Mariselle Meléndez receives 2023 Campus Executive Officer Distinguished Leadership Award

Mariselle Meléndez receives a 2023 Campus Award for Excellence in Faculty Leadership at this year's Celebration of Academic Service and Leadership Excellence. Photo by Michelle Hassel

Mariselle Meléndez, professor of Spanish and interim director of the School of Literatures, Cultures & Linguistics, has received a 2023 Campus Award for Excellence in Faculty Leadership from the University of Illinois-Urbana Champaign.

The university presents these awards each year to distinguished faculty who enrich the intellectual vitality of campus and the broader community.

The awards were given in three categories—faculty mentoring, distinguished executive officer, and outstanding faculty leadership—to Meléndez and three other faculty members during a ceremony on campus this week.

Meléndez, who previously served as the head of the Department of Spanish & Portuguese and was recently named the next director of the school, received the 2023 Campus Executive Officer Distinguished Leadership Award. This award recognizes outstanding academic leadership and vision by an executive officer within a college or campus unit who has led diverse groups through strategic improvements within their unit or campus.

"Mariselle has excelled in all aspects of leadership both in her department and the school, with an unwavering commitment to excellence, stability, cohesion, as well as equity, diversity, and inclusion," said Antony Augoustakis, who served as interim director of the school in Fall 2022. "On behalf of SLCL, we offer warm congratulations to Mariselle for this distinction."

Campus shared a description from Meléndez's nomination in its announcement:

Woman in glasses stands at podium
Mariselle Meléndez speaks at 2023 Celebration of Academic Service and Leadership Excellence. Photo by Michelle Hassel

Meléndez believes an active commitment to collaborative decision-making and the ability to listen and learn from others are key constituents of effective leadership. She promotes excellence and diversity in her unit and raises the visibility of the work being done in the unit by people at all ranks. She embodies the spirit of “when one of us succeeds we all succeed,” and uses individual successes to improve the collective. Meléndez has also excelled in conveying the central role of the humanities to global and community stakeholders. As a 2019-20 University of Illinois President’s Executive Leadership Program Fellow, she completed national-level training to prepare herself for critical leadership roles at the university. As a mentor and colleague, she shares the insights she has learned from these experiences with faculty members and graduate students. The resulting conversations have reshaped the possibilities for mentorship in the department and improved representation at high levels within academia.

Dania De La Hoya Rojas

Editor's note: A version of this story first appeared on the Illinois News Bureau website.