Maria Grandone named chair of NACADA’s Pacific region

By The UCI Paul Merage School of Business

Irvine, CA - (March 27, 2023) -

Maria Grandone, Director of Undergraduate Programs at the Merage School, was recently elected chair of the 9th region of NACADA.

In her new role, Grandone will help the international association continue to promote quality academic advising in her region, which includes American Samoa, California, Guam, Hawaii, Nevada, and the Northern Mariana Islands. When Grandone officially starts the role in October, her new duties will include putting together conferences, managing membership, and training and development for academic advisors.

“I view this as my way of giving back not only to the membership of the region, but also being able to help support future leaders that will take on this role or maybe other roles that we have available as part of the organization,” she said.

NACADA began as a result of the first National Conference on Academic Advising in 1977. The association has grown to include more than 12,000 members, who come from the United States, Puerto Rico, Canada, and several other countries. Members elect the national board of directors, among other leaders in the organization.

Grandone has been a member of NACADA for about a decade and most recently served as a co-chair.

As part of her platform, she’s aiming to promote transparency and the importance of mental health wellness for advisors. She’s also seeking to provide tools to advisors so that they can stay at the forefront of serving students online.

“Students are in this mode of being on social media and being connected in very different ways that we are probably not used to,” she said. “The pandemic put that out there front and center for all our students. So the work that we do has to be effective at incorporating technology."

Grandone is entering her role at NACADA during an exciting time when upper level leadership is undergoing a major change. She said it will open up new opportunities to bring forward new ideas, such as taking advantage of new technology.

“We will be able to think about how we utilize technology efficiently and effectively,” she said. “That kind of thinking can help ease a lot of the pressure on connecting all of our resources and technologies that we use on a day-to-day basis so that we can connect students with immediate resources.”

Grandone is uniquely qualified to lead NACADA’s 9th region. Before coming to the Merage School in November 2022, she was the director of the University Advisement Center at CSU Dominguez Hills. There, she provided strategic leadership and direction on matters related to academic advising, student success, and improving graduation rates. Before that, she held leadership positions at West Coast University, CSU Fullerton, and Loyola Marymount University.

At the Merage School, she oversees undergraduate programs including a Business Administration major, a jointly offered Business in Information Management major, and three minors in Accounting, Innovation, and Entrepreneurship and Management.

With all of her experience, Grandone is excited to start her new role and is eager for a new executive director to be named so that she can start planning.

“I feel excited about this opportunity because academic advisors offer students the personal connection to the institution,” she said. “I am looking forward to supporting my colleague's work and provide visibility to the vital connection of our work to student retention and student success."


About The Paul Merage School of Business

The UCI Paul Merage School of Business offers three dynamic MBA programs – plus PhD, specialty masters and undergraduate business degrees – that prepare business leaders for our digitally driven world. Through our programs, students acquire the exceptional ability to grow their organizations through strategic innovation, analytical decision-making, digital information technology and collaborative execution. While the Merage School is relatively young, it has quickly grown to rank consistently among the top five percent of all business programs worldwide through exceptional student recruitment, world-class faculty, a strong alumni network and close relationships with both individual business executives and global corporations. Additional information is available at