Wellesley’s New Associate Dean Will Promote Intercultural Engagement, Inclusion, and Equity

Dean Sendoya chats with students.
October 31, 2018

Ines Maturana Sendoya is Wellesley’s new associate dean for inclusion and engagement. Prior to joining the College, she was the director of the Thea Bowman AHANA (African, Hispanic, Asian, and Native American) and Intercultural Center at Boston College. At Wellesley, she will oversee the Intercultural Education unit and the Slater International Center.

Daily Shot writers spoke with Sendoya recently about her role on campus.


How has your experience in higher education prepared you for your position at Wellesley?

Ines Maturana Sendoya: I have over 20 years of professional experience designing, coordinating, and assessing student engagement programs at Boston College. I have also supervised professional staff, graduate, and undergraduate students.

I taught classes on intercultural skills and led workshops using a variety of curricula and pedagogies. I have advised students from different cultural and ethnic [backgrounds], many of them from underrepresented groups. At this point in my career, I have developed a broad toolkit to provide leadership and vision to create initiatives on inclusion and engagement throughout the student experience. 


Does the current state of diversity and race relations, nationally and across the world, elevate the significance of inclusion and engagement?

Sendoya: Certainly, but I would say that working on issues of diversity and engagement has always felt important in the 20-plus years I have worked in higher education. In the current environment, we are reminded of the urgency in equipping our students with skills and knowledge so that they become agents who create inclusive spaces wherever they go.


What in your personal background makes this role a good fit for you?

Sendoya: I came to the United States from Colombia as an international student to another women’s college, Smith College, for a one-year program for graduate students. When I arrived at Wellesley, Karen Pabon, the former director of Slater, had left, and I partnered with Carol Bate to support the center in the transition. As I worked with the student leaders at Slater, I remembered some of my experiences as an international student and used that information to connect with them, the first-year international students, and their parents. 

As a child, I studied at an elite school where my peers had more financial means than my family. I learned how to navigate those spaces and establish friendships across socio-economic differences. At Wellesley, I will assist students in similar circumstances and also think about ways we can ensure that all students have a full Wellesley experience. 

I can also draw on my experiences and perspective as an Afro-Colombian woman, which will also inform my leadership style. My academic preparation in modern languages, intercultural relations, higher education administration, and international higher education also provided me with knowledge and tools to prepare me for the role of associate dean for inclusion and engagement.


Do you anticipate that working at a women’s college will be different for you in some ways?

Sendoya: Yes. I am excited about being a part of an institution of higher education where, hopefully, students’ self-esteem is not going to diminish as they go through their academic journey as is the case in many co-educational schools, but that in fact, [the College] has the structures and resources to empower them and help them reach their full potential. 


Can you describe the Options Through Education program you managed at Boston College?

Sendoya: The Options Through Education program (OTE) is a six-week, residential, pre-college enrichment program designed for high need and first-generation students who have demonstrated potential and leadership in spite of challenging educational and financial circumstances. OTE familiarizes participants with Boston College’s academic and administrative resources, strengthens their academic skills, and acquaints them with the campus and surrounding community. The OTE program will be celebrating its 40th anniversary in June 2019.

Photo: Ines Sendoya (left) talks with students and the 2018 Alumnae Acheivement Award winner Nergis Mavalvala ’90 (right) at the International Alumnae Reception sponsored by Slater on October 12, 2018.