Adela Penagos, an assistant dean at the University of Notre Dame, has been named the new director of Harvard’s four-year-old Advising Programs Office.
Penagos, who will take the helm Sept. 1, will replace Interim Director Inge-Lise Ameer, who recently announced that she plans to depart for Dartmouth College in the fall.
According to Dean of Undergraduate Education Jay M. Harris, who chaired the APO director search committee, Penagos’ experience working with a diverse student body—including her previous role as coordinator of Multicultural Student Programs and Services at Notre Dame—will be a strong asset to the APO.
“There are differences in cultural groups as far as help-seeking behavior,” Harris said. "She can really reach into the minority communities better than we have."
Penagos, who was born and raised in Mexico, wrote in an e-mail to The Crimson that her multicultural experiences have assisted her in relating to individuals from “diverse cultural backgrounds.”
“I have been able to work well with all constituencies to date, regardless of a specific cultural background, and hope to continue this trajectory at Harvard,” she wrote.
Dean of the College Evelynn M. Hammonds—who has repeatedly expressed a commitment to promoting diversity within the College community—echoed Harris’ sentiments in an e-mail announcing Penagos’ appointment to members of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, writing that the new director will be tasked with ensuring that the College is “meeting the advising needs of our students from a broad range of backgrounds.”
Penagos’ colleagues at Notre Dame also emphasized her deep commitment to student life.
“If there’s anything that characterizes her for me, it is a real attachment to making sure that students are having a really great experience,” said Ava Preacher, assistant dean of undergraduate studies at Notre Dame. “It has been truly remarkable having her in our office.”
Although new to the College, Penagos spoke highly of her limited experiences at Harvard.
“After interviewing with a number of people during two days, including faculty, staff, and students, I could witness the commitment these individuals have to Harvard and to the advising of highly talented undergraduate students," she wrote. "I wanted to be part of such a wonderful team."
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