Happy Summer from PCC! I am thrilled to introduce myself as the newest member of the PCC team, serving as the Senior Director for Colleges and University Partnerships (CUP). Having joined in April, I am eager to support colleges and universities in achieving their equity goals. With over 20 years of experience in higher education, I have worked in various institutions, including state research flagships, Hispanic-Serving Institutions, and community colleges, for the past decade. Additionally, I am honored to serve as a faculty member, teaching higher education administration to graduate and doctoral students. 

I am excited to bring my extensive experience in student success within student affairs, enrollment services, and student engagement to PCC. As we persistently strive to enhance educational accessibility, our unwavering dedication lies in serving our 25 partners, advancing equity plans, reforming developmental education, and acquiring knowledge on how to facilitate systemic change. Our team is fully committed to understanding the unique needs of our partner institutions, offering assistance during transitional periods of systemic leadership, and providing valuable guidance in legislative endeavors.

I have extensive firsthand experience in tackling our students’ challenges when striving to achieve their academic goals. I am a staunch advocate for meeting students at their current level while enhancing our institution’s support systems, policies, curriculum, and culture to align with the needs of today’s students. Throughout my career, I have consistently aimed to enhance the economic mobility of the students who rely most on our assistance. In Illinois, a significant number of students require education to bring about economic transformation in their lives and for the benefit of future generations.

I am thrilled to continue learning about nationwide reforms that can be implemented in Illinois. Our team consistently reviews our work to provide you with the best possible service, exemplify excellence, and offer the support needed to help achieve your institutional goals in reducing equity gaps. The growth of our team clearly demonstrates PCC’s commitment to serving our Black, Latinx, and low-income students. As we look ahead to the new academic year, I eagerly anticipate connecting with you through various platforms and gaining a deeper understanding of how we can support your institution. Although much challenging work is ahead of us, it is also meaningful work. I sincerely appreciate your ongoing partnership in improving the lives of our Illinois students.

Dr. Claudia Mercado,

Senior Director of College and University Partnerships