by Junelly Gonzalez
Congratulations are in order for Maria de la Camara, who has been named Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs.
De la Camara was born and raised in Spain and came to America when she was a freshman in college. She graduated from Lake Erie College then completed her Masters degree at Case Western Reserve in Cleveland, Ohio. Upon graduation, she received a job offer at Lake Erie College, where she worked for 18 years. Eventually, she became the associate Dean of Arts and Sciences.
It was in 2005 that she began her career at Benedictine University. The school had just decided to divide into two colleges-the college of science and the college of liberal arts. She applied for the position of Dean of Liberal Arts, which would be the first Dean.
“I chose to continue my career at Benedictine University because of its excellent academic programs, excellent tradition with the monks, the emphasis and exceptionally good attention to supporting students, and because of the diversity of the campus. It was another great opportunity,” expressed de la Camara.
After eight successful years as Dean, she was appointed to her new position this year. Although she misses being the Dean of Liberal Arts, she already has great ideas and plans on how to better the Benedictine community.
“I am just starting off in this position, so my plan is to learn as much as possible. It is also important that each college and academic area can identify areas where we can work together to improve areas that need improvement and support areas that are doing well. I also want to support the great faculty we have because without them none of this would be possible, and to continue to find ways to service them. For example, to focus on the assessment of student learning so by the time students are done, they will be competent; I want students to leave Benedictine wanting to learn more,” said de la Camara.
Another way she intends on supporting the students is with a new retention project, headed by the President’s retention task force that looks into why students decide to transfer and makes sure options are made available to them.
“All universities have students who transfer, but in my mind even if we lost one student, why?” expressed de la Camara.
After everything that she has accomplished to date, there can always be a feeling of doubt that both teachers and students in college oftentimes feel, and sometimes de la Camara feels this lack confidence as well.
“There are many times when I have thought I cannot do this, like hey now for example. But I always try to find good advice when I don’t know what to do and I look at what successful people have done in the same situation. I have had many good mentors, such as faculty, the president, and fellow deans, and I am very fortunate to have those people in my life that have given me good advice throughout the way. I would say that to everyone beginning their professional career. Learn from your mentors at Benedictine; it is very much a supportive and welcoming environment,” said de la Camara.