President Cruz Addresses Washington Policy Conference

May 16, 2017 | Lehman College

Lehman President José Luis Cruz took part in an important educational panel in Washington D.C. last Thursday, discussing and debating how to translate America’s perception of higher education and economic mobility into policy.

The panel entitled “Diving into the Data: Translating America’s Perceptions Into Policy,” was organized by New America, a non-partisan think tank that recently surveyed 1,600 Americans about their opinions on the country’s higher education system. A link to the video is available here.

On the panel, Cruz conveyed his hopes and concerns facing the country’s public higher education system. He talked about Lehman’s high economic mobility rate (fourth in the nation according to a study published in The New York Times), the College’s goal to double its credentials to 90,000 by 2030, and how cuts in government funding are especially problematic for public colleges and universities.

“It is important for [policymakers] to realize that two-year and four-year public sector institutions are really the ones that are disproportionately serving students in the U.S., particularly low-income students and students of color,” said President Cruz. “For our nation to be secure and prosperous moving forward, they have to start looking at these two- and four-year institutions and providing us the resources we need.”

President Cruz’s fellow panelists were Cheryl Oldham, vice president of education policy, U.S. Chamber of Commerce; Scott Ralls, president, Northern Virginia Community College; and Deborah Santiago, chief operating officer and vice president for policy, Excelencia in Education. The moderator was Rob Nabors, director of U.S. policy, advocacy, and communications, at The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

The panel was part of New America’s public release of a report entitled “Varying Degrees: How America Perceives Higher Education.” The report includes a few institutional profiles of innovative and effective higher education programs, among which Lehman’s Adult Degree Program (ADP) is highlighted. A link to the ADP profile is available here.