With the position of Vice President of Student Affairs open, NEIU prepares for an interim to take over until a new replacement is found.
NEIU previously underwent a similar transition when the university filled the then-vacant position of Vice President of Finance and Administration with an interim ahead of Manish Kumar accepting the position.
Dean of Students Matt Specht explained the process of finding a new Vice President of Student Affairs and what it means to have an interim fill the position. According to Specht, the president’s cabinet addresses university issues and helps make decisions until a replacement is found.
“What the Vice President of Student Affairs does is to position the units in a favorable position across the university and represent the interest of the university to a broader environment,” said Specht.
Specht explained the possible effect such decisions carry on the student body until a replacement is discovered. While no one is currently heading student affairs at the moment, Specht mentioned the vacancy will only remain for a short period of time He added that with the provost taking over, the absence of a VP of Students Affairs will not affect students.
Along with the Vice President of Student Affairs, NEIU leadership includes the Dean of Students and nine other directors.
Specht added that all members of student affairs collaborate to provide the best service for students. “While we eagerly await the search to hire a new Vice President for Student Affairs, we continue to be diligent and keep the services and programs that we’ve always done going during this time,” said Specht.
Specht elaborated on the relationship between the nine directors during the search for a new Vice President of Student Affairs. “We have such good relationships and connections across the campus with the directors that if we were to need advocacy or anything for students that are related to other divisions on campus, we would be able to communicate with them directly,” he told the Independent.
Specht maintains that having an interim in the middle of the semester did not impact pressing upper-level administrative decisions.
Hoping to fill the position over the summer, Specht said, “It’s always helpful to have that kind of guidance at the top.” Finding someone to fill the position before the fall semester begins would help with “planning and decisions that need to be made about what programs to run and how we are going to run our units into the next year.”
With the campus shut down for the foreseeable future, Specht says “the fact that we are reporting to an interim during this challenging time has not been an issue.” He included that the provost has been very helpful in providing guidance and direction through challenges while campus is closed.
Specht emphasizes the importance of compatibility when searching for a VP of Student Affairs. “We’re looking forward to this search being productive and finding us someone who understands our student body, our diversity and our commitment to social justice. We want them to put that in the forefront of their advocacy and how we work to support our unique, diverse student body.”