Waple bids farewell after seven years


Kody Kahle

Dean Waple sits in his office on the third floor of the student union.

The third floor of the student union will feel empty this upcoming semester and lunchtime will seem too quiet without Dean Jeffrey Waple cracking jokes and starting conversation with students.


Waple left his position as dean of students at NKU to fill the position of vice chancellor of student affairs at Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville where he started July 1.


In his seven years at NKU Waple has had a part in several projects that have shaped the university. Waple says he is proud to have been a part of  NKU R.O.C.K.S., a freshman transition program that supports first-year African American students. He has also been monumental in the renovation of several buildings across campus, including the new recreation center.


Waple says that aside from daily interaction with coworkers, he will miss student engagement and interaction the most.


“Moving to a new position I recognize it will be less student engagement,” Waple said.  “And I’m going to have to make some intentional strategic decisions to be more engaged with the students there.”


Along with improving student engagement at SIU, Waple hopes to increase retention numbers as well as improve recruitment and graduation rates of minority students.


Waple says that much like NKU, SIU is a hidden gem and he looks forward to enhancing student programs to improve retention.


According to Waple, 20 percent of students at SIU are minority students. Waple says he plans to combat retention rates at SIU by assessing how certain university programs impact students.


Although Waple is ready to take on any new challenges, he is not looking forward to leaving NKU. A Cincinnati native, he says the move will be tough for his wife and three children.


“It’s not a difficult transition, but it’s a challenging one,” Waple said. “When you’re in a place for seven years and as involved as my wife and I were in our community where we live, I think that’s probably the greatest challenge.”


In addition to his ties to NKU, Waple was very involved with the Cincinnati Soccer Alliance and says he will miss being involved with his children’s sports teams, as he coached all three of his children’s soccer teams.


With Waple leaving his position as dean of students, NKU will experience change as well. There will no longer be a dean of students as that position will be merged with the vice president of student affairs. Kimberley Turner, the current vice president who oversees the division of student affairs, will assume the position of dean of students.


Waple says that although it will take time for the university to adjust, there are many mid-sized colleges who practice this model. He says that student engagement will have to be more intentional, as Turner’s office is located on the eighth floor of the Lucas Administration Building.


Aside from making an effort to ramp up student engagement this coming semester, Waple believes the university is in good hands.


“You leave a place better than you found it,” Waple said as he spoke about the progress of construction on the new campus recreation center, which is expected to be completed by the beginning of the semester. “Sometimes you don’t get to see the openings and closings, but you know you had an impact on them and that’s very gratifying.”


Waple says he will come back to Cincinnati to visit family and friends, and he will return to NKU in the fall for the dedication of the campus recreation center.


The move to Illinois will be the sixth for Waple and his family in 22 years.


“My family, we’ve called it the next great adventure,” Waple said. “I think my kids and my wife and I have been very good at transitioning and adapting into environments and so we’re looking forward to this next great chapter in our lives.”