Presidential Candidate Profile: Dr. Katrina Bell-Jordan

Interim President Dr. Katrina Bell-Jordan presents statistics on future Target Markets for NEIU expansion during her Town Hall Meeting
Interim President Dr. Katrina Bell-Jordan presents statistics on future Target Markets for NEIU expansion during her Town Hall Meeting
Zachariah Simmons


Dr. Katrina Bell-Jordan is one of four Presidential Candidates to be chosen for consideration by NEIU’s Search Committee. Currently, she serves as NEIU’s Interim President and has held that position since July of 2023.

Prior to her work as Interim President, Dr. Bell-Jordan has held a continuous line of positions within NEIU: Associate Chair of the Department of Communication, Media and Theatre (CMT) from 2004 to 2007, Department Chair of CMT from 2007 to 2014, Associate Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) from 2015-2017 and CAS Dean/Interim Dean from 2017 until she was made Interim President in 2023.

Prior to and during the beginning of her academic leadership tenure here at NEIU, Dr. Bell-Jordan traversed the professorial ranks from Assistant, to Associate, and then fully-fledged CMT Professor from 1997-2008. And before that she was a reporter and academic whose works discuss “race and representation in the media; intersections of gender and race; Black feminist thought and African-American women’s communicative experiences,” according to her page on NEIU’s website where a list of her Selected Publications can be found. 

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Throughout Dr. Bell-Jordan’s town hall presentation she emphasized her vision for NEIU in three parts: Visibility, Vibrancy, and Vitality. As she detailed, this is a multi-facetted plan with aims in many directions some of which are the establishment of “New and Alternative Revenue Streams,” investing in “Innovative Curriculum, Programming and Community Engagement,” continuing to be a “Leader Among Urban HSIs and MSIs,” as well as focusing on the increase of NEIU’s corporate partnerships. She said that NEIU must strive to “model inclusive excellence.”  

Bell-Jordan also took the audience through what she called her tactics for “Operationalizing the Vision,” wherein she detailed the material strategies for growth, marketing expansion, and student retention, among many other points, all of which can be found in her presentation materials. She also took a moment to celebrate the fact that credits for fiscal year ‘24 surpassed expectations by about 3,000 hours, as well as expressing the intended “11% increase in new undergraduates and 15% increase in new graduate students” for the coming fiscal year ’25.

During the question and response section, a faculty member referenced the growth that Bell-Jordan had lauded, and congratulated the efforts of all faculty in picking up the slack despite the fact that NEIU has been without a Chief Enrollment Officer for 14 months before asking what her plan was in regards to this vacated position and the need for assistance when it comes to increasing enrollment numbers.

She explained that there were three major positions that needed to be filled when she began her stint as Interim President, Chief Enrollment Officer being one of them, then said, “I didn’t have the right person that I thought could come in at the time…and build that up.” She also said, “I have started and stopped on a number of hires and am currently working aggressively to hopefully announce within the next week…an Interim Vice President for Enrollment Management.”

Another question was levied from several online attendees who addressed the declining financial investment in the university, specifically the El Centro and CCICS facilities and asked Bell-Jordan’s plans are for equity, programming, and staffing at these locations, as well as how she would make herself more visible to those on these campuses.

After admitting the difficulty of being visible on these campuses due to sheer logistics, i.e., having to lug belongings from one place to another and not taking an office at either of these satellite locations, she did state that simply attending programs and events on these campuses were one easy way to show her visibility. More concretely, Bell-Jordan invoked the pending programs at El Centro like the nursing program and simulation lab that will be built out and housed there, and the potential to meet a job market need through this addition. 

As for CCICS, she said that “we haven’t had a real visioning process for the Carruthers Center this year,” though she did explain some early ideas she envisions for the Center molding it into a destination campus and investing in it as a hub of innovation for NEIU. Additionally, she explained how CCICS must be understood in the context of the community it inhabits and serves and said, “There’s an active effort to engage in some preliminary conversations about how we can not just rebrand but solidify a strong future for Carruthers.”

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