College of DuPage names Nathania Montes as dean of student affairs
As Dean of Student Affairs at College of DuPage, Nathania Montes, Ph.D., is committed to building strong trajectories for tomorrow's future leaders and removing barriers to help students succeed.
"The beauty of this position is that I have a wonderful opportunity to advocate on behalf of students from all walks of life," she said. "I balance this with holding our more than 21,000 students accountable for their actions so they understand the college's expectations and their responsibilities. In doing so, our students learn how to advocate for themselves and others."
Montes brings to the role 25 years of extensive experience in higher education, with 18 years at College of DuPage. Armed with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Cornell University and both her Master of Arts and Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology from Northwestern University, she has earned several awards underscoring her passion for student success.
She spent the early part of her career as a site coordinator and therapist for the Family Institute at Northwestern University and then became a licensed clinical professional counselor. At College of DuPage, Montes began her work as a full-time counseling faculty member, focusing on the academic and social well-being of students with a specialization in mental health. Montes later was appointed as Associate Dean of Counseling, Advising and Transfer Services and spearheaded a comprehensive rebranding of the area to improve student services and increase departmental visibility and student satisfaction.
In her most recent role as interim Dean of Student Development, Montes created and led the award-winning Chaps Unite Against Racism initiative in partnership with College of DuPage and DuPage County Chairman Dan Cronin. The yearlong initiative, which earned honors from the National Association of Counties, created a platform for important dialogue and community engagement ranging from free speech to equity in education, economics and enforcement of the law programming.
Montes also developed the COVID-19 student reporting and support process. For her work, she received the national League for Innovation award for creating innovative practices and activities that improve an institution's ability to serve students and the community.
College of DuPage President Dr. Brian Caputo said Montes' wealth of experience as a results-oriented leader and zeal for students allow her to understand what vital programs and services students need in order to thrive.
"Dr. Montes has a proven track record of serving the college with a data-driven approach to support students in their lives beyond the classroom, including career readiness, experiential learning and community engagement," he said. "As a counselor, she worked one-on-one with students to help them build the necessary skills to meet their goals. She uses this experience to inform her work as an administrator to both implement and improve programming that empowers students to grow personally, academically and professionally. We are thrilled to have Dr. Montes as part of our administrative team."
In her new role as Dean of Student Affairs, Montes chairs the college's Behavioral Intervention Team, the student complaint process and all student COVID reporting and support processes. Montes also oversees the areas of Access and Accommodations; Student Life; Career Services; the Latino Outreach Center; the Center for Student Diversity, Equity and Inclusion; Code of Academic and Student Conduct; and Title IX. Montes also will oversee the future Multicultural and Community Center.
Whether through revamping the codes for student and academic conduct or expanding the College's Fuel Pantry to address food and other insecurities, Montes wants all students to know that COD is a place where they belong.
"I love the mission of community colleges," she said. "These critical institutions of higher education provide so many people access to a quality and affordable education. That is what continues to draw me to the community college experience and wanting to help. I know at College of DuPage we can make a difference."
College of DuPage is institutionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. Serving approximately 21,000 students each term, College of DuPage is the largest public community college in the state of Illinois. The college grants seven associate degrees and offers more than 170 career and technical certificates in over 50 areas of study.