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Carmen Zuniga Dunlap with Fullerton Mayor Sharon Quirk

Carmen Zuniga Dunlap, right, associate dean of Cal State Fullerton’s College of Education, and Fullerton Mayor Sharon Quirk, an elementary school teacher and Cal State Fullerton alumna, at the 2007 Women in Leadership event hosted by the mayor.

Leader in Education

Carmen Zuniga Dunlap Honored at 'Women in Leadership Event'

February 11, 2008

By Debra Cano Ramos

Carmen Zuniga Dunlap started her career as an elementary school teacher, and today, has come full circle in her field as the associate dean of the College of Education.

Considered a leader in education by her peers, Zuniga Dunlap was an honoree and guest speaker at the 2007 Women in Leadership event hosted by Fullerton Mayor Sharon Quirk, an elementary school teacher and Cal State Fullerton alumna. At the December event, Zuniga Dunlap talked about how she developed as a professional and a leader.

“Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think about becoming an associate dean. I’m appreciative that at Cal State Fullerton, I’ve had the opportunity to develop skills and serve in capacities that I never imagined for myself, ” said Zuniga Dunlap, who joined the university in 1989. She later chaired the Department of Elementary and Bilingual Education and rose to associate dean in 2004, the same year the college was founded.

A researcher, author and one-time columnist, Zuniga Dunlap noted that every woman has the abilities and talents to achieve. “To my surprise, one of the abilities I’ve had the chance to develop is leadership abilities,” she said.

During her career, Zuniga Dunlap has focused on language and literacy development, especially with second-language learners, and preparing teachers for working with diverse students. She was a bilingual teacher in Illinois, Arizona and Mexico, and also taught English learners in Brazil and the West Indies.

“I’ve traveled a lot and having the opportunity to work in other countries as a professional, in large part, has helped shape who I am today,” she said, noting that her mother also was a teacher. She credits her parents for giving her the support and inspiration to go to college. Twice she wanted to drop out, but her father, who is from Honduras, encouraged her to finish her education.

Zuniga Dunlap said among her proudest professional accomplishments has been to provide leadership for the college during its recent state and national accreditation visits.

Cal State Fullerton’s teacher preparation programs received reaccredidation Jan. 17 from the state’s Commission on Teacher Credentialing, Committee on Accreditation. The National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) is expected to announce its accreditation this spring.

“Leading this effort meant having the privilege and the responsibility to my colleagues and the institution to show the reviewers that our programs are superb, that the faculty are the best the profession has to offer, and that graduates of our programs are very well prepared to work in schools,” she said.

Leadership Tips to Live By
Carmen Zuniga Dunlap gave Women in Leadership attendees the leadership principles she lives by:
• Model the way: Identify, build and affirm shared values, and align actions with those values.
• Inspire a shared vision: Develop a sense of shared destiny and get others excited through shared aspirations and community building.
• Challenge the process: Search for opportunities, take risks, grow, look for new ideas and think outside the box.
• Enable others to act: Foster collaboration, trust in others and help them develop and use their strengths.
• Encourage the heart: Recognize contributions, celebrate successes, and let everyone know they are valued and appreciated. Women are good nurturers, and as such, encouraging the heart is unique strength women in leadership can bring to the table.

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