Acting assistant director for Latino center chosen

By Gloria Carr

An acting assistant director at the Center for Latino and Latin American Studies was appointed this week while a national search begins.

Elena Ray replaces Mike Fraga, who resigned from NIU last month.

Director Michael Gonzales said Ray was recommended by the center’s advisory board. The recommendation was approved by the College of Liberal Arts, he said.

A national search committee consisting of Gonzales, some faculty members and two student representatives was formed last spring when Fraga left the position.

“We’ve already begun advertising and we’ve received applications,” Gonzales said.

He said the committee will be looking for outstanding scholars who will provide a good role model for Latino students. “We are going to be very selective,” Gonzales said.

Ray will be working on grant proposals, developing programs and improving current programs. “I want to see more grants coming,” Ray said. “I’m trying to work with educational grants for students and faculty to use.”

Another goal will be to collaborate on course requirements for the minor the department offers.

“Basically, I want to see how well we can organize the courses,” she said.

Ray has been an instructor for the department of Foreign Language and Literatures for five years. Her specialty is Spanish language literature of South America, Mexico and the Caribbean. She said her courses also include Chicano literature.

A native of Peru, she attended University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana and received a doctorate in Foreign Language and Literature. Her master’s degree is in anthropology.

The assistant director position will be filled sometime next year. The deadline for applications is Nov. 1.