IU School of Education dean appointed to Indiana Commission on Hispanic/Latino Affairs
Indiana House Speaker Brian C. Bosma has named Indiana University School of Education Dean Gerardo Gonzalez as a lay member of the state Commission on Hispanic/Latino Affairs.
The commission is a nonpartisan state agency with a mission of working toward economic, educational and social equality, including promoting cooperation and understanding. Commissioners include members of the Indiana General Assembly, representatives from other state agencies, as well as appointees by the Indiana governor, Indiana Senate president pro tempore, and speaker of the House.
"I am honored to be appointed to this important commission," Gonzalez said. "The Hispanic/Latino population is the fastest growing demographic group in the United States and Indiana. As with other immigrant and minority groups in the past, education is the key to their economic advancement and social success.
"I hope I can contribute meaningfully to every facet of the commission's work, but I'm especially excited about the prospect of helping to expand educational opportunities for what is today the poorest and most educationally underserved population group in America."
"Dean Gonzalez is one of our state's most recognizable and respected education professionals, and his appointment represents a significant step toward ensuring that education matters remain a major focal point for our agency," said Danny Lopez, commission executive director. "We are thrilled to have a prominent leader like him join our group as we strive to identify the major obstacles facing Latinos in Indiana, and we're excited about the passion and expertise he brings."
The commission's responsibilities include determining solutions to issues regarding Hispanic/Latino matters in Indiana and providing recommendations to state legislators and the governor. The commission coordinates with state agencies, community organizations, municipal leaders and others to implement programs and help coordinate efforts to address those issues. In the current strategic plan, the commission identified several key initiatives, including matters surrounding child care, education, youth crime recidivism and a statewide Latino Youth Day at the Indiana Statehouse.
Gonzalez became Dean of Indiana University's School of Education in 2000. Before joining IU, he was professor and chair of counselor education, associate dean for administration and finance, and interim dean in the College of Education at the University of Florida in Gainesville. He received his B.A. degree in psychology and Ph.D. in counselor education and higher education administration from the University of Florida.
A recognized expert on alcohol and drug education, Gonzalez is also active in multicultural counseling and education issues. He has addressed national and international groups and published scholarly works on the Cuban-American experience and Hispanic educational concerns. In 2003, he received the Indiana University Latino Faculty and Staff Service Award for advocacy on behalf of educational equity and access for underrepresented groups.
Under Gonzalez, the IU School of Education has maintained overall excellence, ranking in U.S. News & World Report's top schools of education nationwide. In the most recent rankings announced last week, the school ranked 21st overall and 11th among public university graduate schools. Several individual degree programs ranked highly in specialty categories: seventh for curriculum/instruction; eighth for elementary education and higher education administration; 10th in student counseling and personnel services; 12th for secondary education; 14th for administration/supervision; and 21st in educational psychology.
Gonzalez's first meeting with the commission will be April 26.