The Division of Student Services is pleased to welcome the new associate dean of students to the University of Nevada, Reno.
"This marks an exciting time for Student Services," said Marcelo Vazquez, the new associate dean. "Especially with budget cuts; it's a testament of the University's commitment to student success."
As the new associate dean of students, Vazquez will oversee the departments of New Student Initiatives, the Office of Student Conduct, the Tutoring Center, Greek Life and the new position of Coordinator for Student Persistent Research.
"My role is focused on making sure students feel part of the fabric of the University by working on three key areas: inclusivity, persistence and graduation," he said. "I'll coordinate with the five departments I oversee to strengthen a 'College Graduation Culture.'"
To meet the goal of a "College Graduation Culture," a term Vazquez has initiated, he intends to guide the quantitative analysis to shed light on what the University is doing right in helping students persist towards graduation and identify more opportunities for the University of Nevada, Reno to strengthen student persistence towards graduation.
"There is not much research about what universities are doing in establishing a college graduation culture to help students be successful," he said. "What we hope to do is identify what the key variables for the University are in establishing a college graduation culture so we can better understand how to best assist our students in persisting and succeeding in college so they can graduate in four to six years."
Vazquez discussed some of what the University is already doing well, citing examples as part of the reason he chose to come to Nevada.
"One example is that at the fall 2012 new student ceremony, one of the first statements was 'Welcome, Class of 2016,'" he said, "not 'freshman class,' not 'incoming class.' With this statement, the University faculty recognizes the student potential for a four-year graduation."
His interest and excitement came in two stages, the first being the uniqueness of the new position.
"UNR was never really in my professional horizon until I saw this position," he said.
Stage two, the clincher, was the University itself.
"When I came to the campus, I really felt the energy of the University," he said. "Meeting with the faculty, staff and students, I could tell how committed this University is to helping the students. This is a very unique place, and coming was an easy decision."
Vazquez brings 16 years of university administrative experience from three other universities to the position. He also brings a diverse background, as he is a first-generation bilingual Bolivian-American born in the United States, with family residing in countries such as Thailand, Bolivia and Switzerland.
He thoroughly enjoys helping the students succeed, and wants "to help Nevada continue to play a significant student services leadership role not only in the State of Nevada but also the United States."
"The University already has a strong foundation," he said. "Now, we want to establish Nevada as a leader in creating college graduation cultures. It's a privilege to be part of a student services team that doesn't see student success as a job, but a calling."
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