report and testimony on achievement in New Mexico in the school finance case, Martinez v. New Mexico, in July 2018, and is now consulting in a similar case in Tennessee.

“Here at Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College, I don’t feel alone in the struggle to address the inequities and the oppressive nature of a problematic educational system like I did in the summer of 2005,” says Rodriguez. He’s referring to his time at New Mexico State University, as director of the Health Careers Opportunity Project, in which he was dealt the task of “notifying high school students that our program was defunded nationally and they were on their own."

“To be at a college and university with distinction in equity, inclusion and community engagement in this new role that allows me to lead, coordinate and advocate for such distinction,” Rodriguez says, “is humbling and the ultimate goal.”