VP student affairs search marches forward

The vice president for student affairs search continued for the second week amidst homecoming events. A small crowd size didn’t affect candidates, Lisa Rhine and Brent Paterson, from tackling issues ranging from student involvement to gun control.

Tuesday’s open forum in the Lucas Administration Center introduced Lisa Rhine, the current interim vice president of student affairs. As a first-generation college student raised by a single parent along with her six siblings, Rhine was a non-traditional student. Instead of dwelling on her adversity, Rhine focused on why she is right for NKU’s student body.

“I find myself drawn here, because I think I have the ability to inspire and motivate students and help them see ways out of adversity based off of my own situation,” Rhine said. “Education is the key to break that chain of poverty and NKU is that place that holds promise and hope for students.”

Plans to focus on a more inclusive environment that “clearly states that students are welcomed because of their differences” is one of Rhine’s main priorities.

“We need to think on how we embrace students to better help them fit in, because every student, to a person, has a difference.”

Brent Paterson’s open forum, held Wednesday in the science center, had a different feel from Rhine’s. Students seemed skeptical of Paterson and what he could offer to the growing student body.

Unlike Rhine, who is known across the student population, Paterson, senior associate vice president for student affairs at Illinois State University, isn’t familiar to students. After some conversation, students became more welcoming.

If hired, among many things, Paterson would focus on civic engagement starting with the incoming freshmen class. Civic engagement projects would be included in class requirements.

“Students that feel engaged are more proud of their institution,” Paterson said.

Involvement on a campus and involvement with school spirit go hand in hand. Even though NKU recently went Division I, student attendance is increasing, but slowly. Paterson reassured students that it is a common problem among smaller institutions with less prominent sports teams.

Paterson’s career has allowed him to work in many different aspects of student affairs, but with this vice president position he would have the opportunity to work and mentor students again.

“That is why we all get into student affairs, because we love working with college-age students. One of the biggest joys is watching students you worked with graduate and then go out and be successful.”

Terry Hogan, vice president of student affairs at the University of Northern Iowa and NKU’s final candidate, will be answering questions from students today at 4:15 p.m. in Lucas Administrative Center 506. Student participation is highly encouraged.

Regardless of who is chosen to fill the vice president position, all four candidates offer their own diverse experiences and they have the same common goal- to serve the students of NKU.