Dr. Federico Zaragoza will focus on student success and workforce development
August 15, 2018 – Dr. Federico Zaragoza today began his tenure as the ninth president of the College of Southern Nevada, saying he feels like he is where he is supposed to be.
“Education is the great equalizer,” Zaragoza said. “That’s what has always driven me, professionally and personally. Community colleges provide access to higher education for everyone, no matter their background.”
As he assumed the presidency of the state’s largest college and a major economic engine in southern Nevada, Zaragoza said his initial focus will be twofold: student success, retention, achievement and completion, which includes graduating or successfully transferring to a four-year college or university, attaining employment, and responding to the needs of business and industry to help grow the state’s economy.
The new president, who had been the vice chancellor for economic and workforce development at Alamo Colleges District in Texas for 14 years, said community colleges must ensure that workforce programs remain aligned with local industry and stay nimble as business needs change.
“Businesses and industries rely on community colleges to a great degree for their workers,” he said. “Today’s workforce is a sophisticated, largely technical one. Our region’s economic competitiveness depends on our ability to stay at the forefront of emerging technologies”
With 34,000 students per semester and hundreds of thousands of alumni who have remained in southern Nevada, CSN has a nearly $1 billion economic impact on the region annually. Its Division of Workforce and Economic Development works hand-in-hand with local businesses to respond to their needs.
Zaragoza said he is joining a college that is already very good; he wants to make it great. “We need to close the achievement gap, raise the graduation rate, and make CSN the best community college in the country,” he said.
Zaragoza was unanimously chosen to lead CSN in May by the Board of Regents of the Nevada System of Higher Education. CSN faculty, staff and stakeholders overwhelmingly supported the decision. He succeeds Acting President Dr. Margo L. Martin, who will assist in the leadership transition.