Search for VP of Student Affairs begins

The search for the vice president for student affairs is underway at Northern Kentucky University. A search committee, appointed by President Geoffrey Mearns, includes nine members.

Gerard St. Amand, the search committee chair and vice president for university advancement said, “The president and I have stressed we want this to be a thorough and aggressive national search.”
The position was left in an interim status until the hiring of President Mearns. Lisa Rhine has held the position since July 2011 and has confirmed she will be applying for the permanent position.
“The committee has to discern and make the best choice,” Rhine said. “The students and division deserve nothing less. Period. It was true for the president, true here and true with every search. I read the job description and I told my husband ‘I love that job description, that sounds pretty cool, I might apply for that.’”

St. Amand stated the position “covers a broad area of responsibility that touches students’ lives outside class in a very direct way.”
“Our division focuses on two things: student success and institutional effectiveness,” Rhine said. “The president is continuing that with focusing on student success. We all feel that and we all know it starts from the top.”

The committee met for the first time at the end of last week, according to St. Amand. They have decided on a tentative schedule. He said they plan on beginning to review applications in November, but will continue to accept applications until the position has been filled with the best candidate.

“We look to have finalist candidates come to campus in the last two weeks of January, my guess is somewhere in the three to five range,” St. Amand said. “They will be folks we believe are the best from the pool up until that point.”

St. Amand stressed that the interview process is a two-way street. Candidates will be assessing whether NKU is a good fit for them.
“It’s easy to slip into that mindset that we’re interviewing someone, but it’s happening in both directions,” St. Amand said. “Strong interest doesn’t mean they want to make that move. Their exposure to campus is going to be even more robust with the visit.”

The identity of candidates will remain confidential until they are invited to campus, St. Amand said. He said that candidates are likely employed with other positions of responsibility.
Erik Pederson, junior communication major and president of Student Government Association, was approached by Mearns in consultation with the Dean of Students to nominate a student to be on the search committee.

“Students are his [Mearns’] number one priority and student success is his number one goal,” Pederson said. “I have complete faith in the committee and our student representative on the committee.”
When SGA is trying to pass a resolution, the vice president of student affairs is their avenue of moving forward with projects, Pederson said.
St. Amand said he hopes to have decided on finalists before the conclusion of this fall semester.

To access the search website for the vice president of student affairs, visit