Fordham Hires New Dean of Graduate School of Education

José Luis Alvarado will begin working in July and looks forward to connecting with students


headshot of José Luis Alvarado, the new dean of Fordham's Graduate School of Education
José Luis Alvarado will take his position as the new dean of the Graduate School of Education on July 1. (COURTESY OF JOSÉ LUIS ALVARADO)

José Luis Alvarado was appointed as the new dean of Fordham University’s Graduate School of Education. He will begin the new role on July 1, 2021. 

Alvarado previously served for five months as the provost and vice president for academic affairs at California State University, Los Angeles. Prior to his role at California State University, he was the founding dean of the College of Education at California State University, Monterey Bay, where he worked for six years, and before then, the associate dean of the College of Education at San Diego State University for 15 years. 

Despite having spent over 20 years on the West Coast, Alvarado said he has always envisioned himself working and living in New York City because he loves its vibrancy and how much it has to offer. 

Work is a creative outlet for Alvarado, and he enjoys engaging with students and supporting them through academic programs. Outside of his academic responsibilities, he expresses himself creatively through art. He explained that painting is a time-consuming process, and because he prefers large canvases, it usually takes him three to five years to finish a painting.

“One area of emphasis is the need for interdisciplinary work or cross-pollination of disciplines.” José Luis Alvarado, new dean of Fordham’s Graduate School of Education

Alvarado values his new position at Fordham as a great responsibility. As dean, he believes that his duties include helping faculty set direction and ensuring that the school remains connected with the community that it serves. 

In an interview with the news organization Diverse: Issues in Higher Education, he emphasized the importance of collective understanding when goal setting for improving school environments: “One area of emphasis is the need for interdisciplinary work or cross-pollination of disciplines. For example, students specializing in special education need to interact with students in school psychology and general education. This is what they will be doing in the real-world setting.

Alvarado stressed the importance of his family; he and his wife have two sons. Alvarado said his upbringing in an immigrant family and his ability to attend college as a first-generation student formed his firm belief in the transformative power of education. 

One of his fundamental missions is for the educational system to be responsive to those living in rural, diverse and low-income communities. 

Alvarado said that he wants to focus on eliminating the barriers students are facing, including making education more accessible by creating an online experience for those who have to prioritize working or face the obstacle of transportation. 

Due to the pandemic, the interview process for the dean position was entirely virtual. Alvarado was recommended for the position by several colleagues. 

He said as soon as he saw the position it became clear that it was a perfect fit. 

He felt like a kindred spirit to Fordham, and, most importantly, that he belongs here.

The interview process was a very high-stress situation for him, but he said it only affirmed his beliefs that this was the right place to be. He felt like a kindred spirit to Fordham, and, most importantly, that he belongs here. 

Although Alvarado has never worked at a Jesuit institution, his deep dive into Jesuit education proved that many of his values aligned, including his passion for seeking justice and helping underserved communities.

When asked how the Fordham community can best welcome him into the role, Alvarado wanted to let students know that he is very interested in establishing regular dialogue. He said he doesn’t want to lose touch with students’ opinions and is open to input and ideas. 

“I’m looking forward to meeting them and, years down the road, shaking their hands when they graduate,” Alvarado said.