New director to lead Asian American Resource and Cultural Center

Mark Martell, new director of the Asian American Resource and Cultural Center. Photo: Roberta Dupuis-Devlin (click photo for larger image)

Mark Martell, new director of the Asian American Resource and Cultural Center. Photo: Roberta Dupuis-Devlin (click photo for larger image)

Student affairs and higher education professional Mark Martell is the new director of the Asian American Resource and Cultural Center at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

For seven years, Martell was assistant director of the UIC Office of Career Services, where he advised students, developed educational workshops and peer mentor programs, and collaborated with other campus units.

“Mark’s background in student affairs and his extensive institutional knowledge provides him with a unique set of attributes that will serve him well in leading the center and building community by promoting intercultural awareness, collaboration and inclusion,” says Tyrone Forman, associate chancellor and vice provost for diversity and professor of African American studies.

Martell’s work and community service were honored in 2012 with the Chancellor’s Academic Professional Excellence Award and the Safe Zone 10-year Anniversary Award. He has served on campus committees for student academic success, Asian American and LGBTQ issues, and recruitment of staff and faculty.

Under his leadership, the university achieved certification ratings from OUT for Work, a nonprofit organization serving LGBTQ students and allies entering the workplace, that advanced from silver in 2010 and 2011 to gold in 2012 and gold-plus in 2013.

UIC’s Asian American Resource and Cultural Center offers cultural and educational programming to build knowledge of Asian American cultures within the campus community and beyond. For the approximately 20 percent of UIC undergraduate students who identify as Asian American, the center’s services and programs support their academic, personal and professional goals.

“I look forward to celebrating the center’s 10th year anniversary and to bring it to new levels as it enters its second decade on our campus,” Martell said.

He succeeds the center’s founding director, Karen Su, clinical assistant professor of Asian American Studies, who is now project director of the UIC Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander Serving Institutions (AANAPISI) Initiative. UIC earned AANAPISI designation in 2010.

The AANAPISI initiative, supported by two Department of Education grants totaling almost $4 million, will strengthen programs to improve the educational outcomes and experiences of undergraduate Asian American, Pacific Islander and English language learner students at UIC.

One of Martell’s goals is to work with campus leaders to extend services provided by the Asian American Resource and Cultural Center that are funded via the grants, which expire next fall.

Martell’s higher education career began in 2000 with a three-year stint as a resident director in UIC Campus Housing. After holding positions with Semester at Sea and the Inspiration Corporation, he returned to UIC in 2005 as a specialist in the Student Employment Office.

Martell is a graduate of Florida International University, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in English with a minor in music, and a master’s degree in linguistics. Currently a Ph.D. candidate in educational policy studies at UIC, he is completing his dissertation, which explores the racialized experiences of UIC’s Asian American students and the consequences for their academic success.

The Asian American Resource and Cultural Center is one of six UIC Centers for Cultural Understanding and Social Change, which provide support to specific populations on campus and opportunities for intercultural engagement among students, faculty, staff and Chicago communities.