In her first year as dean of the School for New Learning (SNL) Marisa Alicea watched the first cohort of students graduate from the DePaul Tangaza College program in Nairobi, Kenya; enhanced the quality of SNL's online learning and writing programs; and oversaw the school's move to the Richard M. and Maggie C. Daley Building building at 14 E. Jackson Blvd. in Chicago's Loop. She also helped lead efforts to create two accelerated degree-completion programs, which launched in spring 2010: the BA in leadership studies and the BA in applied behavioral studies in collaboration with the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences and the College of Communication.
Alicea was named dean of the School for New Learning in April 2008 after serving as interim dean for the prior 10 months. The 21-year DePaul veteran brought a wealth of experience as an educator and administrator to the deanship, having served in a number of leadership positions in SNL and throughout the university.
Alicea began her tenure at DePaul as associate director of the Center for Latino Research and as a lecturer in DePaul's sociology department. From there, she moved to SNL where she served in a variety of roles, including associate professor, director of undergraduate programs for SNL at DePaul's O'Hare Campus and associate dean for curriculum and instruction. Alicea was named a St. Vincent DePaul Professor in 2006. She also has served on an array of DePaul committees and councils, including the Associate Dean's Council, the Director's Council, Faculty Council and the School for New Learning Governance Task Force. Prior to joining DePaul, she lectured at Northwestern University and worked as a graduate research fellow in Northwestern's Center for Urban Affairs and Policy Research.
Alicea is an authority on the migration and settlement patterns within Latino communities, immigration issues for Mexicans, Puerto Ricans and Cubans, as well as race and ethnic relations and gender studies.
A frequent guest lecturer, Alicea has been invited to present on a range of subjects, including the role of women in the social construction of a transnational community and methadone use by women. She has lectured at such prestigious institutions as the University of Chicago, the University of Michigan and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Her scholarship has been published widely in journals, book reviews and articles. She is the co-author of two books: "Women Surviving Heroin: Interviews With Methadone Users" (University Press 2001) and "Migration and Immigration: A Global Perspective" (Greenwood Press 2004).
Living the DePaul mission has resulted in numerous community ties for Alicea. She has served as a board member and chairman of Mujeres Latinas en Accion, on the advisory committees of Amigas Latinas and of the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund, and as chair of the Institute of Puerto Rican Arts and Culture.
In 1989, Alicea earned a PhD in sociology from Northwestern University with a specialization in race, ethnicity and immigration. She earned a master's degree in sociology from Northwestern in 1986 and a bachelor's degree in education, also from Northwestern, in 1981.