First generation Director Britt Ortiz resigns

Campus Times
March 13, 1998


by Araceli Esparza
Features Editor

Following little more than a year and a half as the First Generation Student Success Program (FGSSP) full-time director, Britt Ortiz has resigned to pursue an opportunity at California State University, Northridge.

Effective today, Ortiz, who began his work with the University of La Verne in August 1996, will leave his Student Resource Center office and move into a new office at CSUN.

Beginning March 23, he will be employed full-time by Northridge as the assistant director of the school's Student Outreach and Recruitment Services.

"I received a job offer from Cal State, Northridge, and I'm going back to the same office," said Ortiz, who was an administrator for Northridge prior to his employment at ULV.

Ortiz received this offer nearly three weeks ago.

According to Ludim De Manzano, director of Student Outreach and Recruitment Services at Northridge, Ortiz will occupy a position which has been vacant for nine months.

"I was highly-recruited by staff and the director of the office there to return as the assistant director of Student Outreach and Recruitment Services," Ortiz said.

He said his new position entails special efforts toward the recruitment of younger groups into college.

He will be responsible for overseeing the high school and early-outreach level (grades K-12) efforts of Northridge. He will also assist in the enrollment of the first-time students.

"That includes EOP (Educational Opportunity Program) students, first generation students, honors students, graduate students, information services, all the information that is disseminating to people who inquire about Cal State Northridge and their programs," he said.

"It's an opportunity which has come his way that sounds good for him," said Dr. Len Hightower, executive assistant to the president and Ortiz's supervisor. "He will be hard to replace."

Meanwhile, De Manzano anticipates Ortiz's arrival with enthusiasm.

"He [Ortiz] is really going to enrich the staff with his creativity, problem-solving and marketing skills," said De Manzano. "I think he will take the program well into the future."

Sophomore Fabiola Ochoa, an international studies major, is part of Ortiz's staff.

She said, "He is a good role model for many of us, and is easy to approach. Around the office we call him 'The Man.' "

In a memorandum addressed to FGSSP students and families, Ortiz stated that he will "continue to assist the program in a limited, part-time capacity on an as- needed basis through March."

This includes helping in the transition and training of a new director of the program, as well as "assisting with the coordination of the upcoming events and activities and lend support during the transition process and training of a replacement."

"We have formed a small committee which consists of Ruby Montaño-Cordova [associate dean of student affairs], Mary Prieto-Bayard [associate professor of behavioral science] and myself, to replace Britt," said Dr. Hightower.

"There's a discussion going on with a task force convened by Len Hightower to come up with some strategies and solutions for the replacement of directorship," said Ortiz. "There's several considerations being looked at -- including campus staff."

Dr. Hightower confirmed that several campus staff members have indicated interest in the position, which is "a positive sign."

"It's hard to find a suitable replacement within a short time period," he said. "We're looking for someone with a solid background who has a heart for this type of program and who can share in the vision we have."

"He is a good person to work with and will always be there, no matter what," said Ochoa. "I will definitely miss him."

Dr. Hightower said, "I'm going to miss everything about Britt. I am happy for him personally, because this opportunity is a good one for him. I wish him the best."

"Find out what people need or want as the first person to go to college," Ortiz said, regarding goals his successor should strive for. "Create or continue services to enhance that experience and research -- be investigative."