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Soza helps expand ASU outreach in key areas

September 14, 2006

Robert Soza, a longtime ASU administrator and Valley educator, has moved into an expanded role at ASU to advance the New American University and its agenda of access, excellence and impact.

Soza, senior associate vice president for university student initiatives, will work in tandem with the Center for Community Development and Civil Rights to broaden ASU's reach in key strategic areas within Maricopa County and across the state.

Soza's work will include providing institutional leadership and support for outreach efforts and other initiatives launched by the Center for Community Development and Civil Rights, with the goal of expanding the university's reach into the larger community. He will take the lead role in helping establish and position several initiatives sponsored by the Center for Community Development and Civil Rights.

One of the first initiatives is the Parent Institute for Quality Education (PIQE), a community-based program that teaches low-income and ethnically diverse parents how to improve the home and school educational environment of their children. Parents learn how to collaborate with teachers, counselors and principals, navigate the school system and prepare their children for postsecondary education.

Since its inception in 1987 in California, PIQE has graduated more than 350,000 parents from its nine-week program, and several studies have found the curriculum to be effective in increasing school retention, reducing the dropout rate and connecting students to college.

In the initial year, PIQE is planned for the following school districts: Mesa, Wilson, Isaac and Phoenix Elementary. PIQE will be rolled out in additional areas after the first phase.

Raul Yzaguirre, director of the Center for Community Development and Civil Rights and professor of practice in ASU's College of Public Programs, serves on the PIQE national advisory council and has championed the goals of PIQE since his days as president and chief executive officer of the National Council of La Raza (NCLR), where he endorsed the program as a national model for parental involvement.

“We are pleased that the university has decided to support the Center for Community Development and Civil Rights by supporting PIQE in Arizona,” Yzaguirre says. “Bob Soza is highly regarded in the community, and his help will immeasurably improve our ability to launch this program, as well as others, in Arizona.”

Soza's responsibilities also will include expanding awareness of – and access to – ASU, and broadening the Access ASU agenda set forth by the university over the past year. The goal of Access ASU is to increase the number of Arizona students enrolling at ASU, as well as to boost university resources within the Arizona community.

Jim Rund, ASU's vice president for university student initiatives, voiced pleasure that Soza will be leading several efforts on behalf of the university.

“With his experience in school and university administration, as well as his leadership in the community, Bob is uniquely positioned to broker new and critical partnerships with schools, community agencies, business and industry,” Rund says. “These partnerships will insure a significant level of involvement by the community in enhancing educational attainment for Arizona youths.”