Dr. Avila has over 20 years of experience in the CSU and currently holds an appointment as Dean of the College of Arts and Humanities at California State University, Dominguez Hills. Prior to coming to CSUDH he held the rank of professor of Philosophy at California State University, Fullerton. After chairing the Philosophy Department, Dr. Avila was Associate Dean in the College of Humanities and Social Sciences at CSU Fullerton from 2010–2014.
Dr. Avila earned his Ph.D. in Philosophy at UC Santa Barbara in 1993, completing a dissertation on feminist political theory. His subsequent publications and conference presentations on theories of international justice, human rights, and philosophical aesthetics have been deeply influenced by this early commitment to “beginning our thought from the margins.” A respected instructor, his courses build on this commitment to standpoint epistemology by bringing diverse voices into the classroom. Dr. Avila is also a proponent of experiential education, especially in the arts and international education. For example, his courses in Philosophical Aesthetics have taken students to art and performance venues all over southern California and London. As part of his broad international experience, he has made numerous conference presentations on human rights theory in such diverse countries as Poland, Turkey, India, and Iran.
As Associate Dean in one of the largest colleges in the CSU, Dr. Avila was responsible for a wide-ranging portfolio and earned a reputation for visionary leadership, efficiency, and innovation. He had oversight of curriculum, academic programs, and faculty affairs, including extensive interaction with the CFA. He coordinated hiring, evaluation, and professional development opportunities for a pool of nearly 400 lecturers in the college, and under his leadership, the college began several strategic initiatives to expand support and professional development for lecturers. As part of his commitment to initiatives that expand diversity, Dr. Avila directed a FIPSE grant to create the nation’s first Bachelors Degree in Vietnamese Studies, a cross-department, cross-college collaborative initiative. His broad experience in budgeting and enrollment management has led to innovative ways of using earmarked funds to advance institutional priorities, especially experiential education, internship opportunities, and faculty research.
Dr. Avila began his appointment as Dean of the College of Arts and Humanities at CSUDH on June 1, 2015.