Spotlight Series: Dr. Rosalinda Ortiz

June 26, 2024

Marketing and Strategic Communications

At the heart of Palo Alto College, a revival is happening, infusing the campus with vibrant motion, beautiful colors, and captivating rhythm. This incredible transformation is all thanks to the inspiring leadership and boundless energy of Dr. Rosalinda Ortiz, who serves as the Chair of the Fine, Performing & Communication Arts Department. In her role, Dr. Ortiz has worked to redefine what arts in higher education and community college can look like. 

Dr. Ortiz brought her expansive expertise in administration and a passionate belief in the power of the performing arts in education. Recognizing the potential lying dormant within the college, she embarked on an ambitious project to revitalize the extracurricular programs that now capture the community’s imagination and interest.


“It was just a matter of looking at where I can help to build and expand what we already have… we have a very talented and passionate team of faculty, so all there was to do was take the administrative load off their shoulders so that they could fire on all cylinders. Facilitating that process brings me joy,” shares Dr. Rosalinda Ortiz.

Her first undertaking was establishing student clubs housed within the college’s Dance and Music programs. Dr. Ortiz worked with dance instructor Bo Pang to establish the Cheer/Dance Team and Ballet Folklorico team. She has also worked with various music faculty and staff to revitalize the Mariachi club. These programs hold a special significance in offering students a means to explore and express cultural identities and stories. Dr. Ortiz noted, “It was such a proud moment and accomplishment to showcase 15 visual and vocal performances at PacFest this year, which included the Palomino Singers, Mariachi club, Cheer/Dance team, and Ballet Folklorico team. We have so many talented students, and seeing them shine on stage was phenomenal.”

Through her efforts, she has not only brought back the spirit and enthusiasm to campus sports and activities but, in less than a year, elevated it into an inclusive program that celebrates diversity and teamwork. She provides opportunities with accessibility for students in classes including Art, Speech, Music, Drama, Mass Communication, and Dance, offering something for all skill and interest levels to participate in. As part of this expansion, Mariachi ensemble classes will be offered beginning Fall 2024, adding yet another genre of music study for students. 

When talking about her leadership and experience as a first-generation college student, parenting student, and Latina in higher education, Dr. Ortiz has observed, “So many students facing difficult challenges can’t imagine what they can be in 10 or 20 years, but to see an example of somebody that did make it, and know that a person doesn’t have to be the exception to the rule. People in any circumstance can change their lives through education. Everybody has the opportunity to succeed (at PAC) if they want it.” She endeavors to create a dynamic department that fits the interests and needs of our students, which was essential to bringing back some previously successful programs.

Dr. Ortiz is a strong advocate for creating a department that reflects a holistic view of where the PAC community has been and where it’s headed. Under her guidance, these dance and music programs have seen a remarkable increase in participation and audience engagement. They have become highlights of college events and a source of pride for the community. 

“When it comes to the community being excited about being on campus, nothing does that better than the performing arts. We hope to build a department that brings the best opportunities to the Southside so that students view being a part of the PAC community as a point of pride,” shares Dr. Ortiz.

Entertainment and visual arts unite communities and create excitement around the educational environment. Dr. Ortiz and her department use this excitement to show that the fine and performing arts apply to various career paths and are vital to the community. Her next project is to incorporate the visual arts and international exchange programs throughout the campus cohesively. She plans to accomplish this by utilizing various modalities, such as technology, and other cultural crafts.

The impact of Dr. Rosalinda Ortiz’s contributions in her short time at Palo Alto College is profound. By breathing new life into the college’s arts programs, she has enhanced the college experience for students and enriched the entire community’s cultural fabric. As these programs continue to grow and evolve under her guidance, the future looks bright for the arts at Palo Alto College.