President Pitchford Joins LEAD California’s Statewide Effort To Advance Social Justice

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LEAD California (formerly California Campus Compact) announced today that Dominican University of California President Nicola Pitchford will join its 2022-2023 Executive Board.

LEAD California is a coalition of colleges and universities working to build the collective commitment and capacity of colleges, universities and communities throughout California to advance civic and community engagement for a healthy, just and democratic society. President Pitchford will serve a three-year term, which began on July 1, 2022.

Earlier this year, Dominican was awarded Campus Compact’s Richard Guarasci Award for Institutional Transformation. This national award recognized the university’s comprehensive and sustainable actions to embed community engagement through its curriculum, programs, and planning. Dominican has long been acknowledged for its robust partnerships with community organizations, who support our students’ civic learning and invite our collaboration in addressing community-identified interests and needs.

 This includes:

  • Developing the Dominican Experience, an educational model grounded in high-impact practices with community engagement as one of four tenets;
  • Adopting institution-wide learning outcomes with a category for practice of civic skills and social responsibility;
  •  Redesigning the curriculum, comprising revisions to every major, minor (including a new Social Justice major), and the general education program, which now contains a category for Civic Knowledge and Engagement;
  • Founding the Center for Community Engagement, whose advisory board has defined effective practices in community-engaged teaching and learning for the campus and developed a Civic Action plan that is currently being implemented;
  • Creating campus and community partnerships to advance equity work both on and off campus. 

Community voice, community priorities, and community-based teaching and learning are institutional priorities, says President Pitchford.

“Our university is uniquely positioned as an engine of greater social equity, not only through opening educational opportunities to a student body comprising many from diverse and formerly excluded populations, but also through our capacity to produce research and knowledge in partnership with local communities,” she said.

President Pitchford’s focus on student success is grounded in a commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion, and to Dominican’s ideals of study, reflection, community, and service. At Dominican, President Pitchford served previously as Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of the Faculty (2014-2021), Acting President (2018), and Dean of the School of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences (2011-2014), now the School of Liberal Arts and Education.

California State University, Fresno President Saúl Jiménez-Sandoval also was selected to join the 2022-2023 Executive Board.  
“LEAD California is grateful to have Presidents Pitchford and Jimenez-Sandoval join our Executive Board. As we leverage our 34-year history as a newly re-launched organization, their expertise, knowledge and leadership are perfect complements to steward our organization forward,” said  Dr. Elaine K. Ikeda, Executive Director of LEAD California. “I couldn’t be more excited to work with them and look forward to meaningful and productive years ahead!”

Returning members who will be joining Presidents Pitchford and Jiménez-Sandoval on the LEAD California Executive Board include:
•    James T. Harris, Chair and President, University of San Diego
•    William A. Covino, President, California State University, Los Angeles
•    Cynthia Larive, Chancellor, University of Santa Cruz
•    Linda Oubré, President, Whittier College
•    Thomas Parham, President, California State University, Dominguez Hill

Through innovative programs and initiatives, grant funding, training and technical assistance, professional development and powerful research studies and publications, LEAD California each year invests in and champions students, faculty members, administrators and community members involved in diverse and ground-breaking activities that support and expand civic and community engagement throughout California.

The LEAD California Executive Board has the responsibility to support and promote the mission of LEAD California throughout the state, recommend programs, plans and budgets that sustain and promote the vision and mission of the organization, and exercise oversight and stewardship of the resources of LEAD California.

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