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Serving with Excelencia Library Exhibit Wall September 2022

Dedicated Leadership

Presidents for Latino Student Success

Upon joining in 2020, President Cartwright joined Excelencia in Education's Presidents for Latino Student Success (P4LSS) Network.  This diverse group of college and university presidents and chancellors have committed to making their institutions learning environments where Latino students thrive. They are part of the Excelenciai in Action network and collaborate with Excelencia in Education to leverage collective expertise and resources, foster partnerships, and amplify current efforts at the national level. 

Alexander Cartwright, PhD- UCF President

Dr. Andrea Guzmán, Vice President for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion 

As UCF’s inaugural Vice President for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, Dr. Andrea Guzmán is responsible for leading a comprehensive strategy that champions evidence-based practices in the areas of diversity, equity, and inclusion. She reports to the President as a member of the executive leadership team and Hispanic Serving Institution Initiatives is one of the areas she oversees as part of her portfolio. In February 2022, just four months after UCF was certified with the Seal of Excelencia, Dr. Guzmán secured a $5 million dollar gift from the Ginsburg Family Foundation to establish the Ginsburg Center for Inclusion and Community Engagement. The center aims to build cross-cultural and global competencies, as well as opportunities to learn about and effectively serve various populations. Additional initiatives and areas of emphasis include a renewed focus on civil discourse and civic engagement; creating inclusive teaching, learning and work environments; and developing strong partnerships with community and industry partners. Dr. Guzmán has over 20 years of experience in higher education, is a first-generation college graduate, and earned a bachelor’s degree in societal politics, a master’s degree of Public Administration and a Doctorate of Education from the University of Michigan.

Dr. Andrea Guzmán Vice President for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Dr. Cyndia Morales Muñiz, Director of HSI Culture and Partnerships
Dr. Cyndia Morales Muñiz is the inaugural Director of Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI) Culture and Partnerships at the University of Central Florida (UCF), reporting to the Vice President for DEI.  Dr. Muñiz led efforts that resulted in UCF becoming the third four-year public university in the State University System of Florida to be federally recognized as a Hispanic Serving Institution by the U.S. Department of Education in January 2019. She now works across the university to develop a centralized vision for maximizing this designation in a way that meaningfully serves students, faculty, staff, alumni, and community members from diverse backgrounds. In October 2021, Dr. Muñiz’s leadership resulted in UCF achieving Seal of Excelencia certification, which recognizes institutions who demonstrate positive impact and success in serving Latino students through intentional alignment in data, practice, and leadership. Dr. Muñiz is a first-generation college graduate, having earned a bachelor’s degree in Sociology from Binghamton University, a master’s degree in Sociology from St. John’s University and a Doctoral degree in Educational Leadership from UCF.

Article in Faculty Focus: HSI: Shifting our Mindset and Institutional Culture” was also included in UCF’s Faculty Focus (Vol. 19, No. 2)

Dr. Cyndia Muñiz, Director of (HSI) Culture and Partnerships

Latino Faculty and Staff Association (LaFaSA)
The Latino Faculty and Staff Association (LaFaSA) at the University of Central Florida (UCF), was founded on March 9, 2015 in acknowledgement of UCF’s emerging Hispanic-Serving Institution (HSI) designation. The three founding officers (Cyndia Morales, Cristina Luna, Justin Andrade) believed the Latino/a/x community needed to have an organized, informed and active presence at UCF that could advise senior leadership on the needs of the Latino/a/x community at the university. Present day, the Association continues to work to ensure equitable representation in university initiatives and equitable access to resources that promote the success of the Latino/a/x community. 

Mission. LaFaSA is dedicated to creating community and advocating for Latino/a/x faculty and staff at UCF.

Vision. To become a national model for how higher education institutions, specifically Hispanic Serving Institutions, intentionally serve and empower their Latino/a/x faculty and staff.


Dr. Natalia Leal Toro, 2021-2023 LaFaSA President


From left to right: Respect, language, Family, Culture, Trust, Community

From left to right: Respect, Language, Family, Culture, Trust, and Community