Dr. Mitch Avila, the dean of Arts & Humanities since 2015, is departing CSUDH to take the position of provost at CSU Channel Islands. Photo courtesy of CSUDH.
By Daniel Tom, Staff Reporter
After 25 years in the humanities, Dr. Mitch Avila is moving into campus administration. The dean of the CSUDH College of Arts & Humanities announced Oct. 23 that he has accepted the position of provost at California State University, Channel Islands. As provost, he will be one of the chief academic officers of the University. His job duties will include overseeing faculty hires, curriculum development and assessments, as well as anything with student success. He begins his new position Jan. 1.
“This is an exciting–and daunting~–professional opportunity for me, and while I am of course honored to take on this new role, I am sad to be leaving Dominguez Hills,” Avila said in his Oct. 23 email to the College of Arts & Humanities.
Dr. Avila leaves the Toros for CSU Channel Islands, a school established in 2002 and with a fall, 2019 enrollment 6,860 students. He replaces that school’s previous interim provost, Elizabeth Say, who retired this summer. Six days after Avila announced his move, CSU CI’s Erika D. Beck,. announced she was taking the position of president at Cal State Northridge
Avila came to CSUDH in the summer of 2015, after two decades at Cal State Fullerton both as a department chair and professor in philosophy, and later the associate dean in the College of Humanities and Social Sciences, a position he held for four years.
Since his arrival on campus, he has overseen a college that has seen enrollment grow by 45 percent and the creation of two new degrees in women’s studies and Asian Pacific studies.
Dr. Tim Caron, the associate dean of the College of Arts and Humanities, credited Avila with hiring “new tenure-track faculty, strengthening the departments all throughout our College. His commitment to our students means that we now have degree programs in Women’s Studies and Asian Pacific Studies, when those programs were formerly offered only as minors. The new degree programs represent exciting opportunities for our students.”
Doris Acosta, the chair of the Department of Theatre and Dance, praised Avila for being a strong advocate of the department.
“He investigated the safety of the University Theatre and found funding to update the old rigging, upgrade equipment and other needs to make our theatre safe,” Acosta said.
“The theatre and dance program had been underfunded for years and he found resources to make sure we could successfully produce a full season of theatre and dance productions and serve the needs of our students.”
In a statement to the campus community Oct. 23, CSUDH Provost Dr. Michael Spagna announced Avila’s departure and thanked him for his contributions to the campus.
“He has led efforts to place the College of Arts & Humanities and the entire university on a positive trajectory towards the future. I know he means it when he writes, “good things ahead!” for CSUDH.”
Acosta said Department faculty hope the administration begins the process of hiring a new dean very soon. They look to see if a new dean will continue the forward progress that Avila has led over his tenure.