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APLU Staff Profile, Director of International, Community, and Economic Engagement Alvaro J. Muñiz

Image of AlvaroName: Alvaro J. Muñiz
Department: International, Community, and Economic Engagement
Title: Director
Date you joined APLU: March 1, 2022

Why did you want to work at APLU? Public and land-grant universities are the true gems of higher education in the world. They’ve provided economic mobility to millions of students while serving as drivers of economic opportunity, innovation, and scholarship in the United States. At APLU I get to collaborate with these universities to craft the direction of higher education.

What education or work experience had the greatest impact on you? When I first started working at the Miami-Dade Board of County Commissioners, I had the opportunity to work with Florida International University on engagement and outreach efforts in the community. I saw first-hand the impact a public university could have on the community, economy, and workforce.

What motivates you to work in higher education? My parents arrived in the United States as exiles from Cuba in the early 1960s and were first-generation college students. My father worked various jobs while attending community college, graduated at the top of his engineering class at the University of Florida, and later received an MBA from Florida International University. My mother ran a small business with her brother during the day, attended night classes at Miami Dade Community College, and later graduated with her Bachelors in Business Administration from Florida International University.

Higher education provided opportunity and economic mobility to my family when they first arrived in this country and I want to ensure that college students can continue accessing these opportunities.

What’s the biggest change public university leaders can expect in 5-10 years? The rise of postgraduate certificates, lifelong learning opportunities, Bachelors and Masters degrees built upon stackable credentials, And the influx of adult learners seeking to translate their career experience into academic credits.

What was the last TV show you couldn’t get enough of? I absolutely love Succession! I love how it’s a dark comedy disguised as a prestige drama. No to mention they have the best theme song ever, it’s the only time I never press “Skip Intro”.

What’s the last book you read? College Disrupted by Ryan Craig. It’s about the future of higher education and a blueprint for how colleges must adapt to serve the majority of students, particularly in terms of graduation and employment.

What’s the first thing you do when you look at your phone in the morning? Look at my emails, particularly the USPS Informed Delivery Email. There’s no bigger morning rush than seeing if I’m going to receive a bill, a credit card offer, a donation request, an Amazon package, or nothing at all. It’s a daily surprise grab bag.

What’s your secret talent? In my free time, I enjoy painting abstract art. I picked up this hobby about six years ago. I was even surprised since I never received good grades in art class.

  • Economic Development & Community Engagement
  • International Programs

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