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CSULB Outstanding Professor Award for Dr. Anna Ortiz

Published April 9, 2021

Congratulations to Dr. Anna Ortiz, Professor, Educational Leadership, who was awarded the 2020-2021 California State University, Long Beach, Outstanding Professor Award. In this interview, Dr. Ortiz shares what this award means to her as an educator and why she chose a career in higher education.



Dr. Anna Ortiz
Dr. Anna Ortiz

Q: What does this award mean to you as an educator preparing future educational leaders?

A: I’m so honored to have received this award as it recognizes my commitment to educational leadership - in the classroom, on campus, and in the field of higher education. I’ve worked hard throughout my career to facilitate and support changes that higher education needs [in order] to make it a place where women and under-represented students, faculty, and staff can thrive. The Ed.D. program is a good example of this. We have been successful at recruiting, retaining and graduating African American and Latinx students in very high numbers. In my time as director and department chair, we were able to hire faculty and staff that represent the diversity of students in our program. As Co-Chair of the President’s Equity and Change Commission and leadership in the Latinx Faculty and Staff Association, I’m able to bring that same commitment to the wider university. In my field of higher education, my scholarship on Latinx and Native American students, as well as a focus on ethnic identity development and a variety of equity-related topics, has been used in other educational leadership programs across the country. My service to the profession has always emphasized mentorship and opportunity for graduate students and faculty at all levelsBeing the founding director of the Faculty Division in the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators is one of the ways my joy of creating and building leadership structures will last far longer than my own career. The opportunity to enact leadership in so many ways through teaching, research and service and the opportunity to see my own students flourish in their leadership journeys has been the highlight of being a professor. 

Q: Why did you choose a career in higher education?

A: I was a student leader as an undergraduate at UC Davis. The amazing staff and faculty that I worked with there inspired me to pursue a career in Student Affairs, which eventually led to becoming a faculty member. I loved everything about college and when I found out that I never had to leave college, I knew I had found the career for me. Higher education gives students an opportunity to change their lives and the lives of their families. I’m honored to play a part in that journey for my students. I’m energized by students and being on a college campus. One of the worst parts of being sent home during the pandemic is that I am removed from the very thing that has sustained enthusiasm in my career. But, the basics are still here: helping students, faculty, and staff achieve their goals, whatever they may be.

Q: Is there anything else you would like to share?

A: What I have accomplished in my career, that this award represents, would never have been possible without the “womantors”, mentors, and outstanding students and colleagues that have supported me. I so much appreciate their investment in me, as well as their friendship. I am truly blessed to have spent 18 years at CSULB, where I have found a place that allows me to be whatever kind of faculty member I want to be at the different stages of my career. For someone who hates routine and follows her intuition where ever it takes her, that is a true gift!