Integrated Search Menu

Alberto Olivas

Executive Director
University Staff, DTPHX Campus, Mailcode 3520
Executive Director
University Staff, DTPHX Campus, Mailcode 3520
Biography

Alberto Olivas is the Founding Executive Director of the Congressman Ed Pastor Center for Politics & Public Service at Arizona State University, an initiative to help students learn the skills for effective civic and political engagement. Apart from this role, Alberto provides training and technical assistance on issues related to public dialogue, public engagement and civic education.

Prior to coming to ASU, Alberto was Executive Director of the Center for Civic Participation serving the ten colleges in the Maricopa Community College District. Previously, Alberto was Vice President of the Arizona Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, and has served in appointed leadership positions for Arizona Governor Jane Dee Hull, as Director of the Governor’s Office for Equal Opportunity; and as State Voter Outreach Director for Arizona Secretary of State Betsey Bayless. Governor Janet Napolitano appointed Alberto to the Arizona Commission of Indian Affairs.

Alberto serves on the board of directors for Public Agenda, a national civic and public engagement organization. He recently completed a term as Board Secretary for the National Civic League; and served on the board for Democracy Works, a national civic technology organization. Locally, he serves on the Court Leadership Institute of Arizona for the Arizona Supreme Court, and as Vice Chair of the Arizona Town Hall board of directors. He previously has served as past board chair for KidsVoting Arizona, and on the boards of directors for Valley Leadership, the Arizona Human Rights Foundation, the Mesa Association of Hispanic Citizens, and the Newtown Community Development Corporation.

Alberto has a Bachelor’s degree in Anthropology from ASU, a Master’s degree in Education from NAU, and graduated from the Civic Seminary at Citizen University. He lives in Tempe, AZ with a Carolina Tarheels fanatic and three rescue dogs.

Education

B.A. Anthropology, ASU (1996); M.Ed., NAU (2007); Civic Seminary, Citizen University (2018); Flinn-Brown Civic Leadership Academy Fellowship (2011); Valley Leadership Institute - Class 22 (2000); Mesa Leadership Training & Development (2008); Tempe Leadership Academy (1999). 

Publications

Deepening Deliberation in Community Colleges: Reflections on Our Research; Jan 2019. Higher Education Exchange/Kettering Foundation
Access this article: https://www.kettering.org/catalog/product/developing-deliberative-practi...

"In this article, we describe a three-year project... to embed deliberation as a civic skill in community colleges... [as] a way to redirect civic initiatives away from a focus on the problems in democracy to the problems of democracy. Whether fostered in the curriculum or the extracurriculum, deliberation 'is a critical approach to educating for democracy, to engaging students in the practice of acting in the public arena, and to helping students understand that their voices and experiences can indeed have an impact on our communities and our democracy.'"

Community Colleges and Educating for Democracy; Mar 2016. EJournal of Public Affairs, Vol 5, No 1 (2016)
Access this article: http://www.ejournalofpublicaffairs.org 

"The community college is widely viewed as an institution of democracy. Policymakers value it as a low-cost way to educate and train the nation’s least prepared and less well-off, and students view it as a good way—for many, the only way­­—to educate themselves and transcend the social class into which they were born. Yet acting as an institution or an agent of democracy is not the same thing as educating for democracy, which means engaging students in both an understanding of civic institutions and the practical experience of acting in a public arena. Educating for democracy is an active notion; it implies intention, commitment to an ideal. Whereas democratizing education is a function community colleges perform, educating for democracy is a choice, one that must be renewed and refined with each successive cohort of students, administrative change, and budget cycle. In this essay we explore several key questions related to community colleges and educating for democracy. In particular: How do community colleges and their constituents understand the notion of educating for democracy, and why is it important to the colleges’ democratic mission? What challenges do community colleges face in educating for democracy? And finally: How do deliberative practices fit within community college efforts to educate for democracy? We contend that deliberation is a critical approach to educating for democracy, and represents a way to redirect civic initiatives away from a focus on the problems in democracy to the problems of democracy."

Developing Deliberative Practice: The Role of Deliberation with Underrepresented Populations in Community Politics; Apr 3, 2008. Kettering Foundation.
Access this article: https://www.kettering.org/catalog/product/developing-deliberative-practi...

"The focus of this research was on the political and community engagement of underserved and underrepresented populations. Specifically: 1. How do underserved and underrepresented populations view their own community engagement activities in relationship to community politics? 2. Can deliberative practices help engage people, particularly underserved and underrepresented populations, in community politics? Research was conducted with a dual approach–interviews and test case analysis. We examined work completed from Summer of 2006 to Fall of 2008 in order to understand how a center can best work with leaders in public institutions and ethnic/minority-based organizations in a way that challenges traditional methods of convening. A particular area of emphasis was identifying ways of engaging underrepresented populations in deliberative forums and the difference that deliberative forums can make, or not, in surfacing unique perspectives from these populations."

Fall 2019
Course NumberCourse Title
CPP 494Special Topics
CPP 591Seminar
Spring 2019
Course NumberCourse Title
CPP 494Special Topics
CPP 591Seminar
Fall 2018
Course NumberCourse Title
CPP 494Special Topics
CPP 591Seminar
Spring 2018
Course NumberCourse Title
CPP 494Special Topics
CPP 591Seminar
Fall 2017
Course NumberCourse Title
CPP 494Special Topics
CPP 591Seminar
Spring 2017
Course NumberCourse Title
CPP 494Special Topics
CPP 591Seminar
Fall 2016
Course NumberCourse Title
CPP 494Special Topics
CPP 591Seminar
Presentations
  • Advocacy & Influence 101
  • The 5 Essential Civic Skills & Behaviors
  • Civic Saturday – Civic Renewal
  • The Civic Spectrum: A New Approach to Civic Education & Engagement
  • Diversity & Inclusion as Leadership Strengths
  • Voter Education & Outreach
  • Networking 101      
  • Service & Volunteerism: Leveraging Personal Goals, Interests & Strengths for Impact
  • Principles of Effective Public Engagement
  • Moderator Training: Designing & Facilitating Community Forums
  • Framing Issues for Public Dialogue  
  • Organizing Workshops & Seminars
  • Researching Scholarship Opportunities & Writing Competitive Scholarship Essays
  • Effective Interviewing Techniques for Scholarships, Jobs, Admissions, and Appointments
Honors / Awards
  • Community Service Award, Oct 2017; League of United Latin American Citizens

  • Friend of the Professional Staff Association, Dec 2011; Maricopa Community Colleges Professional Staff Association

  • Advocate Award, May 2010; United Tribal Employee Council, Maricopa Community Colleges

  • 40 Hispanic Leaders Under 40, Sep 2008; Arizona Hispanic Chamber of Commerce

  • Honorary Ally Award, Jun 2008; Public Allies Arizona, ASU Lodestar Center for Philanthropy & Nonprofit Innovation

  • Public Service Award, Jun 2006; Hispanic Leadership Institute, Valle del Sol

Service