A Student Affairs Perspective on Responding to Critical Issues on Campus
Dr. Salvador B. Mena
Associate Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs, Rutgers University
Thursday, April 28th, 2016
Forum Hall, K-State Student Union
Dr. Salvador Mena was born in Harlem, New York. He was raised by a single parent in the South Bronx, is a graduate of the New York City public school system, and was the first in his family to attend college. Leaving New York City to attend college in Maine proved to be a transformational experience that informed him pursuing a career in higher education and specifically, his commitment to issues of inclusion and social justice. He earned a Bachelors degree in Political Science and Masters of Education in Student Development and Higher Education Administration from the University of Maine. He received his Doctor of Philosophy degree in Higher Education, Student Affairs, and International Education Policy from the University of Maryland, College Park. His dissertation study titled - The New South: A Case Analysis of Latino Students Attending a Historically Black University in North Carolina – focused on understanding the growing phenomena of Latinos enrolling at HBCUs in the South.
During last 20 years, Dr. Mena has had the privilege to serve college students at different institutional types, including both public and private colleges and universities. He began his career in education by serving as a Student Advisor with Job Corps – a residentially based Federal Department of Labor program that offers at-risk young women and men, ages 16 to 24, opportunities to earn academic and vocational credentials and assists them with securing placement in education, employment, or the military upon graduation from the program. Over a four-year period, he served as a residence life educator at the University of Maine and Illinois State University where he was responsible for managing residential facilities, fostering community, and facilitating co-curricular experiences. While at Brown University, he served as Assistant Dean for Student Life and had responsibility for assisting with a broad portfolio that included crisis management, residence life staffing and programming, academic advising, diversity programing and outreach, judicial affairs, and student leadership development.
From 2004-2005, he served as a doctoral fellow at the University of Maryland, College Park where he served as a research assistant on a study looking at access and success factors for Latino undergraduates at the institution. At Goucher College, he served as the Associate Dean for Community Living and Multicultural Affairs where he collaborated with colleagues in academic affairs on initiatives related to college access, diversity programming, and retention of students of color, first-generation and low-income students. At the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, he served as the Special Assistant to the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs and Director of Strategic Initiatives and Planning for the Division of Student Affairs. In this role, he provided broad leadership for strategic planning efforts, developed a divisional assessment plan, coordinated professional development programs for staff, led divisional diversity efforts, and worked on special projects and initiatives. Following UNC-Chapel Hill, Dr. Mena served at the College of Staten Island of the City University of New York as the Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students. In this role, he served as deputy to the Vice President for Student Affairs and worked collaboratively with Student Affairs, Academic Affairs, Enrollment Management, Finance and Administration, and Advancement colleagues to support student success and enhance the overall student experience.
Currently, Dr. Mena serves as the Associate Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs at Rutgers University-New Brunswick (45,000 students). As Associate Vice Chancellor, he manages the day-to-day operations of the Division of Student Affairs helping to provide leadership for the 25 offices and departments that make up the division. Specifically, he supervises the Assistant Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs, Assistant Vice Chancellor for Student Engagement, and departments of Dining Services, Residence Life, Student Centers, and Cultural Centers.
Professionally, Dr. Mena has been involved with a number of higher education professional organizations, including the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA). He served a two-year appointment on the ACPA/NASPA Joint Task Force on the Future of Student Affairs that recommended consolidation with ACPA and served as the inaugural Co-Chair of NASPA's Latina/o Knowledge Community. He recently served as a faculty member and organizer of NASPA’s inaugural New Professionals and Mid-Level Professionals Institute and is on the NASPA 2017 National Conference Planning Committee. He is a regular presenter at national conferences and has published in the Journal of Student Affairs Research and Practice and contributed a book chapter in Cultural Centers in Higher Education: Perspectives on Identity, Theory, and Practice. Sterling, VA: Stylus Publishing.
Away from campus, Dr. Mena loves spending time with his family and following the game of baseball at the professional and college levels. His life partner who he first met as an undergraduate at the University of Maine is a health-care professional. They have an eight-year-old son and six-year-old daughter along with two wonderful Miniature Pinchers Tyson and Cesar.