Meet MSUM’s new associate vice president for academic affairs and dean of graduate studies, Dr. Robert Nava. Robert will support the Academic Affairs division in strategically leading and managing all aspects of MSUM's academic areas. He will also serve as the Dean of Graduate Studies, which includes 14 academic programs and more than 980 students. His goal is to help the leaders of those programs move forward to achieve the university’s mission.
This is Robert’s first time living in the Midwest. He grew up in California and has lived in Oregon for the last 25 years.
Q: What drew you to MSUM?
A: I wanted the opportunity to serve diverse populations, including first-generation and low-income students. Since I was a first-generation student myself, I want to provide opportunities to others who have similar experiences.
Q: What is something that has surprised you about MSUM so far?
A: It’s not necessarily a surprise but something enjoyable is how friendly and welcoming people are. MSUM does a great job welcoming people. I’ve had people offer to give me tours of the city and other different resources, which hasn’t happened to me before.
Q: What is the most interesting thing you’re working on right now?
A: This isn’t a project that I’m working on but getting to know people is interesting. To do my job successfully, I need to know the people I work with. So, learning about them and their lives is very interesting and just as important as the tasks I need to achieve.
Q: What energizes you at work?
A: The mission of our institution is very powerful, and I think being able to open doors for our students to become people that transform the world is amazing. I truly believe in this; this job has many challenges but is so worth it.
Q: What energizes you outside of work?
A: I love learning about new places and traveling. Exploring new places is what I love doing the most.
His travels have taken him to many places, including Puerto Rico and Scotland. The Grand Canyon is next on the list of places he would like to see.
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