AAHHE Community College Award

The AAHHE Community College Award recognizes an individual who has demonstrated excellence in advocacy, teaching, or leadership and has provided significant contributions to the community college enterprise.

2023 Community College Award Recipient

Lydia CdeBaca-Cruz, PhD
Austin Community College

Lydia CdeBaca-Cruz is committed to closing persistent equity gaps in higher education through decolonial curricular reform and engaging faculty development. She is currently a Lecturer in the English Department at the University of Texas at Austin, adjunct faculty member at Austin Community College, and a Teaching and Learning Coach and Equity consultant with Achieving the Dream. At ACC, she served as Program Coordinator for the Interdisciplinary Studies: Mexican American Studies Program in addition to teaching courses in Composition and Literary Studies, Humanities, and Mexican American Studies and serving as the facilitator for the faculty development course, “Becoming an Equity Minded Instructor,” from fall 2020 through summer 2022.

CdeBaca-Cruz received her doctorate and master’s degrees in English, with graduate certificates in Mexican American Studies and Native American/Indigenous Studies, at the University of Texas at Austin. Her bachelor’s degree in English is from the University of Texas at Arlington, where, as a working-class Chicana and first-generation college graduate, the McNair Scholars Program set her on a course to fulfill her goals of activist scholarship. Lydia’s career has always been supported by her familia, including her mother, three sons, and partner, Eusebio, with whom she plays bass in a Latin reggae band.


List of past recipients of the AAHHE Community College Award:

  • 2022 Ángel Reyna, EdD and Estela Gutierrez, MA
  • 2021 William Serrata
  • 2020 Mona Aldana-Ramirez
  • 2019 Liz Ann Báez Aguilar
  • 2018 Marissa Vasquez
  • 2017 Cristina Alfaro
  • 2016 Cristina Villalobos
  • 2015 Louie F. Rodriguez
  • 2014 Sandra Trejos
  • 2013 Sylvia Garcia-Navarrete
  • 2012 Amaury Nora
  • 2011 Stephanie Alvarez
  • 2010 Maria del Carmen Martinez
  • 2009 José B. González
  • 2008 Elba Maldonado-Colón
  • 2007 Enrique Chavez
  • 2006 Arturo Hernandez
  • 2005 René Díaz Lefebvre
  • 2004 Eduardo E. Aguilar
  • 2003 Virginia González