Honoring Dr. Cristóbal Rodríguez


Dr. Cristóbal Rodríguez

Assistant Professor of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies

Howard University

Washington, DC

Dr. Cristóbal Rodríguez is currently in his third year as an Assistant Professor of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies in the School of Education at Howard University in Washington DC, where “the goal is the elimination of inequities related to race, color, social, economic and political circumstances”. Prior to residing at Howard University, Dr. Rodriguez spent five years at his B.A. and M.A. degreed alma mater of New Mexico State University as in assistant professor of Educational Leadership and Administration. Dr. Rodríguez received his Ph.D. in Educational Policy & Planning at The University of Texas at Austin in 2009, with an emphasis on education research, evaluation, and policy analysis with a social and cultural historical focus. Prior to his doctoral studies, Dr. Rodriguez has worked in high school and university settings enhancing college access and success for diverse students. Being born and raised in the Texas Borderlands of El Paso under hard-working immigrant parents from Mexico, and studying in Germany as a U.S. Congress-German Bundestag scholar has shaped the world views and research of Dr. Rodríguez. Dr. Rodríguez’ research centers on diverse demographics and explores how policy and leadership influence equity and access for diverse populations throughout the educational pipeline.

Why did you choose to become a professor?

Simply put, in order to have a greater sphere of influence on improving the conditions and educational experiences of diverse students and communities, we must play a critical role in shaping both educational leaders, systems, and policies that achieve equal and fair educational outcomes.

What resources (programs, tools, etc.) were available to you throughout your journey into teaching?

While I have been trained as a teacher, and have worked as a high school teacher that laid a foundation for engaging students in the classroom, my greatest tool for teaching is constantly reflecting on a daily basis on connecting the dots with my students, meaning how our work connects to improving the education of diverse children. From today’s course syllabi, whether online or face-to-face delivery, my engagement with students is always about envisioning their leadership and scholarship to achieve the same connecting of dots, from our work to the education of children.

What do you love about teaching?

When students and teacher(s) express their emotions and passions when making sense of the current inequities in their own spaces and organizations, there is this amazing moment of empowerment where we see ourselves as leaders or advocates, or as scholar practitioners, that believe in their own efforts to improve the education of diverse students and move towards equal and fair educational outcomes.

When you were a student, was there a great teacher who inspired you?

First, I continue to enjoy being a student today when learning with my students and colleagues. Second, I have had numerous inspiring teachers, through my elementary, middle, and high school experiences in El Paso, Texas from the beautiful Borderlands, as an exchange student from the teachers at the Dominican catholic gymnasium, as an undergraduate and master’s student of my first alma mater of New Mexico State University, and the scholars at The University of Texas at Austin on becoming a scholar myself. While, I have had great teachers reflecting various philosophies and identities, there are particularly numerous Chicana/o teachers that have shaped who I am today, and have been critical to my own identity and knowledge because of who they are.