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Merida Allen named Multi-Ethnic Education and Engagement Center executive director and associate dean of students

Merida Allen has been named associate dean of students and executive director for the Multi-Ethnic Education and Engagement Center (MEC), effective July 1. She takes over for Daria Graham, who accepted a position as dean of students and associate vice president of student affairs at California State University San Bernardino.

Allen has served as director for multicultural/multi-ethnic education and student leadership for MEC since July 2018. In that role, she developed and coordinated social justice education opportunities for students, provided leadership development programming to multicultural student organizations and collaborated across divisions on multicultural and intercultural learning, engagement and intergroup dialogue.

While working from 2015-2018 as associate director for leadership initiatives for MEC, then called the Office of Multicultural Affairs, Allen served as the center’s interim director for three months.

“During the five years Merida has been with the Multi-Ethnic and Engagement Center, she has gained progressive experience in the positions in which she’s served and has developed strong relationships with students, faculty, and staff,” said Bill Fischer, vice president for student development. “She is well-positioned to now assume the leadership role for the center, and I look forward to working with and supporting her in advancing the center’s vision and strategic initiatives.”

Christine Schramm, associate vice president and dean of students, praised Allen’s leadership as well as her work to develop and implement the UDiversity Community Education Module, UD’s first required diversity module for students.

“Merida has been a solid, consistent presence through change, not only for the center, but for the students,” Schramm said. “The students just love her. We met with many faculty, staff and students when we looked to fill this position, and the support for her was overwhelming and unanimous. She has been embraced by the community and this appointment just makes sense. She was the obvious choice.”

Allen came to UD in 2015 after 13 years at the University of Toledo. Her professional experience in student development and multicultural education includes academic support and instruction; intergroup dialogue training; curriculum development; student success; data and research analysis; and developing programming, consulting, training and development for diverse student populations. She has also been an adjunct instructor. 

“My enthusiasm is through the roof,” Allen said. “I recognize this is a unique time for transition, and I want to continue to work to elevate diverse student voices and provide space and support for student development. I stand on the shoulders of really great mentors and leaders, and I’m looking forward to continuing the work of our center.”

Allen anticipates earning her doctorate in educational leadership from UD in 2021. Her dissertation will focus on the assessment of diversity learning outcomes, using data collected from the first year of the UDiversity Community Education Module.

“I am thrilled that Merida will assume this important UD leadership role,” said President Eric F. Spina. “She is smart, accomplished, and already has a range of relationships and experiences at our special Catholic, Marianist university. I look forward to supporting Merida and her colleagues in MEC as we continue to strengthen our diverse, inclusive community and deepen our focus on the success of every student and their preparation for a highly intercultural world.” 


News and Communications Staff