AAC&U-Cengage Inclusion Scholarship Winner

Miguel Martinez-Saenz

President, St. Francis College

Miguel Martinez-Saenz became the 19th president of St. Francis College in 2017. Throughout his presidency, he has emphasized accessibility and affordability at SFC while aspiring to create a community of learners where everyone belongs and can dream, serve, and achieve. He regularly visits high schools in low-income neighborhoods to speak with students about the opportunity for a higher education and the doors a college degree can unlock. He continues to teach so he is in touch with students. He supports and challenges administration to ensure that equity and justice are driving factors behind all new initiatives. And he regularly writes the campus community, passionately, reflecting on current events and issues of social justice that impact everyone.

Because improving inclusion and belonging is a priority of the institution, President Martinez-Saenz hired SFC’s first Chief Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Officer in July 2021. He also created the position of Assistant Director of Multicultural Student Affairs. The Office of Multicultural Student Affairs promotes academic achievement, multicultural competence, leadership development and retention of students from historically excluded groups. Other institutional changes include the creation of the DEI Steering committee, made up of students, faculty, staff, and alumni, as well as the creation of new Affinity Groups made up of alumni from diverse backgrounds who can engage with students in meaningful ways. SFC is also in the process of institutionalizing the Intercultural Development Inventory as a tool to enhance cultural competency of faculty, staff, and students.