Program Speakers

Francisca M. Beer 

Francisca M. Beer

Associate Dean, Office of Academic Equity, Cal State San Bernardino

Selected as the Associate Dean and Director for the Office of Academic Equity in the College of Business and Public Administration, Dr. Francisca M. Beer has extensive administrative experience as Director, Assistant Dean, Associate Dean, and Interim Dean of Graduate Studies.

Dr. Beer is a Professor of Finance at California State University, San Bernardino. She holds a Ph.D. in Finance, a Graduate Degree in Computer Science, and a Master's in Commercial Engineering. Her specialties include corporate finance, the structure of capital markets, and international finance. Her principal research interests are in behavioral finance, a research area that applies psychological theories to financial models.

She has an established list of more than 50 articles in books, monographs, and refereed journals. Her publications appear in journals such as The Financial Review, Review of Business Research, American Business Review, Journal of Emerging Markets, International Journal of Business Disciplines, and Global Financial Journal. In 2017, her contribution to research earned her the title of “Distinguished Research Fellowship".

As the Associate Dean for the Office of Academic Equity (OAE), Dr. Beer has developed several programs. She created the Trendsetters' program and the Voice series both designed to support students' success. She established the annual ShEconomy to empower women entrepreneurs. She developed events for faculty (Paves the Way) and for staff members (In Motion) of the college to foster positive work relationships.

Dr. Beer was the founding Director of the Office of Student Research (OSR). In 2018, for the creation and implementation of the Office of Student Research, Francisca was awarded the “CSU Faculty Innovation and Leadership Award" which recognizes faculty's implementation of innovative practices to improve student success.

She was the recipient of the CSUSB “Faculty Mentor Award" representing the Jack H. Brown College of Business and Public Administration. For her contribution to the Women's Leadership Conference, she received the President's Staff Award in 2018. She has received over 20 research grants with numerous awards for “superior research". Francisca has also been recognized as “Faculty Advisor of the Year", “Award for Excellence in Teaching" in the Department of Accounting and Finance, “Dean's Outstanding Teaching Award" in the School of Business and Public Administration, and “Outstanding Professional Achievement, Beta Gamma Sigma Honor Society" for the AACSB Accredited Business Programs. She was a member of the Faculty Senate Executive Committee and was the Alternate Statewide Academic Senator.

She is currently the President for the Beta Gamma Sigma Honor Society.

Loren J. Blanchard 

Loren J. Blanchard

Executive Vice Chancellor, Academic and Student Affairs, California State University, Office of the Chancellor

Dr. Loren J. Blanchard is the executive vice chancellor for Academic and Student Affairs for the California State University, the largest and most diverse four-year public higher education system in the nation.

In this capacity, Dr. Blanchard develops and oversees educational policy for the 23-campus system; guides and supports campus administrators on curricula, program design and student affairs; and serves as the chancellor's designee to the CSU's Academic Senate. He directs a team of more than 150 employees in 12 departments to drive student success, quality academic programming and faculty excellence in the CSU.

As executive vice chancellor, Dr. Blanchard leads the CSU's Graduation Initiative 2025, the university's ambitious effort to increase graduation rates for all CSU students while eliminating equity gaps. Through a comprehensive approach that includes reimagining developmental education, hiring additional faculty and improving student advising, the CSU is working to ensure that all students have the opportunity to be successful, producing the graduates needed to power California's future prosperity. Under Dr. Blanchard's leadership, Graduation Initiative 2025 is already showing promising results and completion rates are at all-time highs.

Prior to joining the CSU, Dr. Blanchard served as the provost and senior vice president of Academic Affairs at Xavier University of Louisiana, his alma mater. During his tenure at Xavier, the school earned an international reputation for student success.

Additionally, Dr. Blanchard was provost and senior vice president for Academic Affairs and vice president for accreditation, leadership and accountability within the University of Louisiana System.

Dr. Blanchard is widely published and is known for his research and scholarly articles addressing teacher education and educational strategies to support the success of students of color. Dr. Blanchard holds a bachelor's of science degree in speech pathology education with a minor in psychology from Xavier University; a master's of education in educational administration and supervision from McNeese State University; and a Ph.D. in education psychology from the University of Georgia.

Joseph I. Castro 

Joseph I. Castro

Chancellor-Select, California State University, Office of the Chancellor

Dr. Joseph I. Castro has been newly-appointed by th e California State University (CSU) Board of Trustees to serve as the eighth chancellor of the California State University. Dr. Castro has served as the eighth president of California State University, Fresno since 2013. He is the first California native and first Mexican American to be appointed to oversee the 23-campus university. Dr. Castro will succeed Dr. Timothy P. White who is retiring after leading the university since late 2012.

As president of Fresno State, Dr. Castro led the university to become a national leader in recruiting, supporting and graduating students from diverse backgrounds. Fresno State is routinely among the top public colleges in rankings issued by Washington Monthly, U.S. News and World Report and Money Magazine for its efforts to enhance student achievement as measured by graduation rates and social mobility. Dr. Castro is a respected scholar in the fields of higher education leadership and public policy and has mentored many other university presidents and other senior officers across the nation over the course of his career.

Prior to joining Fresno State, Dr. Castro served for 23 years in the University of California (UC) system, holding a variety of leadership positions culminating in roles of Vice Chancellor of Student Academic Affairs and Professor of Family and Community Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco.

Dr. Castro was born in California's San Joaquin Valley (Hanford). He is the grandson of immigrants from Mexico, son of a single mother and the first in his family to graduate from a university. He received his bachelor's in political science and a master's in public policy from the University of California, Berkeley and a Ph.D. in higher education policy and leadership from Stanford University. Dr. Castro has been recognized with alumni excellence awards from the University of California, Berkeley and Stanford University.

