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Marta Elena Esquilin Named Associate Dean of the Honors Living-Learning Community

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Marta Elena Esquilin has officially joined Rutgers University–Newark (RU-N) as the associate dean of the newly established Honors Living-Learning Community (HLLC), and assistant professor of professional practice in American Studies.

Her appointment was announced today, Jan. 19, 2016, by Shirley Collado, executive vice chancellor and chief operating officer at RU-N. In her announcement, Collado noted that Esquilin’s wealth of experience in community building, curriculum development, strategic planning, and social justice education will be of great benefit to the HLLC and RU-N.

“Marta’s passion and commitment to social justice, college access, and the promotion of diversity and inclusion make her an ideal addition to the team leading our bold efforts in promoting college access and success,” Collado said.

Prior to her appointment, Esquilin worked for Columbia University where she served as the director for Intercultural Resources and Social Justice Programs in the Office of Multicultural Affairs. In that role, she managed and implemented programming and training aimed at fostering inclusive and affirming environments for underrepresented populations and building bridges among different cultural communities on campus, as well as oversaw a social justice center and residential community.

Esquilin also works as a diversity consultant, providing training and education to higher education institutions, secondary schools, and organizations across the country in the areas of increasing cultural competence, addressing microaggressions, and increasing student retention and success. She has shared her insights through presentations at national conferences, and coauthored the influential American Psychologist article, “Racial Microaggressions in Everyday Life: Implications for Clinical Practice.”

Esquilin has also been involved with various youth-development organizations focusing on college access and retention, including the Posse Foundation, where she serves as a retreat facilitator for Posse Plus Retreats, which occur at more than 50 partner colleges and universities around the United States each year. Topics focus on national issues of concern facing college students, including race, crime and punishment, class, and social responsibility.

Last year, Esquilin was appointed as the board chair of the Center for LGBTQ Studies, and is a member of the National Conference on Race and Ethnicity and the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators. She received her bachelor’s degree in sociology from the University of Vermont and her master’s degree in higher education administration from Teachers College, Columbia University.

Collado’s announcement expressed that Esquilin’s ability to recognize and foster talent supports HLLC’s vision which favors a holistic approach to the admissions process, and asserts that SAT scores and GPAs, while significant, fail to capture all of the talent and potential of prospective students in Newark, Greater Newark, and beyond.

Esquilin’s appointment is timed with the beginning of the second semester for HLLC’s first inaugural cohort of 30 students. Next year, the HLLC will have a cohort of 60 additional students, and is expected to eventually house upwards of 500 undergraduates. These students will reside in a state-of-the-art facility with dining, recreational, and academic spaces that is expected to open in 2018.  

Collado said, “Marta’s appointment coincides with the tremendous momentum created by the innovation, strategic programs, and energy at RU-N, and she will be critical in helping us to develop the infrastructure needed to ensure that the HLLC becomes a national model in community engagement and student success.”

Photo by Shelley Kusnetz