Colgate is committed to developing a community in which students, faculty, and staff are supported as critical thinkers and perspective leaders who value all forms of intellectual rigor and respect the complexity of human understanding. Diversity and inclusivity are
among the highest priorities for members of the Colgate family.
As Associate Dean of Campus Life, Thomas Cruz-Soto provides, executive leadership and oversight for the Center for Leadership and Student Involvement (CLSI), ALANA Cultural Center, Office of Fraternity and Sororities, and the Office of LGBTQ services and programming.
Dean Cruz-Soto, further assists the dean of the college in developing an inclusive campus that values, supports, and affirms each member of the community. The associate dean works collaboratively with the office of human resources, the university provost, vice president for equity and diversity, senior compliance director for equity and inclusion, the vice-president for finance & administration, university president, board of trustee members, and other dean of the college departments to recruit and support a diverse staff and faculty and is instrumental in shaping campus diversity initiatives, assessments, and programming for students, faculty, and staff.
Cruz-Soto earned his bachelor's degree in secondary education with a minor in latin american studies in 1998 from Muhlenberg College in Allentown, Pennsylvania. In 2004, he secured his master's degree in higher education administration from Rowan University, in Glassboro, New Jersey. Currently, Cruz-Soto is back at Rowan University in the college of graduate and continuing education (CGCE) program earning his doctorate in education leadership with an anticipated graduation date of May, 2015.
Recently, Cruz-Soto has completed a (72) credit certificate with Cornell University’s diversity management certification (ILR) program. The internal labor relations program and human capital development (HCD) program at Cornell University's (ILR) school examines business challenges to deliver practical, results-based learning. HCD works at the intersection of social science and business practice to build individual and organizational capability.
Cruz-Soto has also created a partnership with Skidmore College’s intergroup dialogue program (IGR) led by Dr. Kristie Ford, who is the director of the intergroup relations program, director of intercultural studies, and associate professor of sociology at Skidmore College. This program will seek to educate all members of the Colgate community with in the workforce and student population on issues of race, class, gender, and social inequities.
Intergroup relations (IGR) is a nationally recognized social justice academic, credit-bearing program that originated at the University of Michigan (UM) in 1988 as a means of addressing racial tension. IGR's primary goal is to support student learning and competencies around inter- and intra-group relations, conflict, and social justice across a range of social identities.
Cruz-Soto is serving as lead administrator on the diverse learning environments survey (DLE), for all sophomores and juniors at Colgate University. The DLE is a module that captures student perceptions regarding the institutional climate, campus practices as experienced with faculty, staff, and peers, and student learning outcomes. Their experiences are at the center of the survey and the instrument is based on studies of diverse student bodies and the complexity of issues that range from student mobility to intergroup relations. This survey was created by Dr. Sylvia Hurtado, director of the higher education research institute and professor at UCLA’s graduate school of education and information studies.
Cruz-Soto chose to pursue a degree in higher education because he is passionate about working with youth and impacting the lives of young people. Born in an inner-city, (Camden, New Jersey) from a poor socioeconomic background, Cruz-Soto has benefited greatly from pre-college programs that pushed him towards higher education.
As a national spokesperson (1989-1996) for the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), he led a drug free schools campaign in Camden, New Jersey for over 7 years, known as Network #3. As a student ambassador, he spoke with thousands of youth nation wide along side the Attorney General of the United States Janet Reno, about the harmful effects of drugs and alcohol abuse.
Cruz-Soto also served 10 years as academic counselor, coordinator, and executive director of pre-college (Gaining Early Awareness for College Readiness and Undergraduate Programs) GEAR UP programs in New Jersey. He also served as vice president of the College Bound Association of New Jersey, Inc. from 2003-2006. In 2006, he was awarded “The Distinguished Community Service Award” from his home town of Camden, New Jersey for over 10 years of outreach to local youth. In 2008, he received “The Building Bridges Award” for his work as a first-year employee in the Dean of the College division at Colgate University.
Cruz-Soto was honored in receiving the Deans Merit Award for Diversity (May 18, 2014). This award honors a dean of the college administrator who promotes and enhances Colgate University’s diversity-related initiatives. This individual fosters authentic dialogue to formally and informally engage the entire campus community to value difference and advocate for greater understanding of the strength found in our diversity and is the highest award at the institution for diversity work and is voted on by the Dean of the College, staff, and all other Deans at the institution.
Cruz-Soto is a diversity champion and has made an impact throughout his life positively influencing the lives of young people both on a domestic and global scale.