Kathryn Ervin 

Kathryn Ervin

Professor, Theatre Arts, Cal State San Bernardino

Kathryn Ervin is a Professor in the Department of Theatre Arts at California State University San Bernardino. She is a graduate of Wayne State University and Illinois State University. She teaches courses in Directing, Acting, Creative Drama and African American Theatre and Film and Culture.

She is a director and has directed drama's comedies and musicals. Recent work includes;  ROWING TO AMERICA, IN THE HEIGHTS, ONCE ON THIS ISLAND, and INVISIBLE a play based on The Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison and HG Wells. Her original production of the hip hop opera KEEP HEDZ RINGIN' by Rickerby Hinds was a finalist at the KCACTF in Utah and presented as part of the NYC Hip Hop Theatre Festival in 2002. She is the author with Ethel Pitts Walker of An African American Scenebook.

She is active in numerous professional organizations including the California Educational Theatre Association, the Association for Theatre in Higher Education and The California Arts Project. She is currently serving as Board Chair for Arts Connection, the San Bernardino County Arts Council.

She is a consultant and past president and received a Life Time Member Award for the Black Theatre Network, the national organization for artists, scholars and individuals with an interest in celebrating the beauty and complexity of black life onstage. She was recently inducted as a fellow in the Kennedy Center American Theatre College of Fellows.

Monica C. Lozano 

Monica C. Lozano

President and CEO, College Futures Foundation

Monica C. Lozano is President and Chief Executive Officer of College Futures Foundation, a California-based private foundation. College Futures Foundation partners with organizations and leaders across the state to catalyze systemic change, increase college degree completion, and close equity gaps so that educational opportunity becomes a reality for every student, regardless of skin color, zip code, or income. 

Prior to joining College Futures, Lozano spent thirty years in media twenty of these as editor and publisher of La Opinión, the country's leading Spanish language daily newspaper founded in Los Angeles by her grandfather in 1926. She went on to become CEO of the parent company, ImpreMedia until she retired from the business in 2017. Known for its award-winning editorial content, La Opinión is well established as a leader in coverage of issues important to the Latino community. Lozano guided the company through its evolution from a newspaper company into a multi-media content company while maintaining its core mission to inform, educate and empower the Latino community through relevant, unique, high quality content.

Lozano is a member of Governor Gavin Newsom's Task Force on Business and Jobs Recovery, as well as the California Higher Education Recovery with Equity Task Force. She served on the University of California Board of Regents for fifteen years including two as chair of the board, the University of Southern California Board of Trustees, the California State Board of Education and numerous corporate, civic, non-profit and philanthropic organizations over the years. 

She has received wide-ranging awards and distinctions including multiple honorary degrees, named one of Fortune Magazine's 50 Most Influential Latinas in the country, the Los Angeles Business Journal Business Person of the Year, and received Leadership California's 2018 “Trailblazer Award". In 2016, Lozano was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences​​

Roberto Soto 

Roberto Soto

Assistant Professor, Mathematics, Cal State Fullerton

Dr. Roberto Soto is an Assistant Professor of Mathematics and Math Education at California State University Fullerton.  He earned his BS in Math and Master's in Education at UCLA, received an MA in Mathematics at California State University San Bernardino, and his PhD at the University of Iowa. Dr. Soto's experience teaching mathematics is broad, having taught at the secondary, community college, and university levels. He has been involved in the professional development of mathematics teachers at the San Bernardino City Unified School District and his research interests include incorporating technology in the classroom, implementing active learning strategies in math, and the representation theory of groups and algebras and their applications.

Cherokee White 

Cherokee White

Artist & San Francisco State Alumna

Cherokee White is a proud Bay Area native whose passion has always been in storytelling. She has a BA in Theatre Arts from San Francisco State University with a minor in Cultural Anthropology. Her points of educational focus are reflective of her goal and belief of using theatre and film's platform to tell the stories of the voiceless and marginalized and use it as a cultural tool. An aspiring actress, writer and executive producer, Cherokee wants to use her work to promote a wider variety of stories and representation within communities of color. She hopes to not only effectively reflect our current times, but challenge us to dream up better ones.

Timothy P. White 

Timothy P. White

Chancellor, California State University, Office of the Chancellor

Dr. Timothy P. White is chancellor of the California State University, one of the largest and most diverse systems of higher education in the United States. As chancellor, Dr. White leads a university of 23 campuses and a global community of 481,000 students, 53,000 faculty and staff and more than 3.7 million alumni.

As the seventh chancellor to lead the CSU, Dr. White is a champion of inclusive excellence and student success, and a proponent of bringing individualized education to scale through the expansion of proven best practices. The CSU is also positioned as a state and national leader in promoting and protecting federal Title IX rights, environmental sustainability and diversity, which is reflected in the CSU's diverse campus leadership.

Dr. White also leads the CSU as it implements Graduation Initiative 2025, an ambitious systemwide plan to increase graduation rates, decrease time to degree and eliminate achievement gaps for all students by recruiting more faculty, hiring more advisors and student-support staff, providing new tools and adding thousands of classes over the next decade.

Prior to joining the CSU, Dr. White held senior academic and administrative positions at the University of Michigan, Oregon State University, University of Idaho, and at University of California campuses in Berkeley and Riverside.

Dr. White deeply believes in and is a product of California's Master Plan for Higher Education, having pursued his higher education from Diablo Valley Community College, Fresno State, California State University, East Bay and the University of California, Berkeley. Like many CSU students and alumni, Dr. White was the first in his family to attend college and earn a degree.


Please contact us at GradInitiative2025@calstate.edu