Two Cal State San Bernardino staff members are among the new cohort of 36 higher education professionals who will participate in the 2022 Emerging Leaders Program (ELP), a premier leadership development program of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU).

Dalia Hernández, the director of the university’s Upward Bound program and Upward Bound Math Science, and Office of Pre-College Programs, and James Trotter, the assistant director of Academic Technologies & Innovation (ATI), and assistant director of the Extended REALity for Learning Lab (xREAL Lab), were named to the program. The program was created in 2015 to prepare early to mid-career academic and administrative emerging leaders who aspire to advance to administrative roles with greater responsibility and oversight.

“The diverse and motivated campus leaders in the ELP class of 2022 reflect the strength and value of what happens when the AASCU network comes together,” said Charles L. Welch, president of the Arkansas State University System, former chair of the AASCU Board of Directors and ELP coordinator. “We are pleased to bring the ELP cohort to Washington, D.C., for three days of in-person programming for the first time in three years and look forward to lively discussions and insightful learning experiences that will inspire and equip participants to shape our institutions to promote inclusivity, equity, and student success. I look forward to a great year of learning and personal development.”

Hernández, who has been with the university for eight years, has served as the Upward Bound director since 2015. The program serves more than 150 high school students from San Bernardino and Rialto. It was designed to help provide high school students with educational and personal support services that will increase high school graduation and college enrollment and persistent rates. Hernández was honored in 2018 for her outstanding service by the Western Association of Educational Opportunity Personnel (WESTOP) Southern California Chapter.

“I think it’s an amazing opportunity to further grow as a leader and use the skills and knowledge they provide for student affairs and other areas,” Hernández said. “I was surprised and excited at the same time to learn about being named to the cohort. A lot of the times we do the work that we do for students and often don’t realize or take the opportunity to help improve ourselves. This is one of those opportunities.”

Trotter has been at the university for 14 years. As the ATI assistant director, he constantly searches for new opportunities to elevate the department’s technological contributions to the campus. He invests his time ensuring that his students and employees are equipped with the right information, technology and equipment to perform successfully in their positions for ATI and the campus.

“It’s very humbling to part of this cohort which has such a great cross section of individuals from across the country,” said Trotter. “This will be great in helping to advance my career, but what I really look forward to in the program is working with the community, being able to reach out and helping the community, specifically the Coachella Valley.”

With a curriculum designed to develop the skills and competencies necessary for the next generation of higher education leaders, the 2022 ELP cohort will engage with a rich and experienced bench of faculty to cover topics such as equity and social justice leadership, navigating and leading through change, finance and administration, leading as a provost, and more. The group will meet for an in-person retreat, monthly virtual workshops, and small-group sessions for reflection and study of promising practices. Additionally, each member of the ELP cohort will demonstrate their leadership skills to their campus community by leading an on-campus project or initiative with the support of their president/chancellor or cabinet-level administrator.

A complete list of those selected can be viewed at the AASCU’s Emerging Leaders Program 2022 Cohort webpage.

The American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) is a Washington, D.C.-based higher education association of nearly 400 public colleges, universities, and systems whose members share a learning- and teaching-centered culture, a historic commitment to underserved student populations, and a dedication to research and creativity that advances their regions’ economic progress and cultural development. These are institutions Delivering America’s Promise.