Anna Gonzalez is the dean of students at Lewis & Clark. In her first year in the position, she lived in an undergraduate residence hall, evaluating which programs worked and which didn’t. She helped students develop their own definitions of leadership. “It’s reflected in the number of student-led organizations we have,” she said. “They have advisors but it’s clear that students make the decisions.”
Unlike many administrators who end up in student affairs by accident, Gonzalez chose to pursue the field as a sophomore at Loyola Marymont. Her focus on social justice in student life stems from the school’s motto, “Men and women for others.” While earning her BA in international business, she served as a student senator, resident advisor, and coordinator for the Special Olympics. She questioned the ethics of multinational corporations and showed less interest in world finance and accounting than in student activities. She told Loyola’s dean of students, “I want to do what you do.”
Gonzalez went on to earn a MA in higher education and a PhD in higher education administration from Claremont Graduate University. From 2008 to 2012, she served as associate vice chancellor for student affairs at the University of Illinois. In her 17 years in student affairs, she has led student life functions at the University of California at Irvine and directed student and residential life functions for three semester-at-sea programs for the University of Virginia and University of Pittsburgh.
In November 2013, Gonzalez and Lewis & Clark graduate school dean Scott Fletcher began designing an MA in Student Affairs Administration program. Their curriculum differs from the “customer-service” approach taught at many universities, where success is measured by the number of students who attend events. “It’s not about how many people go,” Gonzalez said. “It’s about transformative moments.” The program’s distinctive mark is its emphasis on social justice.
When the program debuts in 2014, Gonzalez will offer classes in student affairs and student development. Her last teaching experience was at UC Irvine, where she taught three classes each year in African-American studies. She anchors the readings she assigns in students’ life experiences, and encourages students to lead discussion and ask questions.
Learning is a shared and collective process. This type of participatory learning can occur when students and teachers are reflective about who they are in relation to others, and that it is important to understand social inequities and how higher education and student affairs practitioners can play a role in dismantling systematic oppression in order to create socially just learning environments.
Areas of Expertise
Policy Development and Implementation; Strategic Planning; Diversity Education; Conflict Mediation and Crisis Intervention; Student Organization Advising; Campus-wide Program Development; Recruitment, Selection, and Supervision; Personal and Career Choice Counseling; Curriculum Development; Student Conduct; Budget and Resource Management; Fundraising and Parent & Alumni Development
- National Association of Student Personnel Administrators
- Fiscal Planning from the Perspective of a Mid-Level Administrator March 2010
- Views of Women and Leadership in Student Affairs: The Generations Speak March 2009
- Nourishing Partnerships for the Successful Retention of a Diverse Student Body March 2009
- “How to be a Campus Change Agent” March 2008
- “From Margin to Center: Asian American Greek Letter Organizations” March 2006
- “How Do I Do What You Do?: Careers in Student Affairs” March 2005
- “Views From the Middle: Middle Managers Perspectives of Student Affairs” November 2003
- “The State of Asian Pacific Americans in Higher Education” March 2002
- “A Cross-Cultural Center Beginning: Nourishing Our Human Spirit” November 1999
- “Guess Who’s Coming to Campus: Building Campus Community” November 1998
- “The Majority Minority: Meeting the Needs of API Students” November 1997
- Association of College Personnel Administrators
- “APA Graduate Students Redefining Citizenship” April 2000
- National First Year Experience Conference
- “Diversity and the First Year Experience” January 2002
- Southern California Greek Leadership Conference
- “New Member Orientation: Building a safe community” May 1998
- CASE District 7 Conference
- “A Diverse Alumni: Strategies for Outreach” December 1994
- “Century Leadership Program” March 2001
PhD [Year] Claremont Graduate University, MA [Year] Claremont Graduate University, BA [Year] Loyola Marymount University