Faces of the Community: Deputy Chancellor Daisy Gonzales Faces of Our Community

October 08, 2018

Dr. Daisy Gonzales is always up for a good challenge.

It’s part of how she approached life as a foster youth, and it’s how she became one of the first in her family to attend college. It’s also why she was chosen to lead the Chancellor’s Office’s efforts to bring its Vision for Success into focus.

As Deputy Chancellor, Dr. Gonzales has been tasked with implementing and tracking the systemwide goals outlined in the Vision for Success. The strategic roadmap is guiding interrelated policy reforms designed to make higher education more accessible and equitable for millions of Californians, and her position requires the kind of versatile and organized approach that has been a hallmark of Dr. Gonzales’ career.

A role model for the next generation of California higher education professionals, and Latina leaders in particular, Dr. Gonzales developed her reverence for education after being inspired by her K-12 teachers. After earning her bachelor’s degree in Public Policy from Mills College, she decided to pass that passion on, by taking a job as a third-grade teacher

“I know firsthand the powerful, life-changing role faculty play in the lives of students like me,” said Dr. Gonzales, whose fast-rising career has included budget and public policy consulting roles in the state Legislature. At the age of 23, she was the youngest budget consultant in the State Assembly and overseeing $11.2 billion in state and federal funds. “Today, I dream about empowering the next generation of students to accomplish their full potential.”

A conversation with a homeless student during her time as a lecturer at UC Santa Barbara, helped her realize her specific calling. It was during that interaction that she formed a plan to spend her career promoting access and support for underserved students.

As deputy chancellor she helps lead the Chancellor’s Office team that oversees California’s $10 billion investment in community colleges and provides advocacy and policy direction focused on helping students of all background achieve their educational goals. Her research background and expertise in organizational change has been key to promoting a culture of innovation and collaboration in our system. She is the first Latina to serve as deputy chancellor. In the little spare time that she has, she enjoys recreational boxing, traveling. and taking Italian language classes.