Elizabeth Boretz, Assistant Vice President for Academic Affairs-Academic Outreach, California State University Fullerton
Dr. Elizabeth Boretz earned her Ph.D. in Romance Languages at the University of Washington and began her faulty career and earned tenure in a public liberal arts university in the 1990’s. There she became intrigued by the diverse needs and life issues that held her students back from fulfilling their potential. This led Dr. Boretz to return to graduate school. She earned a Master of Arts degree in Higher Education/Student Affairs from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln ten years after she began her faculty career. From there, she made a career change to Director of the Calvin E. Bright Student Success Center, when she joined the Founding Team of the University of California-Merced, which opened in 2005. For ten years there she captured grant funds to establish and grow programs in peer mentoring, learning support, special populations support (Undocumented; underrepresented students; transfer and adult learners), academic advising and many academic partnerships. In 2016 she joined the team at California State University-Fullerton as the inaugural Assistant Vice President for Student Success. She led initiatives to build a collaborative, cross-divisional model for holistic academic advising. For seven years she implemented a variety of procedural innovations to remove obstacles to Student Success. It was during this time that she and her team proposed the discontinuation of criminally charged “Academic Probation” language. In April 2023 Dr. Boretz transitioned to a new role, building partnerships to improve the success of transfer students, Assistant Vice President for Academic Affairs-Academic Outreach.
Catherine Rivas, Assistant Director of College Readiness Programs, California State University Fullerton
Cathy Rivas began her journey in higher education as a first-generation, low-income, and underrepresented minority student at the University of California-Santa Barbara. There, she experienced academic challenges including probation and disqualification, which unexpectedly had a positive impact on her pursuit of a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology and Applied Psychology. Feeling inspired to transform the trajectory of students from similar backgrounds, Cathy proceeded to earn her Master of Arts degree in Educational Counseling and Pupil Personal Services Credential from California State University-Dominguez Hills. She started her career providing high school counseling, where she focused primarily on encouraging students of low socio-economic status to apply for college. In 2010, after wondering how her students would remain supported post-high school, Cathy shifted her attention to institutions of higher education and began working as an Academic Advisor. Since joining California State University-Fullerton in 2014, she has led innovative campus efforts to minimize administrative barriers and create a sustainable support system for students experiencing academic challenges, including probation (notice) and disqualification. In 2021, Cathy originated RESET, a successful introspective and empowering program for students on Academic Notice. Beginning March 2023, Cathy transitioned to a new role as the inaugural Assistant Director of College Readiness Programs, focusing on high school-to-college and first-year preparedness.
Oleg Bespalov, Dean of Institutional Effectiveness, PACE, and Marketing, Moorpark College
Oleg Bespalov is currently the Dean of Institutional Effectiveness, PACE, and Marketing at Moorpark College. Prior to joining Moorpark College, Oleg provided leadership for institutional effectiveness at Taft College, Pierce College, UniversityNow, and the San JoséEvergreen Community College District. Oleg also held research positions at Bridgepoint Education, Temple University, Princeton University, and ETS. Oleg got a head start on college through the Bucks County Community College dual enrollment program, and completed a BA and MBA from La Salle University.