Isabel Moreno-López named new associate provost
No, Isabel Moreno-López said laughing, she’s not here to yell or wag her finger at students. She’s here to listen. To offer advice. Students come to her, often reluctantly, when they are at their worst.
Yet, Moreno-López loves her new position as associate provost of undergraduate students. She doesn’t let students leave her office until they are in a better place, even if it means shutting the door and rescheduling appointments, because whoever is in her office at that moment is her entire focus.
There is the 1 percent she can’t help, but it’s the other 99 that make her job satisfying, that fulfill her days and bring her back to work at 8 a.m. every day.
“Why?” Moreno-López asked, incredulous. Why is she passionate about her job? “Because it’s fun. Because it’s challenging. Because I learn from it. Because it opens my eyes every day. I get to share my knowledge, but I get to learn so much not only from my colleagues but from my own students. They open my eyes to things. I’m 30 years their senior and they have a lot to teach me. It’s another world. It’s another vision of life.”
She has been a Goucher professor for 15 years and associate provost since June 2018. “Isabel has been a steadfast leader at Goucher for more than a decade,” says Scott Sibley, Goucher’s interim provost. “Along with her strong connections across the Goucher community, she brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the associate provost role and all of our students benefit from her expertise in her new position.”
Her eyes are wide open, and her hands are steady in a time of transitions. “They are scary, but they are also an opportunity to change what needs to be changed, to keep what is not broken, to take a step back and look at it in a holistic manner without missing the details,” Moreno-López said. “Change is scary, but it is an opportunity to evaluate, assess, improve.”
“I hope for Goucher to rise like a phoenix from the ashes,” she said. “It’s not that I think we are in the ashes right now, but there is no transformation without uncertainty and rebuilding.”
In order to understand Moreno-López and the certainty with which she says this, know that she laughs often. Know that she is from Madrid. Know that she is married to a Mexican woman. Know that they have two young boys.
Know that Moreno-López is herself a phoenix rising.
She has dusted the ashes from her wings in a world where she has experienced discrimination and understands what it’s like to work 10 times harder to get to the same place as someone who is not the “other.”
“I wouldn’t have it any other way,” she said. “That doesn’t mean I accept being mistreated. That means I am proud of who I am. If that makes me the other, then I embrace it. But I fight for the future of my kids, who are darker than me and who have hyphenated last names that are Spanish sounding.”
Moreno-López burns bright, unapologetically.
“I am Spanish. I am a foreigner. I will always be a foreigner in this country. I will never lose this accent of mine and I don’t want to. In fact, it’s part of my identity in this country,” she said. “I’m a U.S. citizen, but I will never stop being a foreigner. I will never stop being the other. And it’s not always a bad thing. … It is a good thing to bring the richness that you embody because you are the other. I bring to the floor an understanding of other perspectives not because I have studied them, but because I am them.”