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Director named for SIUE college readiness office

Southern Illinois University Edwardsville has selected MaKesha Harris Lee, EdD, as its first director of the new SIUE CORE TEAM (College Readiness: Transition, Engage, Achieve and Mentor) office in enrollment management.

As assistant director for the SIUE Precollegiate Programs two years, Harris Lee led the implementation of precollegiate partnerships with high schools in East St Louis and Collinsville, and developed the Summer Success program at SIUE.

“We have been honored to serve and engage with students during the past two summers through the summer success program,” said Harris Lee. “As a dedicated office, CORE TEAM is committed to the continued success of our precollegiate programs and partnerships.”

“Dr. Harris Lee leads by example,” said Scott Belobrajdic EdD, associate vice chancellor of enrollment management. “She has designed and implemented multiple new initiatives that benefit students and support the SIUE mission. Her work and the work of her unit have a positive impact on the University’s relationship with surrounding communities, new student recruitment and student retention. We appreciate her professional expertise.”

As SIUE CORE TEAM director, Harris Lee will continue to deliver precollegiate student success support through partnerships with local schools and the summer success program. Additionally, the office will launch a financial literacy program with its precollegiate partner schools in collaboration with Ramsey Education, a Dave Ramsey program. The office aims to provide holistic support for high school and incoming SIUE students through a variety of educational and mentorship opportunities.

During her nearly seven-year tenure at SIUE, Harris Lee has demonstrated a commitment to excellence in education and student success. At the start of her role as assistant director, she stated “My mission as the assistant director for pre-collegiate programs and the implementation of a summer success program is to provide support for access to post-secondary education, as well as promote the many resources at SIUE to help them thrive in their holistic development as future college students.”

Harris Lee maintains this mission today and believes the work of SIUE CORE TEAM will not only continue to achieve her original goals in the early stages of her work, but will also allow for growth and expansion of precollegiate efforts.

A Centralia native, Harris Lee joined SIUE in January 2014 as an advisor in the Office of Academic Advising. In 2015, she became a co-facilitator of the Sister Circle mentoring program for first-year women of color, which received the 2017 Great Lakes Association of College & University Housing Officers (GLACUHO) Outstanding Project of the Year Award. In 2016, she became a board member-at-large for the SIUE Black Faculty and Staff Association.

Prior to SIUE, Harris Lee served as the academic advisor for the TRIO Student Support Services program at Kaskaskia College, and a study skills and career development instructor at both Eastern Illinois University and the University of Missouri-St. Louis.

Harris Lee earned a bachelor’s in education and a master’s in college student affairs from Eastern Illinois University. In 2017, she earned a doctorate in higher education leadership at Maryville University in St. Louis.

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