Paulina Mena, associate professor of biology at Central College, has been appointed as Faculty Fellow for Diversity and Inclusion at Central.
Mena will work with faculty, along with Brian Peterson, associate dean of students, and Mary Strey, vice president for academic affairs and dean of faculty, to support faculty development, curriculum and the classroom climate as it relates to diversity and inclusion for course development and pedagogy. Her appointment began August 2021.
“I am elated to be appointed to this position because I truly believe diversity makes us all better people,” Mena says. “I look forward to working with colleagues and students to ensure that we better serve our underrepresented students. I hope to help us move forward in implementing inclusive pedagogies and curricula as part of a campus-wide effort to create equitable opportunities for our students to succeed.”
Mena earned her Licenciatura en Biología from Universidad Católica de Valparaíso in Valparaíso, Chile, and her Ph.D. in biology from the University of Iowa. She has been a Central faculty member since 2009 and was promoted to associate professor of biology in 2015.
Mena’s service and leadership to the college include her appointment by the Central Board of Trustees as a faculty trustee and her election to the faculty planning and policy committees, where she was elected to serve as chair for both. She was director of the honors program for two years and has served on many advisory councils.
Mena’s research program in conservation of native bees is geared toward providing students with the opportunity for independent research under her supervision. The list of professional memberships and affiliations, service to scientific societies, professional development opportunities and role as faculty advisor for student groups speak highly to her commitment to faculty, students and her discipline.
“Paulina’s commitment to, and advocacy for, innovative pedagogy, respectful dialogue and inclusive curricular design demonstrate her ability to serve Central well in her new role,” Strey says. “We appreciate her work to advance a more diverse and inclusive curriculum.”