As a high school and college student, William Franklin, interim vice president for Enrollment Management and Student Affairs at California State University, Dominguez Hills (CSUDH), learned firsthand how academic enrichment programs such as Upward Bound and the Educational Opportunity Program (EOP) can improve student success. He credits his participation in Upward Bound during the 10th grade for “salvaging his dreams.”
Those experiences have had a significant impact on Franklin’s professional career. As interim vice president, he serves as CSUDH President Willie J. Hagan’s chief adviser on student affairs issues, while working with academic and administrative units in the development of comprehensive enrollment strategies that guide the university in preparing and graduating its diverse student body.
However, it is his record of cultivating existing and developing new comprehensive programs for underserved students—which he began in prior positions at the university—that have earned him The Wang Family Excellence Award for 2015. The awards are established through a gift from CSU Trustee Emeritus Stanley T. Wang and administered through the CSU Foundation. The prestigious award, which includes $20,000 for each of the five award recipients, recognizes outstanding faculty members and one outstanding staff member who have “distinguished themselves by exemplary contributions and achievements.” The Wang awards will be presented during the CSU Board of Trustees meeting on Jan. 27.
“I was overwhelmed when President Hagan nominated me. When I learned that I was selected, I was floored and humbled. It has always been important for me to give back to the CSU system that provided so much for me during my undergraduate trek at CSU Northridge,” said Franklin. “This honor and recognition means a lot and I will continue to pay it forward.”
Franklin earned both his bachelor’s degree in psychology and master’s in educational psychology from CSU Northridge and received his doctorate in psychological studies in education with an emphasis in child and adolescent development from Stanford University.
He has taught as an associate professor in child and family studies at CSU Los Angeles, and in human development at the Center of Collaborative Education and Professional Studies at CSU Monterey Bay. While there, he also served as interim director of the Liberal Studies Institute. Franklin has also taught at Stanford and Santa Clara University. His research interests include adolescent development, child development, African-American family, early childhood themes and life cycle issues, adolescent risk and resilience, at-risk youth, juvenile justice, and positive youth development.
Franklin arrived at CSUDH in 2007 as director of the EOP and TRIO programs. The federal TRIO grant program provides a variety of services for individuals from first-generation and disadvantaged backgrounds, while the EOP helps meet the needs of students who demonstrate the aptitude to succeed at a university but may not meet admission requirements.
“I first met Dr. Franklin when I was 15 while attending Alta Loma High School. He led the effort to start a support group for black and Latino males to help us prepare for and go to college,” said Bobby Whetstone, an accounting major at CSUDH. “Dr. Franklin met me after school at a Starbucks where we would review my course work and he advised me on courses and getting good grades so I could be admitted to college. He told me about the EOP program and that I would qualify for it. No one in my high school—the guidance counselors or anyone—had ever done that for me.”
Two years later, Franklin’s success as director of EOP and TRIO paved the way for a new appointment as associate vice president (AVP) of Student Success Services. In that role he led divisional planning and policy formulation, and collaborated with the broader campus community and local communities on issues related to educational equity, access, student learning, assessment, retention and graduation.
“Dr. Franklin is an outstanding administrator who has had an extraordinary impact on the success of our students. His passion, dedication, and unbridled commitment have empowered thousands of first generation students and students from underserved communities to gain the knowledge, skills, and behaviors necessary to access and succeed in higher education,” said CSUDH President Willie J. Hagan. “Dr. Franklin also has been instrumental in developing programs and initiatives targeted at increasing student success. Several of the programs he has been involved with have become models of best practices for other colleges and universities.”
As AVP, Franklin also spearheaded the launch and directed the development of programs supporting academic achievement of underrepresented students, including the Encounter to Excellence (ETE) program, Gear Up, Upward Bound and Upward Bound Math and Science to help strengthen middle and high school students’ academic readiness for higher learning. Last year, CSUDH’s ETE Bridge Program received the 2014 Promising Practices Award from the Student Affairs Professionals in Higher Education association.
Franklin also designed and provided leadership for the implementation of the award-winning Student Success Bridge Initiative at CSUDH for first-generation and low-income students, which has grown from 100 students in 2009 to more than 700 incoming freshmen in spring 2015.
“Dr. Franklin excels in providing strategic leadership and establishing policies, programs and initiatives targeted at increasing student success. He has been instrumental in designing and implementing comprehensive programs yielding impressive results and serving as a model of best practices for other colleges and universities,” said Hagan.
Franklin also created and launched the Male Success Alliance (MSA) on campus, an innovative high school completion and college access and graduation program that provides academic support, mentoring, professional development and civic engagement for male students of color at CSUDH. The program reaches more than 650 students annually in low-performing high schools throughout the region.
“I believe that Dr. William Franklin is among the top 10 percent of administrators in the country who effectively lead efforts to improve student learning and success—from enrollment to graduation,” said Alma Clayton-Pedersen, senior scholar at the Association of American Colleges and Universities. “He has clearly had a discernible effect on students and the broader education learning community.”
Franklin was also instrumental in securing close to $12 million in federal, corporate and private grants to help fund the new programs and designed and implement other initiatives for low-income and first generation students.
He continues to expand his reach on and off campus as interim vice president. He serves as co-chair of the Strategic Planning Committee, which enables him to play an integral role in fulfilling the university’s mission of fostering academic success for its students. Franklin also works directly with civic leaders and school districts on the development of outreach programs, like the MSA, for non-traditional and underserved student groups.
“Your zip code and income status should not determine your outcome. That is why I am most proud of having a hand in creating the Male Success Alliance,” said Franklin. “As a poor and first-generation African American male growing up in South Los Angeles, I needed someone to believe that I was more at-promise for success than at-risk for failure. MSA is one of those programs that speak to the promise of young men of color in this region.”