CWU News

CWU Hires New Associate Dean of Access and Equity

Central Washington University has hired John Vasquez to serve as its new Associate Dean for Access and Equity. Vasquez has worked in higher education for more than two decades in both academic and student affairs. He began work on August 2.

“We’re extremely pleased to have Dr. Vasquez join our Student Success team,” noted Dean of Student Success Greg Heinselman. “He brings a wealth of experience in higher education programs designed to recruit, retain, and graduate underrepresented students, and will be an asset to Central.”

Vasquez has a BA in Organization Studies and an MHSA in Public Health & Policy from the University of Michigan. He earned his PhD in Higher, Adult, and Lifelong Education at Michigan State University (MSU).

“Throughout my career, I have sought to assist Black, Indigenous, Latinx, and other marginalized students find a place where they belong in higher education,” Vasquez said. “My goal at CWU is to continue that work and help the university develop successful programs and strategies that can boost retention and promote a more equitable educational system.”

As a researcher, Vasquez has studied the psycho-social factors affecting academic and career trajectories of traditionally underrepresented and marginalized students in higher education. Much of his work has focused on determining what institutional, environmental, and personal experiences influence a student’s decision to stay in college.

Additionally, as a first-generation Mexican-American from the barrios of San Antonio, Texas, he used his lived experience and research expertise to help develop MSU’s Exito Educativo Program, a bilingual high school-to-college pipeline program for Michigan Latinx families, which he hopes to bring to Central.

Vasquez previously served as Director of Assessment & Professional Development at the Van Andel Institute Graduate School and as a King-Chavez-Parks Faculty Fellow and visiting scholar at National Forum on Higher Education for the Public Good.  Prior to that, Vasquez worked at the University of Michigan for 15 years as a higher education professional.

Media contact: Richard Moreno, Department of Public Affairs, 509-963-2714,