Director, First Year Experience & Strategic Initiatives, UCLA
As the Director of First Year Experience at UCLA, La’Tonya “LT” Rease Miles works collaboratively with Residential Life, Student Affairs departments more generally and academic departments campus-wide to develop initiatives and to increase awareness of the first-year experience on campus. Dr. Miles has established two successful programs for first-generation college students—one at UCLA and the other at Loyola Marymount University—both recognized for national Best Practices. She regularly consults with institutions nationally concerning first-gen students and also has advised local high schools (including Loyola High School and Verbum Dei High School) about developing programs on their campus. Finally, she established and manages a national Facebook group, “Empowering First Generation Students.”
Prior to this position, La’Tonya was the Director of the Academic Resource Center at Loyola Marymount University where she also spearheaded campus-wide initiatives that address student food insecurity and worked closely with the Vice Provost of Undergraduate Education to establish travel abroad pathways for students of color and first-generation college students. She earned a Ph.D. in American literature from UCLA; and her research interests include the hidden curriculum in higher education, narratives about the first-generation college experience, and the relationship of physical space and college student engagement.