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Rochelle Smarr, Ed.D.

Director of Experiential Learning

As the Director of Experiential Learning, Rochelle leads the Engaged Learning team to increase access to and support of experiential learning inside and outside of the classroom for undergraduates and graduates. In collaboration with campus partners, Rochelle advocates for more integrated and holistic approach to student learning programs and services that are in alignment with institutional initiatives that closing the equity gaps for historically marginalized students and increase students’ readiness for post-university trajectories.

Rochelle’s passion for community engagement stems from her family’s military background. As a student organizer at San Jose State University, she relaunched the Student Homeless Alliance and cofounded the Gulf Coast Civic Works Project after Hurricane Katrina. Upon graduation, she spent two years as a labor organizer for an international union in different cities across the U.S., including Fresno, Salinas, Chicago, and Philadelphia. She was also an educational organizer for Students First-New York, establishing their Harlem parent chapter. She went on to work at the City College of New York as the Program Manager for the Partners for Change Fellowship. Rochelle worked at Cornell University as the Assistant Director of Student Leadership Initiatives for Engaged Cornell. Before returning to the West Coast, she served as the Associate Director for Penn's College Achievement Program and the Pre-Freshman Program at the University of Pennsylvania.

In 2019 she joined California State University, San Marcos as the Assistant Director for Civic Learning. In less than a year she was promoted to Director of Service Learning and Civic Engagement. As the Director of two high-impact practice programs, she managed a portfolio of programs that supported students’ academic and democratic engagement on- and off-campus. She facilitated student service-learning placements, CSUSM’s Civic Action Plan, annual days of service activities, and facilitated workshops on creating meaningful service opportunities and faculty-community partner relationships.

Her national service includes serving as co-chair of Membership for the International Association for Research on Service-Learning and Community Engagement (IARSLCE) and as a member of the Research Collaborative of the Coalition of Urban and Metropolitan Universities (CUMU). Rochelle also serves as a CUMU conference journal co-editor for the Metropolitan Universities Journal. Locally, she is an active member of the following organizations: the San Diego chapter of the League of Women Voters (LWV-SD), North San Diego County chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NSDC-NAACP), and the North County African American Women’s Association (NCAAWA).

She earned her B.A. in English from San Jose State and M.A. in Educational Leadership, Politics, and Advocacy from New York University, both with honors. She earned her Ed.D. in the joint doctoral program at University of California San Diego and California State University San Marcos. She is the recipient of the 2022 LEAD California Richard E. Cone Award for Emerging Leaders in Community Engagement.