(Santa Ana, CA)— Rancho Santiago Community College District announces the appointment of Maria V. Dela Cruz, Ph.D., as associate dean of counseling at Santa Ana College. In this role, Dela Cruz is responsible for the supervision of assigned staff and oversight of operations in student registration, orientation, educational planning, and follow-up. She will work to ensure the most efficient and far-reaching availability of counseling services through one-on-one, small group, and virtual delivery modes. She will also plan, staff, deliver, and evaluate all programs and services related to student success.
With over 23 years of progressively responsible positions in higher education, Dela Cruz offers a breadth and depth of experience, as a program administrator, director of grant projects, counselor, researcher, grant reviewer, and activities coordinator.
Since 2012, she served as project director for the (STEM)2 five-year $6 million Title III Hispanic Serving Institution Science, Technology, Engineering Math (STEM) grant at California State University, Fullerton. This project was funded by the U.S. Department of Education to encourage and retain students in STEM fields and to produce more STEM transfers to four-year institutions.
Prior to that, Dela Cruz was director of graduate student services at the University of California, Irvine, School of Social Ecology. In that role, she was responsible for the management of block grant funding from the Graduate Division Office. Earlier, she served as a counselor at the Advanced Technology Education Park, a satellite campus of Irvine Valley College and Saddleback College. She has also held various positions at Saddleback College and California State University, Long Beach.
Dela Cruz earned a B.A. in broadcasting with a minor in business administration from Pepperdine University, an M.A. in education from California State University, Long Beach, and a Ph.D. in education from the University of Southern California. She has presented at a number of academic conferences, including most recently at the Conference of the National Institute for the Study of Transfer Students in Atlanta where she spoke on “Creating a STEM Transfer Receptive Culture.” She has also presented at the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities conference and the Alliance for Hispanic Serving Institutions Educators conference.
About Rancho Santiago Community College District
Santa Ana College and Santiago Canyon College are public community colleges of the Rancho Santiago Community College District, which serves the residents of Anaheim Hills, Orange, Santa Ana, Villa Park, and portions of Anaheim, Costa Mesa, Irvine, Fountain Valley, Garden Grove, and Tustin.. Both colleges provide education for academic transfer and careers, courses for personal and professional development, and customized training for business and industry.
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