Maria Dykema Erb, co-director of the Diversity and Student Success program within The Graduate School, has been appointed inaugural director of the Newbury Center at Boston University.
BU administrators announced the new center and Erb’s appointment on Oct. 27. The center, scheduled to open in January 2021, “will serve as a support hub for first-generation BU students from matriculation through graduation,” officials said in the announcement.
Erb has provided exceptional leadership, both at UNC-Chapel Hill and nationally, in advancing issues specific to first-generation students, said UNC-Chapel Hill Graduate School Dean Suzanne Barbour.
“Maria’s contributions to The Graduate School and support for underrepresented graduate students have been nothing short of amazing,” Barbour said. “We’ve been very lucky to have her on our team and I wish her all best and much success in her new role.”
Erb received the UNC Student Affairs 2019 Campus Partner Award for exceeding occupational requirements in working with Student Affairs to enhance the experiences of students. In 2020, she was appointed to membership on the Advocacy Group for the Center for First-generation Student Success; the center is an initiative of The Suder Foundation and NASPA-Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education, the leading association for the advancement, health and sustainability of the student affairs profession.
In 2019, the Center for First-generation Student Success named UNC-Chapel Hill a “First-gen Forward Advisory Institution,” among its inaugural cohort of academic institutions recognized for commitment to first-generation students.
In announcing the opening of the Newbury Center and Erb’s appointment to the BU campus community, University Provost and Chief Academic Officer Jean Morrison and Vice President and Associate Provost for Community & Inclusion Crystal Williams said of Erb, “Maria is a collaborator and community-builder by nature. She brings tremendous energy, experience, and empathy to this new directorship, and a special ability to connect with students and, in turn, connect them with opportunities that will help them thrive.”
Since joining UNC-Chapel Hill in January 2016, Erb has directed several initiatives within Diversity and Student Success: Carolina Grad Student F1RSTS, Global Grads, Military-Affiliated Grads, QGAPS (Queer Graduate and Professional Students) and the APIDA (Asian Pacific Islander Desi American) Grads empowerment group. She has almost three decades of professional experience in advancing student success.
“Being part of the Carolina community for the last five years and building the Diversity and Student Success program with co-director Kathy Wood and program coordinator Yesenia Pedro Vicente has been one of the highlights of my career,” Erb said. “I have truly enjoyed working with the amazing graduate students and colleagues at UNC-Chapel Hill, and I am excited for this new challenge to build a campus-wide first-generation program at Boston University supporting undergraduate, graduate, and professional students.”
To learn more about the Newbury Center at Boston University, see this story from BU Today, “BU to Open New Center to Support First-Generation Students.”