Following a national search, Willie J. Hagan, president of California State University, Dominguez Hills (CSUDH), has appointed Michael E. Spagna as provost and vice president for academic affairs effective July 1, 2017.
Since 2008, Spagna has been dean of the Michael D. Eisner College of Education at California State University, Northridge (CSUN), where he is known as a strong collaborator with extensive experience and diverse perspectives. At CSUN, he cultivated a relationship with Michael and Jane Eisner resulting in a $7 million gift to the university’s Center for Teaching and Learning, where Spagna served as executive director for seven years.
“As he articulated during his extensive interview process, Dr. Spagna is particularly attracted to the CSU Dominguez Hills mission, our commitment to student success, and the university’s broad access to the underserved and diverse communities we serve,” Hagan said. “I am confident Michael’s leadership will enable us to build upon the momentum we have already achieved, and play a significant role in accomplishing our highest goals moving forward.”
The provost and vice president of academic affairs is a key position in the university administration, responsible for providing strategic leadership and oversight for the university’s academic vision. At CSUDH, Spagna will oversee all academic units, including the university’s six colleges and University Library, as well as all academic centers, institutes and instructional programs and activities. The provost also serves as the chief executive officer for the campus in the president’s absence.
Spagna is recognized for his commitment to improving student access, retention and success in higher education, employing evidence-based practices in his work, and his involvement in forging internal and external community partnerships. He has been a strong leader for the L.A. Compact, a collective of 18 Los Angeles institutions that focus on preparing local students for college and the workforce.
For the past six years he chaired the L.A. Compact’s Institutions of Higher Education Collaborative workgroup, which consists of 12 independent colleges and universities that share a commitment to improving educational outcomes for L.A.’s youth. The collaborative is regional consortium that includes private institutions, UCLA, the Los Angeles Community College District, and California State University (CSU) campuses.
“CSU Dominguez Hills represents everything that is fundamentally good and true when it comes to fulfilling the mission of public higher education, including a steadfast commitment to excellence and innovation; building strong university-community partnerships; and, most importantly, ensuring student success at all levels. I am honored to join such a dedicated team of faculty, staff, and administrators at CSUDH,” said Spagna.
Prior to CSUN, Spagna served as consultant to the California State Department of Education; was coordinator of the Services to Students with Learning Disabilities program at University of California, Berkeley; a learning disabilities specialist and lecturer at Chabot College in Livermore, Calif.; and was a special education teacher at Landmark West School in Culver City, and at the Stewart and Lynda Resnick Neuropsychiatric Hospital at UCLA.
Spagna received his Ph.D. in 1991 through the joint-doctoral program in Special Education from the University of California, Berkeley and San Francisco State University. His M.A. in Special Education was conferred by UCLA in 1985, and he earned his Bachelor of Science in Communicative Disorders at Northwestern University in 1984.