DAVENPORT — Maritza Espina Ph.D., joined St. Ambrose University July 1 as dean of the College of Business. She has more than a decade of leadership experience and 16 years of scholarship in management research, publications, teaching and service.
She leads eight undergraduate and four graduate programs, and the St. Ambrose Center for Professional Development.
Prior to joining St. Ambrose, Espina served as dean of the Business School for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at the Ana G. Mendez University System in Puerto Rico.
Espina said the St. Ambrose University mission of enriching lives was very appealing, as much of her work reflects the same goals. As dean, she plans to develop projects to grow the College of Business.
“First, we need to let everyone know about the wonderful things that are already happening here, such as the work our faculty are doing with students to close the gap between alumni skills set and industry needs, and bring attention to our great programs,” she said.
Espina said she wants to foster teamwork between all the undergraduate and graduate COB programs and increase the focus on entrepreneurship and sustainability within the curriculum.
Since 2012, Espina has been involved in the development of the Sustainability, Ethics and Entrepreneurship Conference (SEE). The SEE attracts scholars who recognize that sustainability and ethics are growth engines, not just acts of compliance, she said.
“It is the environment first, community or society second, and profit third. If we protect the resources we have today for future generations, if we are sustainable, our businesses will be, too. And we are trying to change the focus of business curriculum to reflect that,” Espina said.
During her 11-year tenure as dean with the Ana G. Mendez University System, Espina led 19 academic programs; achieved international accreditation by ACBSP; created six new academic programs; increased enrollment and course offerings to approximately 1,500 business students on campus and 1,000 off-campus; and more. Her experience and achievements have shaped her views of the role educators must play.
“It doesn’t matter who the student is or what the family situation may be, our responsibility is to take each student who is starting today and help them become professionals. You have to find the resources, and if you don’t have them, you need to work on yourself and become a better professor so all students can succeed,” she said.
Espina received a bachelor’s in statistics from the University of Puerto Rico; a master’s in operations research and statistics and a doctoral degree in management from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.