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College Access and Retention Pioneer to Join Rutgers University – Newark

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Rutgers University – Newark Chancellor Nancy Cantor and Provost Todd Clear announced that Shirley M. Collado, a national leader in innovative approaches to access and student success in college, will join the university in January 2015 as executive vice chancellor for strategic initiatives and executive vice provost. In these dual roles, she will lead implementation of key elements of the university’s strategic plan, oversee and align academic affairs and student affairs functions and operations to increase inclusiveness and full participation, foster student success, and stimulate academic innovation and engagement.  Collado also will hold a faculty appointment in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology with an affiliation in the Department of Psychology.

“Shirley is one of the nation’s thought leaders in building an understanding of how to leverage the social and intellectual value of diversity, from both the student and institutional perspectives,” said Chancellor Cantor.  “These are critically important goals and integrating them into everything we do at Rutgers University – Newark will be among the highest priorities we have into the foreseeable future.  Shirley will work with me and Provost Clear to guide implementation of the strategic plan, engaging both internal and external stakeholders.  She has precisely the right background academically, professionally, and personally to help us pursue these priorities by building strategically on our distinctive excellence.”

Collado’s responsibilities will reflect her central role in pursuit of that goal. She will lead and manage a broad range of core areas in the provost’s office including academic services, enrollment services, student life, human resources, facilities, information technology, and budget and finance.  “Shirley will help build connections across these important functions and will be a natural collaborator with the deans of all the schools and colleges in many facets of academic and student life, including advancing the goals of the Honors College,” said Provost Todd Clear. 

Collado currently is the Dean of the College at Middlebury College, where she oversees and supports a dynamic student body and academic community.  Since joining Middlebury, Collado has led the enhancement of the Center for Careers and Internships, helped develop the Center for the Comparative Study of Race and Ethnicity,  and led the strengthening of The Commons residential life experience, the development of forward-looking sexual misconduct and judicial policies, the establishment of faculty diversity and retention initiatives, and the initiation of a nationally recognized new student orientation program (MiddView).   

At Middlebury, Collado oversees numerous departments and offices including Athletics, Residential Life, the Office of the Dean of Students, the Center for Careers and Internships, the Programs on Creativity and Innovation in the Liberal Arts, the Center for Social Entrepreneurship, MiddCORE, the Parton Center for Health and Wellness, the Department of Public Safety, and the Scott Center for Religious and Spiritual Life.

“Shirley has contributed to the life of the College in innumerable ways,” said Middlebury President Ronald D. Liebowitz. “She has made Middlebury not only a more diverse and engaging place, but one that profoundly appreciates the value that greater diversity brings to the institution.  Her focus on the experience of our students is unwavering and we—and our students—are better for it.”

Collado’s leadership at Middlebury and on a national level is firmly rooted in a deep belief in the power of collaboration, innovation, cohorts and mentors.   The national work she has accomplished with institutions and colleagues across the country further demonstrates her ability to foster collaboration for social and institutional change.  Collado played a leading role in securing a major grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to establish the Creating Connections Consortium (C3), one of the most innovative faculty diversity and retention initiatives in higher education.  She serves as the principal investigator and executive committee chair of this dynamic collaboration, which enhances interactions between liberal arts colleges and research universities.  Connecticut College, Middlebury College, and Williams College are leading 25 private liberal arts colleges, all of them members of the Liberal Arts Diversity Officers organization (LADO), in establishing C3, a formalized, reciprocal relationship with the University of California, Berkeley and Columbia University.  Collado is co-founder and co-chair of LADO.

Prior to joining Middlebury in 2007, Collado served as the executive vice president of The Posse Foundation, where she oversaw and managed operations nationally. The Posse Foundation is a prominent nonprofit college access and retention organization that identifies, recruits, and trains outstanding youth leaders from urban public high schools and sends them in diverse teams, called “posses,” to top colleges and universities across the country. A former Posse scholar who was in its inaugural class of students, and the daughter of Dominican immigrants, Collado is the first person in her family to go to college; the experience of a liberal arts education was transformative for Collado.  

“The challenge that impels my own approach and commitment to institutional leadership is striving to enable all members of a faculty, staff, and student body to participate equitably and collaboratively in a vision of excellence for the entire community,” said Collado.  “The opportunity to take on this challenge at Rutgers University – Newark with Chancellor Cantor and Provost Clear is strongly in line with my life’s work and core values as a person and as a leader.  I strongly identify with the mission and student body of the university.  Rutgers University – Newark is already teaching the future of this country and world.  It is my hope that we will build on this model in higher education for creating the most promising conditions for students from all walks of life to learn, persist, and thrive right in the great city of Newark.”

Collado is a clinical psychologist with a specialty in trauma among multicultural populations.  Collado holds an M.A. and a Ph.D. in clinical psychology from Duke University and a B.S. in human and organizational development and psychology from Vanderbilt University. She has taught at a number of colleges and universities, including Middlebury College, Lafayette College, New York University, Georgetown University, George Mason University, and The New School.  Collado was recently appointed as a trustee at her alma mater Vanderbilt University. She also serves as a trustee at The Little Red School House and Elisabeth Irwin High School in New York City.

Cantor expressed eager anticipation of Collado’s arrival in January: “We are thrilled to recruit a preeminent national leader whose own life story exemplifies the intersection of excellence and opportunity that defines Rutgers University – Newark.”

MEDIA CONTACT: Peter Englot, Senior Vice Chancellor for Public Affairs and Chief of Staff, Office of the Chancellor; (973) 353-5659; peter.englot@rutgers.edu