As Lafayette’s new Assistant Dean and Director of Intercultural Development, Liliana Madrid said she is excited to embark on her new role and work with a student body who she said has already impressed her.
“From what I’ve seen, Lafayette students are very intelligent and strong student leaders. They have a lot of passion,” Madrid said. “I think that the way Lafayette students use social media to involve others and raise awareness about social justice issue is just fantastic.”
Even with previous experience as the Director of Intercultural Advancement at Moravian College, Madrid understands that each college she works with is unique with its own set of concerns. As she expects to make the best of her time at Lafayette, Madrid wants to immerse herself in the culture of the school.
“It’s hard for me right now to say what I want [to do], because I need to see what everyone wants first,” said Madrid, who will be working with the Gender and Sexuality Programs and the International Student Association.
“I want to take the time to see where students are here, to understand the culture and to make sure I know what the specific needs are, especially for underrepresented populations on campus,” she added.
The Lehigh Valley became home to Madrid about two and half years ago when she moved from her home in Los Angeles to look for job opportunities on the east coast. Madrid heard about the opportunity at Lafayette through her former, and once again current, colleague Chris Hunt, Dean of Equity and Inclusion.
“The first thing I think about when I think of Liliana is her presence,” Hunt said. “What I mean by that is her demeanor, her personality. The energy she brings is nothing short of refreshing. When you interact with her, you leave feeling good about the interaction.”
“Once I learned about Moravian, I also learned…more about the Lehigh, Lafayette, Muhlenberg, and so on.” Once being offered the position at Lafayette, “I was absolutely excited to come to a bigger school with new challenges and more students,” she said.
Impressed with the Lafayette students she talked to at “Bridging the Gap” and “LGBT-LVAIC” conferences hosted by the Lehigh Valley Association of Independent Colleges (LVAIC) group, Madrid is eager meet and work with those students, and others with similar interests and passions.
As Madrid will be working with Hunt and other members in the community involved in equity and intercultural development, the inclusivity and climate of the campus is something she with which will be concerned. The college has recently initiated the first phase of its official campus climate survey that is focused on race, equality, diversity and other aspects of identity, Hunt said.
According to Madrid, diversity on campus is on par with her previous colleges and other schools in Lehigh Valley.
“Because I haven’t actually started working, the data I’ve seen is just public statistics on the [Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System]. Based on that, in comparison to other schools in this area, Lafayette is very much in line. But I’m looking forward to see it for myself,” Madrid said.
Trisha Agarwal ’20, who already had a chance to talk with Madrid, believes Madrid will make a great addition to the community at Lafayette.
“Liliana, in the short amount of time that I worked with her, had a lot of enthusiasm and was all about definitive action. I think Lafayette will hasten its pace towards improvement with Liliana joining our team,” Agarwal said.