LaToya Battle-Brown

A member of Rutgers University–Newark’s staff since 1999, Battle-Brown accepted an appointment as the assistant provost and dean of the RU–N Office of Admissions in September 2014. Immediately prior, she served as associate dean of the Rutgers Business School–Undergraduate Newark Program where she implemented an aggressive academic probation policy as a form of tough love.
“All Rutgers University–Newark students have an intense passion to succeed. They’re here because they want to be here. I believe that if we bring them to RU–N, we have an obligation to help them thrive by providing effective resources to address their social, emotional, and academic needs.”

The RBS academic probation policy for undergraduates does just that. Students possessing a grade point average below 2.5 are placed on academic probation and required to satisfy certain metrics to improve their academic performance. As a result of the policy’s rigor, of the 276 students listed on the spring 2014 probation list, 66 percent were able to elevate their GPAs satisfactorily.

“Because I see myself in the typical RU–N student, I feel I have a deeper understanding of his or her challenges, many of which I encountered as an EOF [Educational Opportunity Fund] student at Douglass College at Rutgers University–New Brunswick.” Recognizing that the road to academic success begins in a child’s formative years, for the past five years, Battle-Brown has purchased annually at least four age-appropriate books for each of her son’s 28–30 classmates. The donated books, each stamped “a gift from the Brown family,” enable students of limited financial means to start and expand their own personal libraries.

Battle-Brown and her family also actively participate in the annual fundraiser, “Characters Walk,” in support of children’s literacy. All the proceeds of the benefit are given to the Newark Public Library to purchase children’s books.

“My passion for education began with my love of reading at a young age because of the D.E.A.R. program. During the course of the school day, at a moment’s notice, all students had to ‘drop everything and read’ for a set period of time. It is my goal to instill that same level of adventure and excitement in children as early as possible. And I can’t think of a better place to achieve that objective than Newark, New Jersey.”