Fran Lozano, Dean of Liberal Arts and Sciences, retires from Gavilan Collegeby Jan Janes on Jul 12, 2019
After nearly a quarter century working with the college, Fran Lozano has retired as dean of Liberal Arts and Sciences.
Dean of Kinesiology Ron Hannon and Dean of Liberal Arts and Sciences
Fran Lozano as faculty welcomed Gavilan’s graduates in May 2019.
During her time at Gavilan she wore many hats, filled many roles, rose to every challenge and encouraged others to bring their best ideas to improve the lives of students. “At the heart of everything is working with students,” said Lozano, “We work to give them opportunities to learn and have better lives.”
“If you remember that, everything else falls into place.”
Arriving at Gavilan in 1995, Lozano had been teaching in area colleges for a number of years. She became English department chair shortly after her arrival, then was tapped as Dean of Liberal Arts and Sciences in 2002.
“I was teaching English and film classes, chairing the English department and chairing the college technology committee,” she said. “Three jobs. The dean was one position, not three.” And, finishing with her legendary wit, “In retrospect, perhaps naïve.”
Lozano credits the department chairs within the division in making the job of dean possible. “This is a beautiful community to work in, with people who are committed to education,” she said. “It makes it an inspiring place to work.”
Dr. Kathleen Rose, Superintendent/President of Gavilan, offered her view of Lozano’s contributions. “As Fran ends her tenure at Gavilan College, we close a chapter of service and dedication to students that others will build upon with a fondness and sense of professionalism that is unsurpassed,” she said. She noted Lozano’s pursuit of student success was demonstrated by mentoring faculty, innovating programs and building an environment for deep learning.
“We are thrilled for Fran in her retirement,” said Rose, “Knowing that we have learned from her, and that her work will continue in the mission of Gavilan College in the future.”
Through the years Lozano built and guided programs as pressure came from downturns in the economy, directives arrived from the state and funding opened new opportunities.
GavFest was an early project bringing the community to the college for a full day of interactive experiences. Bach to Blues, a standing room only annual fund raising event for the music department, combined musicians across all genres. It has recently been revamped to invite musical headliners to open the event.
Maria Amirkhanian, music instructor and co-chair of the Fine Arts Department,
with Fran Lozano during the spring musical fund raiser, Bach to Blues.
An arts advocate, Lozano built the film program at Gavilan. After becoming dean, she worked with new instructor Grant Richards to create a smooth transition. The film classes continue to draw capacity classes each term. For ten years she also produced and hosted “Art Is Essential” on GAV TV Channel 18, inviting artists from all disciplines to share their work.
Working to give students more learning opportunities, Lozano collaborated with faculty and key staff to build basic skills programs for pre-transfer utilizing BSSOT funding.
“There was a lot of education going on in the state,” she said, “Lots of trainings, and we were investigating what was effective.”
Programs changed curriculum and pedagogy, added tutoring services and other basic programs.
“With Title V Early Alert, any place to implement new strategies insured students more success.”
The innovative Success Center was a place students could go to get help, use computers, talk with counselors and form study groups. “This was a happy development,” said Lozano, “It’s really about building community, places people could meet up.”
Computer labs proliferated in the Student Success Center, the Student Center and ASGC.
Looking at the needs of mathematics and science, Gavilan applied and was awarded its first STEM grant in 2010.
“The microscopes in biology were so old, we could update them with the grant,” she said. “We could get new models and slides for chemistry and physics, new tools that didn’t exist before.” The grant money created opportunities for STEM tutoring and internships.
“This was a game changer,” said Lozano. “Students can intern, actually work in an area of science and discover their strengths and career paths.” Students returned to their studies with more focus because they had worked in the field, found mentors and saw where they were headed.
A second STEM grant allowed the program to build out further, establish a summer symposium and extend relationships to more universities and institutions with math and science research.
STEM III, the third grant, was unexpected. Lozano guided the grant writing team, encouraged cross-discipline collaboration in small groups and defined what the program needed to move forward. In a rare call-out, the awarding body revealed that Gavilan College had earned all the points.
"Fran has been an amazing dean," said Marla Dresch, STEM Program Director. "She led us through the expansion of our natural science department, ushered us through three STEM grants, and could be counted on to present faculty’s viewpoints to administration."
With an additional BSSOT grant, the college applied funds to acceleration programs in both math and English.
In 2017 Lozano brought back the news about AB 705, the changes the state expected, and how quickly. “After I got the double take of what, when?” she said, “Everyone was ready for it and started working toward the changes.”
Lozano’s decision to retire was met with an outpouring of affection earned by a leader, listener and innovator across more than two decades of educational change. Her farewell party at a popular restaurant was packed, and the carpet to her office worn thinner by all the people dropping by in the final weeks to say goodbye.
The English department, insisting it loves her best, created a goodbye book of memories spanning Lozano’s time at the college. A copy of the book is in residence at Christina Salvin’s office, and people can stop by to read it.
On every page, colleagues across campus described Lozano as a mentor, inspirational, ESL supporter, amazing, supportive, insightful. In it they penned songs, haiku and letters of thanks.
“Fran Lozano has been an incredible dean,” said Salvin, echoing her colleagues. “Through her years of leadership in hiring and mentoring, Fran deserves much credit for what is great about Gavilan.” Previously the students at off-site campuses were not perceived as college bound. Those sites have now transitioned into transfer-oriented hubs.
“She deserves much credit for creating a working environment in which faculty feel supported and respected,” said Salvin.
“Going forward, let’s not forget how one person, Fran Lozano, contributed to who we are and who we should be.”
Asked, ‘what next?’ Lozano had a ready answer. “I’m excited I can now do different things,” she said. “Time with the grandchildren especially.”
Always the global traveler, she has plans for a trip to Norway this fall.