Dr. Eugene (Gene) García is a Professor Emeritus at Arizona State University (ASU). From 2002-2006, he was the dean of the Mary Lou Fulton College of Education on the Tempe campus. From 2006-2011, he was professor and vice president for education partnerships at ASU. Before joining ASU, he served as professor and dean of the Graduate School of Education at the University of California, Berkeley (1995-2001). He has served as a postdoctoral fellow in human development at Harvard University and as a National Research Council Fellow. He has been a recipient of a National Kellogg Leadership Fellowship and received numerous academic and public honors. Gene served as a faculty member at the University of Utah, the University of California, Santa Barbara, Arizona State University and the University of California, Santa Cruz. He has served previously as a national research center director, an academic department chair on two occasions, and as dean of the Social Sciences Division at University of California, Santa Cruz.
Gene has published extensively in the area of language teaching and bilingual development authoring and/or co-authoring over 200 articles and book chapters along with 14 books and monographs. He holds leadership positions in professional organizations and continues to serve in an editorial capacity for psychological, linguistic and educational journals and serves regularly as a proposal panel reviewer for federal, state and foundation agencies. He served as a senior officer in the U.S. Department of Education (1993-1995). He is conducting research in the areas of effective schooling for linguistically and culturally diverse student populations and has chaired the National Task Force on Early Education for Hispanics funded by the Foundation for Child Development.
Coming from a large, rural, Spanish speaking family, Gene’s passion for early childhood education comes in the form of helping to change the narrative around English language learners. Throughout his years in the field, Gene has worked towards encouraging educators to not dismiss students’ cultural background and experiences but to augment their learning environment in order to enhance the assets they come in the classroom with. Since students continue to learn outside of the classroom, Gene expresses how parents and communities should be partners in a child’s learning endeavors and the value of healthy communication between educators, families, and communities. Through his experience as dean, Gene explains how teaching programs should be a clinical enterprise, where students can learn from successful quality programs combined with quality academics to understand how and why such programs work well. In the future, Gene hopes to see an education system that not only embraces multilingualism but promotes it in students and educators.
“I think what we had to do, overall, is to understand what they came with and then add to what they came with.”
“Do the kind of work that links, essentially, what we know about neurophysiology, neuro development, and those things that we now call cognition and language.”
“We learn a lot by watching others. We learn a lot by imitating others. We learn a lot by trying to understand why the individuals who are successful are such.”