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Leaders known for innovation and excellence among finalists for FLC president

Leaders known for innovation and excellence among finalists for FLC president

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Dr. Teresa C. Balser
Dr. Teresa C. Balser
Dr. Maria Guajardo
Dr. Maria Guajardo
Dr. Tom Stritikus
Dr. Tom Stritikus

Three accomplished higher education leaders nationally recognized for innovation and excellence are the finalists to become the next president of Fort Lewis College in Durango, CO.

The Board of Trustees for Fort Lewis College today announced finalists:

  • Dr. Teresa C. Balser, John Curtin Distinguished Professor and Dean of Teaching and Learning for the Faculty of Science and Engineering at Curtin University in Perth, Australia;
  • Dr. Maria Guajardo, Deputy Vice-President of Soka University in Tokyo, Japan;
  • Dr. Tom Stritikus, Deputy Director of K-12 U.S. Programs for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in Seattle, Washington.

“Our finalists all bring incredible energy, expertise and focus to Fort Lewis College, as well as strong commitment to our historic mission,” said Steve Short, chair of the Board of Trustees for Fort Lewis College. “I encourage our students, faculty, staff, administrators and the Durango community to take the upcoming opportunities to meet them.”

Selected following an exhaustive search that drew 120 applications, each finalist will travel to the Fort Lewis College campus for a two-day visit that will include opportunities for interaction with students, faculty, staff, administrators, and the community. Constituents will have the opportunity to provide feedback on the finalists to the Board of Trustees through an online survey. The first campus visit will begin March 29, 2018. The finalists’ biographies, CVs, and details of their campus visits are available at www.fortlewis.edu/presidentialsearch.

“Because the Fort Lewis College presidency offers such an exciting opportunity, our search committee had a deep, diverse field of candidates to choose from,” said Trustee Richard Kaufman, who chaired the 13-person search committee. “Our three finalists stood out because of their dynamic personal leadership styles and their records of working collaboratively to build strong higher education communities.”


Dr. Maria Guajardo
Campus visit: March 29-30, 2018
More information available here.

Dr. Guajardo currently serves as deputy-vice president at Soka University in Tokyo, Japan, where she developed a new degree program in international liberal arts. She is the first Latina to serve on the Soka University of America Board of Trustees. Dr. Guajardo received a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Harvard University and master’s and doctorate degrees in clinical psychology from the University of Denver. Her doctoral dissertation examined the question of Latinas dropping out of school, which launched her career at the Colorado Department of Education (CDE), where she served as the state’s dropout prevention coordinator. Dr. Guajardo later served as the executive director of the Latin American Research and Service Agency (LARASA) in Denver and executive director of Assets for Colorado Youth. Then-Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper selected Guajardo as the executive director of the Mayor’s Office for Education and Children. The daughter of illiterate Mexican immigrant parents, Dr. Guajardo is recognized for her advocacy on behalf of children in Colorado, nationally, and internationally. She has served on the boards of the University of Denver, Children’s Hospital Colorado, and The Denver Foundation, among others. She is a member of the Colorado Women’s Hall of Fame. 


Dr. Tom Stritikus
Campus visit: April 2-3, 2018
More information available here.

Dr. Stritikus currently serves as a deputy director of K-12 Education at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, where he oversees initiatives of personalized learning, assessment for student learning, instructional leadership, teacher observation and feedback, and teacher preparation. Prior to joining the foundation, Dr. Stritikus was dean of the University of Washington College of Education. Raised in an immigrant household, Dr. Stritikus began his public school teaching experience with Teach For America in Baltimore, Maryland. Dr. Stritikus received his bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Nebraska, Lincoln, and his master’s and doctorate degrees from the University of California, Berkeley, in Education in Language, Literacy, and Culture. Dr. Stritikus has served on the boards of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, Educurious, and the Seattle Educational Alliance, among others.


Dr. Teresa C. Balser
Campus visit: April 4-5, 2018
More information available here.

Dr. Balser currently serves as dean of Teaching and Learning for the Faculty of Science and Engineering at Curtin University in Perth, Australia. Dr. Balser previously served as dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at the University of Florida, Gainesville, as well as a faculty member and administrator at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. Dr. Balser earned bachelor’s degrees in earth sciences and biology from Dartmouth College and her doctorate degree in soil microbiology from the University of California, Berkeley. Her research interests are in the area of environmental science and education. An internationally known educator, advancing educational goals through the incorporation of active learning, innovative curriculum design and teaching-as-research initiatives, Dr. Balser is widely known in higher education as a change agent and leader in STEM. She is a co-founder of the Society for Advancement of Biology Education Research (SABER), a National Vision and Change Fellow with the Partnership for Undergraduate Life Sciences Education (PULSE), and was a Fulbright-Nehru Distinguished Chair to India in 2015 to help build capacity at the national level for pedagogically advanced and responsive STEM education.

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