California Competes Announces New Executive Leadership

Dr. Su Jin Gatlin Jez Becomes Executive Director of California Competes

Dr. Su Jin Gatlin Jez

The California Competes Leadership Council has appointed Dr. Su Jin Gatlin Jez as Executive Director. She is currently an Associate Professor of Public Policy and Administration at California State University, Sacramento. She also served as the Director of the CSU Student Success Network. Dr. Jez will begin her new role on September 1, 2019 and report to the Leadership Council. Interim Executive Director Ria Sengupta Bhatt will serve as Senior Advisor to facilitate the leadership transition.

As Executive Director, Dr. Jez will assume overall strategic and operational responsibility for the advancement of California Competes’ mission to develop nonpartisan and financially pragmatic recommendations for improved policies and practices in California higher education.

“We’re delighted to welcome Dr. Jez to California Competes. She brings deep expertise in strategies to strengthen postsecondary access and success for underserved communities,” said Leadership Council Chair Elizabeth Hill.

Dr. Jez is an accomplished researcher whose work appears in a variety of publications including Teachers College Record, Education Policy Analysis Archives, Research in Higher Education, Community College Review, and Michigan Journal of Race & Law. She has presented across the country and internationally on key issues in higher education and systems change. She holds a PhD in administration and policy analysis and an MA in economics from Stanford University. She received a BA in statistics and a minor in public policy from the University of California, Berkeley.

"My interest in serving the community and solving problems drives my passion for pursuing a more equitable future for Californians. I’m thrilled to work with the California Competes team and build on its strong history as a highly-respected policy research organization.”

Dr. Su Jin Gatlin Jez

The California Competes Leadership Council began the search for a new executive director after former Executive Director Dr. Lande Ajose joined California Governor Gavin Newsom’s Administration as Senior Policy Advisor for Higher Education. Ms. Bhatt has served as Interim Executive Director since January of this year, having previously served as Deputy Director.

“The Leadership Council is grateful to Ms. Bhatt for her strong leadership during the organization’s transition and well before as California Competes became a key player in higher education policy circles. We appreciate her commitment and dedication to the organization and its overall mission,” said California Competes Leadership Council Chair Elizabeth Hill.

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