Beth Olivares has been appointed associate dean for diversity initiatives in Arts, Sciences and Engineering at the University of Rochester. Olivares also serves as the director of the University's David T. Kearns Center for Leadership and Diversity in Arts, Sciences, and Engineering. The promotion became effective July 1.
As associate dean, Olivares will continue to participate on the Faculty Diversity Committee, to develop new programs and initiatives addressing retention issues for faculty and students. As part of her work for undergraduates in the College, she will continue to spearhead a biennial undergraduate Campus Climate Survey, create programs and initiatives that address retention issues for students, and provide support to undergraduates in all areas of the curriculum.
"Under the exceptional leadership of Beth Olivares, the Kearns Center has made great progress in increasing the number of students from low-income and historically underrepresented groups pursuing and achieving higher education goals," said Richard Feldman, dean of the College. "She is relentless in her efforts to find ways to improve the opportunities for our students and to develop new programs that attract and support them. I am delighted to be able to recognize her accomplishments."
Olivares, who joined the University in 1994, has expanded the Kearns Center, developing educational pipeline programs that work with students from middle school through the doctoral degree. In 2010, the center will receive nearly $1 million in grants that will help serve the more than 300 students in each of its 11 programs, which include Upward Bound, Upward Bound Math/Science, and the Ronald E. McNair Post-baccalaureate Achievement Program, which are funded through the U.S. Department of Education's TRIO programs for low-income students. The center also houses the Xerox Scholars program for engineering students, and several NSF-funded scholarship programs. In addition to the academic services it provides, the center coordinates graduate student recruitment and retention efforts.
While at Rochester, Olivares has been an active member of several professional organizations. Olivares was elected in 2009 to serve as president of the Association for Equality and Excellence in Education, Inc., an organization of higher education professionals who work in educational opportunity programs in New York and New Jersey.
She also sits on the board of directors of the Council for Opportunity in Education, a national advocacy council that works to increase educational opportunities for low-income students. Through this organization, Olivares spoke at the inaugural meeting of the Congressional TRIO Caucus this spring, advocating for the McNair Program. While in Washington, she met with White House education advisors about the need for increased educational opportunities for low-income individuals.
Olivares was recently appointed to the Minority Graduate Education Committee of the GRE Board, which considers new program services and long-range planning strategies for minority students, monitors ongoing minority-related programs, including the Fee Reduction Program and GRE Search Service, and evaluates research proposals and ongoing projects and their potential affect on test-takers from minority backgrounds.
Olivares was appointed assistant dean of diversity initiatives in 2007. She holds a doctorate in English from Fordham University.