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Poloma takes on role as assistant dean for international students

Poloma to start position Oct. 23, expand support for international, minority students

Contributing Writer
Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Dr. Asabe Poloma will start as the assistant dean for international students and associate director of the Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship on Oct.23, wrote Dean of the College Maud Mandel and Vice President for Campus Life and Student Services Eric Estes in a community-wide email Sept. 25.

Within her role as assistant dean for international students, Poloma said she will help international students transition to studying in the United States and support them throughout their educational experiences as they prepare to graduate. She hopes to bring a “social justice-oriented approach to academic advising” by finding ways to “stand with our population of international and minoritized students.”

As associate director of the Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship, Poloma said she will help minority students to “map out a successful career plan while at Brown that would allow them to be competitive, to pursue their PhDs and to join the professoriate ranks.”

The fellowship aims to increase “the number of students from underrepresented minority groups … who pursue PhDs” and professorial careers, according to its website.

Poloma’s hire is a part of the University’s efforts to expand support for international students. According to Dean of the College Maud Mandel, the position of assistant dean for international students was restructured after Shontay Delalue, who formerly held the position, became interim vice provost for equity and diversity this spring. The responsibilities of Delalue’s former position will be divided between Poloma’s new position in the Dean’s office and Christina Phillips’ position as program director for the International Student Experience. Meanwhile, Delalue will continue to support international students from the Provost’s office. “In a sense, we went from one position to three,” Mandel said, adding that she expects Poloma, Phillips and Delalue to work closely with one another.

Phillips said she looks forward to working with Poloma to advocate for international students and develop programs related to internships and careers. “She’ll provide an additional form of personal support for international students,” Phillips added.

“She was such a standout candidate during the interviews, I’m really excited for her enthusiasm and her energy,” said Associate Provost for Global Engagement and Strategic Initiatives Shankar Prasad. Poloma’s hire is “a huge step in the right direction” toward providing robust support for international students, he added.

Poloma’s background as an international student drew her to this position. “My early experiences in elementary, middle and high school really were shaped by the theme of global mobility,” Poloma said. Born in Nigeria, she began school in Moscow, graduated from high school in Tanzania and immigrated to the United States to study at Hampton University in Virginia. Poloma’s educational path led her to pursue a PhD in international comparative higher education.

Poloma currently works as executive director for the Institute for Recruitment of Teachers, which works to promote “more diverse faculty both in K-12 administration and teaching but also in the professoriate,” she said.

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