Dean Luis Montenegro: “I work with people committed to serve our students.”
As an academic, Dr. Luis Montenegro studied the stability of spiral galaxies. As the Dean of Academic Affairs at Bronx Community College, his concerns are more down to earth.
“We want to be responsive to the needs of the college community,” says Dean Montenegro. “Ultimately we want to make sure that our graduates are ready to meet the expectations of their employers or continue their education at the baccalaureate level.”
Born in Nicaragua, Dean Montenegro immigrated to Los Angeles with his family when he was almost 15. “By the time of my senior year in high school, I was taking advanced placement classes, including AP physics and AP calculus.”
Those classes were a harbinger of the academic career awaiting him. “After two years of community college, I was accepted at MIT.” He did his graduate work at City College, where he got his master’s and his Ph.D. and began a lifelong association with The City University of New York.
While he was finishing his doctorate, he was hired as an astronomy instructor at BCC. Beginning as a Lecturer, Dean Montenegro rose to Chairperson of what is now the Department of Engineering, Physics and Technology from 2005 to 2012. He was then appointed Interim Associate Dean for Curricular Matters , followed by his present position in July of 2015.
“Currently one of the major challenges of the college is dealing with the disruption of the pandemic. One of the units that reports to me, the Center for Teaching, Learning and Technology, worked with expert faculty mentors to train hundreds of faculty to teach online in Summer 2020 to prepare for a fully online college in Fall 2020.”
Among Dr. Montenegro’s many other responsibilities:
- “I am part of a planning group for grants. I provide support whenever there are issues regarding data, financial analysis and so on.
- “We plan, under the direction of the Provost and coordination with academic departments and the Registrar’s Office, all the course schedules that are launched every semester.”
- “The Office of Academic Personnel Administration and Workload, under Director Michele Siegel, oversees the the hiring and reappointment of 200 to 400 adjuncts every semester.
Dean Montenegro gets involved in other aspects of campus initiatives as they come up.
“Currently I am part of a working group reevaluating the process of faculty promotions in response to a survey of BCC faculty of color. We have a very diverse faculty, but we want to be mindful of that diversity when we have new hires. We want to make sure that that is reflected at all ranks.”
“One of the things I appreciate most about BCC is the opportunity to work with people who are really talented and really committed to the college and our students. Everything I’ve been able to do is because of the teams I work with. It’s a shared accomplishment.”