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New inaugural associate dean named at the College of Education

Frankie Santos Laanan will lead efforts to create an equitable, diverse and inclusive culture within the college.

Frankie Santos Laanan

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The College of Education is pleased to announce the appointment of Frankie Santos Laanan as the inaugural associate dean for faculty and student affairs in the College of Education (CoE).

Laanan, a professor in the Department of Education, Culture, & Society and Educational Leadership & Policy, is an educational scholar whose research focuses on the impact of college on individuals and society. Specifically, his research investigates the role of community colleges as educational pathways for women and historically underrepresented students in STEM disciplines, career and technical education, transfer and accountability.

In his new role, Laanan will provide leadership and direction for the college’s retention, promotion and tenure processes for both tenure- and career-line faculty; develop a strategy for the college’s commitment to equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) and collaborate with faculty and staff in the college to create a culture that supports student success.

The leadership in the college is committed to academic excellence and ensuring that everyone thrives and is successful in their education and professional endeavors. Central to Laanan’s work as associate dean is EDI, which serves as a foundation that will ground his work with faculty and students.

The position was created to provide EDI leadership within the college. Laanan will lead initiatives to integrate EDI into all aspects of the CoE culture, including curricula, research and scholarship, hiring and training of faculty and staff, recruitment and retention, hiring and promotion, policies and best practices and increasing collaboration with community partners. “Dr. Laanan’s appointment is affirmation of the value of diversity, equity and inclusion as foundational pillars for all of our work in the college,” says Dean Nancy Songer. “The experience and expertise he brings will help us strengthen our ongoing EDI efforts while also implementing new strategies that help the college and the university come closer to our ideals.”

“We are extremely excited to share the announcement of Dr. Laanan’s appointment as associate dean. This is the first step in increasing our support for faculty and students both within and beyond the university,” says Songer. “The college takes EDI seriously, as reflected in our curricula, programs, research and scholarships. With Dr. Laanan, we can strengthen our efforts while also forging new growth and opportunities.”

Laanan has conducted research and published work with a focus on postsecondary educational opportunities for first-generation, low-income and historically underrepresented students. He has received and managed a grant portfolio of over $3.5 million and has been associated with nearly $6 million in grants from the National Science Foundation.

Prior to his appointment at the U, Laanan was the department head of Educational Leadership, Policy, and Technology Studies at The University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa, and a professor of higher education administration. He has held faculty positions at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Iowa State University and Florida Atlantic University. Laanan earned his doctorate in Higher Education and Organizational Change from the University of California, Los Angeles.

Laanan was born and raised on the island of Guam. A Pacific Islander scholar and first-generation college student, he is passionate about engaging in educational research to investigate critical questions about college access and success of diverse students and committed to translating research into practice and policy to effect transformational change in colleges and universities. “I am honored to take on this leadership role and look forward to working with the leadership, faculty, staff and students to achieve our goals,” he says.