Board of Regents President Gregory Gray appointed Dr. Estela R. Lopez Interim Provost at the Board of Regents for Higher Education, effective Jan. 30. She will hold that position until June 30, 2016.
Dr. Lopez brings significant campus and organizational experience to the Board of Regents as Senior Associate at Excelencia in Education, a non-profit organization committed to accelerating Latino student success in higher education through education policies and institutional practices.
She was also Vice Chancellor of Academic Affairs for the Connecticut State University System (CSUS) from 2002 to 2007. In that role, Dr. Lopez was responsible for leading and coordinating public initiatives and services pertaining to planning, research, student advocacy and learning at the state’s four universities.
During her tenure at CSUS, Dr. Lopez oversaw online distance education, developed a policy to support assessment of student learning, and began a grant incentive program to promote faculty assessment efforts. She also worked with the community college system to strengthen articulation efforts, and promoted the creation of programs to respond to workforce development needs.
“Dr. Lopez’s senior administrative roles – including five years at the Connecticut State University System — have shaped her leadership skills and made her an effective change agent for student success,” said President Gray. “Her record of exemplary history of service to our institutions, as well as her professionalism and effectiveness, make her an ideal candidate to serve in this capacity.”
“As someone who has held many roles in higher education, I am looking forward to serving as Interim Provost at the Board of Regents,” said Dr. Lopez. “I am deeply committed to the Board’s 17 colleges and universities, and will build upon our recent successes to ensure we experience great progress moving forward.”
From 1997 to 2002, Dr. Lopez was Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs at Northeastern Illinois University (NEIU) in Chicago. Under her leadership, Dr. Lopez oversaw enrollment management efforts, which resulted in increased student enrollment and improved retention, and was successful in securing a variety of grants. Before joining NEIU, Lopez served as a Senior Associate at the American Association for Higher Education and as a Senior Fellow at the American Council on Education. She also served as Vice President for Academic Affairs and Planning at Inter American University in Puerto Rico, and Director of the Hispanic Health Council where she promoted policies to address health disparities within the Latino community.
Dr. Lopez has received numerous awards. She was the recipient of both the Hispanic Caucus of the AAHHE Distinguished Leadership in Higher Education Award, and the Illinois Latino Council in Higher Education Distinguished Service Award. In 2005, she was the recipient of the Connecticut Women’s Education and Legal Fund Award, and in 2006, she was selected Latina Citizen of the Year for the Latino and Puerto Rican Affairs Commission. In 2008, she received the Connecticut Hispanic Bar Association Achievement Award.
She also chairs the Accountability and Support Committee of the State Board of Education, until her term expires in February 2015. Dr. Lopez is the past President of the board of the Fund for Greater Hartford Foundation, and serves on the board of United Way of Connecticut, Bay Path University, and the Latino Endowment Fund of the Hartford Foundation.
Dr. Lopez earned a bachelor’s degree from Queens College, and both a master’s degree and Ph.D. in Spanish literature from Columbia University.
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