On July 6, 2021, President Larry Johnson announced the appointment of Dr. Eva Fernández as the Interim Provost of Stella and Charles Guttman Community College. Dr. Fernández comes to the College after serving as Associate Provost for Innovation and Student Success at Queens College since 2019. She is humbled and excited to be appointed as Guttman’s Interim Provost: “Guttman is an impressive institution on so many levels: talented faculty committed to student success, an innovative multidisciplinary curriculum that draws from the vibrancy of the NYC context, and students as diverse as they are ready to engage with higher education.”
At this point in her distinguished career at CUNY, Dr. Fernández is particularly eager to take on this role in one of the system’s community colleges because she well understands how attaining an associate’s degree serves as a launching pad for continued academic success. She says, “The power afforded to our students through the knowledge and skills of that initial step in their higher education journey not only helps them move up the socio-economic ladder, but also enhances their drive to advance democracy.” President Larry Johnson is gratified that Dr. Fernández has agreed to join Guttman: “I am eager to work with Eva. I greatly respect her dedication to teaching and scholarship, and I have seen already how her deep commitment to social justice is threaded throughout everything she does as a scholar, teacher, and leader.”
Dr. Eva Fernández is an innovative and experienced academic leader. Before her appointment as the Associate Provost at Queens College, she served for nine years there in executive leadership positions in the Office of the Provost, among them Assistant Provost for Teaching Excellence and Experiential Education and Director of the Center for Teaching and Learning. These roles have included projects that contribute to understanding the impact of faculty development programs on student learning and success. She has a deep interest and expertise with STEM course redesign and peer mentoring programs, both of which are areas of interest and excellence at Guttman.
A successful grant writer, Dr. Fernández has brought more than $10 million to Queens College over the past ten years, including the grant that provided the College its current Hispanic-Serving Institution designation, as well as contracts and grants from the National Science Foundation, US Department of Education, Petrie Foundation, Pinkerton Foundation, and the New York City Department of Small Business Services.
Dr. Fernández’s scholarly research has focused on language processing and the psycholinguistics of bilingualism. In that field, she is a nationally recognized pioneer of using bilingual populations to study key questions about sentence processing. She is the co-author of Fundamentals of Psycholinguistics, a widely adopted textbook and, more recently, The Handbook of Psycholinguistics, which focuses on state-of-the-art research in the field. She has also published and presented at national and international venues on her work related to enhancing teaching and learning through institutional interventions, and she is the author of more than 30 peer-reviewed journal articles and chapters.
Dr. Fernández is a Madrileña by birth, but a New Yorker at heart. She moved from Spain to the United States with her family when she was 10, and the experience of becoming bilingual was the catalyst for her developing a deep curiosity in how people learn and use multiple languages, eventually leading to her focus as an undergraduate at NYU (Bachelor of Arts in Linguistics and German) and her specialization as a graduate student at the CUNY Graduate Center (Master of Arts and PhD in Linguistics). But it has been working with CUNY students at Queens College, diverse in every way imaginable, that Dr. Fernández has learned about and embraces the uniquely critical role that CUNY plays in serving New York City, by providing first-rate educational opportunities to all students.
Dr. Fernández’s appointment as Guttman’s Interim Provost is effective from August 1, 2021 through July 31, 2022. President Johnson is committed to running a national search for this position during the 2021-2022 academic year.
Guttman Community College has won national notice for its high graduation rates and innovative first-year experience academic model. CUNY’s first new community college since 1971. When it opened its doors to students in 2012, its mandate was to reimagine the delivery of a community college education so that a higher percentage of students would complete successfully and transfer to a four-year undergraduate institution. Designated as both a minority (MSI) and Hispanic (HSI) serving institution, 87% of Guttman students are students of color, with 55% Hispanic and 32% Black enrollment. As of fall 2020, approximately 1,020 students were enrolled at the College.