The College of Arts and Sciences has announced that Dr. Rocio Rivadeneyra, associate professor of psychology and interim chair of the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, has been appointed associate dean for Academic Programs and Student Success, effective July 1, 2021.

“We are delighted to have Dr. Rocio Rivadeneyra join the college office as the associate dean for Academic Programs and Student Success,” said Dr. Diane Zosky, interim dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. “Dr. Rivadeneyra will follow Dr. Sally Parry’s years of outstanding leadership for the College of Arts and Sciences.”

Rivadeneyra joined the Illinois State University faculty as an assistant professor of psychology in 2002 after earning a doctorate in developmental psychology from the University of Michigan. Since then she has also been an affiliated faculty member for the Latin American and Latino/a Studies and the Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies programs. Much of her research has focused on the role of media portrayals on youth’s conceptions of ethnic identity, gender role development, and sexual attitudes and beliefs. She is especially interested in media portrayals of Latino/a characters and their impact on Latino/a youth. In addition to holding a Ph.D. and an M.A. from the University of Michigan, Rivadeneyra holds a B.A. in psychology and social behavior and minor in Chicano studies from the University of California, Irvine.

“Dr. Rivadeneyra’s efforts as a faculty member in the Department of Psychology invariably reflected her commitment to equity, diversity, and inclusion,” said Dr. Scott Jordan, chair of the Department of Psychology. “I was very impressed with how thoroughly she infused these values into the pedagogy of the Honors Program, and I look forward to that same energy and focus expressing itself in her new position in the college.”

In 2016, Rivadeneyra was named director of the Honors Program, and in her four years at the helm, the number of students participating in the program grew by 50 percent while still maintaining its high standards for admittance. The number of students of color grew by 29 percent during this time, thereby increasing the diversity of the program. Rivadeneyra’s efforts resulted in 2019 seeing an all-time high in the number of students participating in the Honors Program.

“Rocio made an immediate impact on the Honors Program when she served as the director,” said Dr. Amy Hurd, associate vice president for Undergraduate Education. “She was committed to increasing the diversity of the program to reflect that of ISU. She also led the enhancement of Honors Learning Experiences and Honors Seminars to focus on diversity and culture. The staff continues her work as she instilled its value and commitment in them.”

Rivadeneyra has a wide range of service and administrative experience. Most recently, she served on the presidential search committee that hired Dr. Terri Goss Kinzy, the first woman to serve as president in ISU’s 164-year history. In 2020, she was tapped to serve as the interim chair of the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders. Serving as a department chair during the coronavirus pandemic required excellent administrative skills, and Rivadeneyra consistently met the challenge.

She has served on the executive committee of the General Education Task Force since 2019. She has been a member of the University Chairs/Directors Council since 2016 and served as chair in 2019-2020. In addition, she has been a member of the President’s Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Council since 2019.

Her articles have appeared in national and international journals, and a number of them have included students as co-authors. She has made many professional presentations at local, state, and national conferences. In 2019 she was honored with the David A. Strand Diversity Achievement Award, and she was the recipient of an Illinois State University Service Initiative Award in 2005.

“Rocio’s experience with directing the Honors Program, service to general education, and with academic leadership in many roles throughout the University prepare her well for the exciting path forward for the college,” said Zosky. “I look forward to working with her as we serve our departments, our faculty, and our students.”