MBU Names New Associate Vice President of Student Engagement

Mary Baldwin University has announced that Learie C. Nurse, EdD, will become the new associate vice president of student engagement, effective in May.

With a strong commitment to social justice and diversity work, Nurse is intentional about creating environments where all voices matter. His philosophy in life is to advocate and provide a holistic and caring environment for students to reach their fullest potential.

Most recently, Nurse served as the associate dean of students at the New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) in Newark. In that role, he created a formalized framework for adjudicating student conduct and academic integrity. In addition to student conduct, he worked to connect students who exhibited psychological concerns with accessibility resources and services and academic affairs.

Prior to NJIT, Nurse served as the dean of students at Naropa University in Boulder, Colorado, where he provided general oversight, supervision, leadership, strategic planning, programs, and vision for the functional areas of the division of student affairs.

While serving as dean, he revamped the first-year orientation process, introduced special interest housing and living and learning communities as a retention tool, and oversaw the CARE team among other initiatives.

A native of Barbados, Nurse started his professional career in the hospitality industry after graduating from Barbados Community College with a degree in food and beverage operations. In 2000, he emigrated to the United States to further his education and earned his bachelor’s degree in food and beverage management at the New England Culinary Institute (NECI) in Vermont. 

He later earned a master of education in interdisciplinary studies — with an interest in student affairs and higher education — at the University of Vermont (UVM) while serving as retail operations manager in the dining services department, achieving the distinction of becoming the first NECI grad to earn an advanced master’s degree. 

He then accepted a position at the State University of New York (SUNY), Plattsburgh as an educational opportunity program counselor, providing academic support, guidance, and access for first-generation college students. 

After SUNY Plattsburgh, he returned to UVM and served as a residence director in the department of residence life while pursuing his doctorate. During his tenure in the department, he was promoted to an assistant director and acting associate director for residential education. In this role, he supervised both graduate and paraprofessionals and worked to create a safe and welcoming environment for students in the areas of diversity, leadership development, programming, and student adjudication processes. 

In 2011, Nurse received his doctorate in educational leadership and policy studies from UVM with his research foci on the differences between Black diaspora students and their social mobility in higher education at predominantly white institutions. He has a deep interest in supporting students from marginalized identities and helping them to find their sense of belonging in a college environment. 

A member of the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators and the American College Personnel Association (ACPA), Nurse has presented at the ACPA regional and national conference and the tri-state consortium conference. His professional studies of interest include Caribbean students’ access to higher education, differences of Black diaspora college students at white institutions, diversity retention efforts, and race relations.

Nurse is an alumnus of the Social Justice Training Institute, a certified Intercultural Development Inventory facilitator, a certified restorative practices trainer, and a member of the Pi Gammu Mu honor society. 

In addition to higher education, Nurse has a passion for music and has served as a worship and arts co-director.

He is married to Takiyah Nurse, ND, and they have two young sons.