DeKALB — The search for NIU’s next Vice President of Student Affairs started with candidate Gayle Ward.
Ward currently serves as the Vice Provost of Rush University, a private research institution in Chicago.
He graduated from Western Illinois University in Macomb with a bachelor’s degree and later a masters degree from University of Illinois at Chicago. He recently earned Juris Doctorate at DePaul.
Ward’s higher administrative career began in 1994 at the University of Illinois at Chicago as the role of recruitment and administrative director and has furthermore developed as he’s worked with three other Illinois colleges.
Ward then spent his time in an hour-long open forum from 3:30 to 4:30 pm, where he answered questions from staff, students and members of the community.
The forum consisted of a PowerPoint where Ward explained his experience, roles of the position, his goals for NIU, his philosophies of working with students and his plans for creating a diverse amount of activities and opportunities for students.
Ward has many plans for NIU.
“I want students to leave campus with a multicultural mind,” Ward said. “Students are here for four years and we want them to furthermore progress into supportive alumni. I want them to have the best experience they can and part of that is providing them with opportunities to help them grow, and continue that mindset into the next cycle of students.”
Ward believes everyone should have the opportunity to go through the professional development process.
In regard to mental health, Ward says, “I don’t think you can talk about wellness enough.”
If elected, Ward plans to create engaging leadership opportunities and support students both financially and emotionally.
“I think social media is a great way to connect with students,” Ward said. “Sometimes we can dismiss our emails so social media and surveying. I’ve learned from my past is the best way to connect with students directly.”