A new data tool to prompt constructive conversations about performance and accountability between and among DHE, our public colleges and universities, legislators and others, and to contribute to the discovery of insights that point to actions that lead to results.
Our portfolio of projects and programs designed to transform Massachusetts’ higher education landscape and deliver benefits for our stakeholders.
Collaboration and research is underway to produce a new systemwide strategic plan, launching in 2020, that places equity for underrepresented populations as the top performance and policy priority for Massachusetts public higher education.
Dr. Santos comes to the Department as an accomplished higher education equity-centered professional with extensive experience leading innovative projects and teams across the education technology, public policy, nonprofit, and academic sectors. He has held positions at a number of prestigious higher education institutions, including the University of Texas, Austin, Pepperdine University, UCLA, and the University of Arizona.
Dr. Santos most recently held an appointment as a Visiting Scholar, Educational Leadership and Policy, The University of Texas at Austin. Previously, Dr. Santos was the Vice President & Team Lead, Program Strategy at edX, whose parent company is 2U, Inc., a publicly traded global platform company, where he provided global executive leadership for all online/hybrid degree programs and alternative credentials – leading the team that provided academic strategy and educational innovation consulting services to help universities and corporations advance digital transformation strategies to meet learners’ needs.
Prior to his work at edX, Dr. Santos led the higher education portfolio for a public policy advocacy organization in Washington, DC as the VP of Higher Education Policy and Practice at The Education Trust – where he worked at the highest policy levels. He oversaw all aspects of the organization’s higher education work, was the public face and spokesperson for higher education matters where he fielded numerous interviews in English and Spanish with major national and international (Univision) media outlets, writing press statements, commenting on proposed legislation and proposed budgets from the White House and Congress, and provided intellectual leadership in setting state and federal policy priorities strategy – advancing an equity agenda to improve access, affordability, completion, and post-enrollment success for low-income students and students of color. He provided Capitol Hill Briefings, worked with Congressional staffers on both sides of the aisle – providing technical assistance on legislative language for bills.
Dr. Santos served as associate professor in the Learning Technologies and Organizational Leadership programs in the Graduate School of Education & Psychology at Pepperdine University where he also taught in various learning modalities. Before that, he was an assistant professor (tenure-track) in the Higher Education & Organizational Change division at UCLA’s School of Education & Information Studies, where he was an affiliated scholar of the Higher Education Research Institute and an affiliated faculty member of the Chicano Studies Research Center. Prior to joining the faculty at UCLA, he served as founding executive director of the Latina/o Policy Research Initiative, assistant director of the Office of Institutional Equity, and senior institutional researcher of University Analytics & Institutional Research at the University of Arizona.
His work and op-ed pieces have been featured in top circulation publications such as USA Today, The New York Times, The Huffington Post, The Chronicle of Higher Education, Diverse Issues in Higher Education, Education Week, and The Hechinger Report. His scholarly work has been published in top-tiered education journals such as Educational Policy, The Journal of Higher Education, The Review of Higher Education, and Research in Comparative and International Education. His work on college access and affirmative action was filed in the brief of the Law School Admission Council as amicus curiae in support of the University of Austin, et. al., in the US Supreme Court case, Abigail Noel Fisher v. University of Austin, et. al.
Dr. Santos is a first-generation post-traditional college student who is the son of migrant farmworkers who immigrated to the US from México. He is also a Veteran who served honorably in the U.S. Marine Corps as a Corporal and Naval Midshipman 1st Class (Marine Corps Option) while in college. He served aboard the USS Comstock (LSD) where he participated in Operation Fiery Vigil – a humanitarian effort to relieve the devastation of the eruption of Mt. Pinatubo in the Philippines. He also served during Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm.
Dr. Santos earned his B.A. in Mexican American Studies, M.A. in Educational Psychology: Measurement & Research Methodology, and Ph.D. in Higher Education Economics and Finance Policy: Econometrics and Measurement & Research Methodology at the University of Arizona.
The Plan is focused on acknowledging the barriers that have hindered the success of Students of Color and rectifying and repairing harm. As a Commonwealth, we must critically review and evaluate our institutional policies, practices, pedagogies, and services to ensure they are rooted in racial equity. Success will be reached when racial disparities are eliminated from the public higher education system in Massachusetts.
In Fall 2022, DHE staff formed working groups to support implementation of the Plan.The purpose of these working groups is to plan and execute DHE activities associated with the Plan, stay informed on campus engagement, and identify resources for campuses.
The priorities of this work are to improve access to higher education for Students of Color, build a civically engaged educational experience for students of color, and prepare these students to thrive in their career and future beyond their time in higher education. DHE staff working on these efforts are focused on implementing recommendations to our public institutions that are based on analytical data and evidence, enhancing a student’s experience and sense of belonging while also looking at ways to expand support services that foster academic momentum and degree completion.
This work is critical to the growth and success of students attending Massachusetts institutions and cannot be successful without the support and partnership of key stakeholders.