Dr. Federico Zaragoza
President, College of Southern Nevada
Dr. Federico Zaragoza is the President for the College of Southern Nevada (CSN). He heads one of the largest multi- campus higher education institutions in the country with enrollments of approximately 50,000 students. CSN operates in over 50 locations including three main campuses and seven learning centers in Clark County, covering 8,000 square miles. CSN offers associate degrees in over 70 fields of study offering more than 180 degrees and certificates, including associate degrees for university transfer and 10 baccalaureate degree programs including several in the Health Care areas such as Dental Hygiene, BSN Nursing, and Medical Lab Science. The College’s Ralph and Betty Engelstad School of Health Sciences is the state’s premier educational provider for our healthcare workforce. More than a third of all nurses in Nevada were trained at CSN. Plus, CSN offers a wide variety of degrees and certifications to allow students to develop their own pathways to careers in healthcare. We have affiliations with more than 350 local businesses and organizations where our students can apply their skills in hospitals, schools, private clinics and other real-life work settings. Those relationships help our graduates quickly find jobs in the industry once they graduate. Dr. Zaragoza is the principal spokesperson for the college and maintains many progressive partnerships with business. Under his leadership, Achieving the Dream designated CSN as a national Leader College of Distinction in 2019.
Dr. Zaragoza serves on many national and state committees and commissions. He served on the National Advisory Committee on Institutional Quality and Integrity (NACIQI), which was established to enforce national education standards for accrediting agencies or associations from 2013-2019. In 2019 he was appointed by the National Skills Coalition to serve on an advisory “Think Tank” concerned with the impact of workforce policies on advancing racial equity in educational attainment, employment, and income. Moreover, he currently serves as the U.S representative on the Board of the Inter-American Organization for Higher Education (IOHE).
Dr. Zaragoza is additionally on the Board of Directors for the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC), which is the primary advocacy organization for the nation’s community colleges. The association represents nearly 1,200 2-year, associate degree-granting institutions and more than 12 million students.
Dr. Zaragoza has held various leadership positions, including State Director for the Wisconsin–Job Training Partnership Act Programs, and Dean of Continuing Education for the Milwaukee Area Technical College and Vice President for the St. Philip’s College Southwest Campus. Prior to his appointment at CSN, Dr. Zaragoza had been the Vice Chancellor for Economic and Workforce Development at the Alamo Colleges for almost twenty years. Under his leadership, his colleges have won numerous national recognitions including the prestigious 2015 and 2016 Bellwether Awards for Workforce Innovation Projects (Integrated and Accelerated Models); the 2013 LERN National Instructional Innovation Award for “Just in Time Training programs”; and the 2005 American Association of Community College Trustees’ National Workforce Excellence Award for customizing exemplary job training programs for Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Boeing and Lockheed Martin.
Dr. Zaragoza is a distinguished lecturer in technical and industrial education, including basic skill integration. He has lectured throughout the United States, Brazil, Mexico, Guatemala, Columbia, Germany, India, Peru, Nicaragua, and Spain. He co-authored the Texas Workforce Commission Limited English Proficiency (LEP) Handbook for Workforce Professionals and the National Science Foundation, AMTEC- National Case Study on Career Pathway Programs That Work. He has keynoted many national and state conferences. Most recently he was a keynote speaker at the National Association of Bilingual Education (NABE) 2020 Annual Convention. He was also a keynote speaker at the National Career Pathway Network at the 2013 Annual Conference and the featured presenter for the White House on Higher Education Anchor Institutions in 2016. He was invited by the President of India, Shri Pranab Mukherjee to provide one of the keynote addresses on workforce innovation at the National Festival of Innovation (New Delhi, March 2016).
Dr. Zaragoza has received numerous awards including the Education Brillante Award from the National Society of Hispanic MBAs (NSHMBA), Texas Association of Community Colleges Carl Nelson Leadership Award. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology, a Master’s degree in Adult and Vocational Education, an (ED.S) Educational Specialist degree in Industrial and Technical Education from the University of Wisconsin–Stout, and a Ph.D. in Urban Education from the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee.