2016 Tien Leadership in Education Award Recipient: Ming-Tung “Mike” Lee
Sacramento State University’s Interim Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Ming-Tung “Mike” Lee was selected for the 2016 Chang-Lin Tien Award for Leadership in Education. In addition to this honor, the Asian Pacific Fund is making a grant to Sacramento State University to establish a Chang-Lin Tien Scholarship Fund for Asian and Pacific Islanders studying at the university.
“I am honored and humbled by the award,” Lee says. “Being the first in my family to complete a college degree, I am a true believer in the mission of the CSU and Sac State. This is also an award for Sac State and the CSU.”
Dr. Lee is the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs (interim) of California State University, Sacramento. He previously served as the Vice President for Administration and Chief Financial Officer for five years. In the 69-year history of the university, Dr. Lee is the first Asian ever served as the Provost and the Vice President/CFO positions.
Dr. Lee has dedicated his career to providing a life-changing higher education to students from all backgrounds and social economic statuses. This strong belief in access to high quality education originated from his humble upbringing during the economically deprived era of Taiwan. His father had three years of schooling in mainland China and his mother was illiterate. With their humble income, all savings of the parents went to the children’s education. With hard work and determination, Dr. Lee became the first in the family to attain the Bachelor, Master, and Ph.D. degrees.
Dr. Lee became a proud United States citizen in 1999. Since 1990, the year he joined the faculty of California State University, Sacramento, Dr. Lee has taught business classes for 12 years and served in many administrative positions. He was a mentor and role model for numerous students and highly respected by his colleagues. He has successfully served as Chair of the Department of Management, Special Assistant to the President for Strategic Planning, Associate Vice President and Dean for Academic Programs, Vice Provost, Vice President for Administration and Chief Financial Officer, and Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs. Dr. Lee’s progression in administration is extremely unusual in American higher education because he was able to achieve all administrative positions in the same university. This is due to his dedication to the missions of the California State University (CSU) system and the university’s confidence in his leadership.
Dr. Lee’s leadership is also highly appraised in the California State University system and the nation. In 2014, he was selected as Chair of the Chief Administrators and Business Officers (CABO), the organization consisted of all CSU Vice Presidents and Chief Financial Officers. In 2015, he was elected as the Vice Chair of the Executive Committee of the CSU Risk Management Authority, a joint power authority providing insurance coverage for all CSU campuses and auxiliaries. He has served in many committees and task forces to enhance student access to higher education and student success. After a rigorous national selection process, Dr. Lee attained the honor of American Council on Education (ACE) Fellow in 2001.
In addition to the higher education roles, Dr. Lee has been active in services to the community, particularly in promoting mental health, community engagement, and political awareness of Asian Americans in the State of California. For more than eight years, he served on the Board of Directors of the Asian Pacific Community Counseling (APCC) of Sacramento. This is a non-profit organization dedicated to mental health care in the API communities. While serving as the Treasurer, Dr. Lee was instrumental in securing the annual $3M funding from California Mental Health Services Act (MHSA) funds. This funding allowed APCC to provide much needed mental health care to hundreds of API clients suffering from severe mental illness. This is his most proud accomplishment.
Dr. Lee joined the California Legislature’s Joint API Legislative Caucus Institute in 2012. The Institute organizes the Capitol Academy, which selects the best and brightest local API elected officials to participate in training programs on how to become a state legislator. The success of the Institute and the Capitol Academy has significantly enhanced the presence of API legislators and the political influence of API communities.
Dr. Lee and his wife, Fei, has a daughter and two sons.