Re-imagining and realigning student success
The success of our students is our highest priority at UIC. To holistically support student success, Student Affairs and Academic Affairs are realigning.
The realignment resulted from an assessment started under the leadership of Rex Tolliver, former vice chancellor for student affairs. Combining Student Affairs units focused on student development, engagement and programming, health and wellness, assessment, operations and business affairs with Academic Affairs units focused on enrollment, registration, advising and student success units creates an integrated organizational structure reflective of students and their personal and academic potential, in and outside of the classroom. From recruitment and enrollment to retention and graduation, the educational progress of our students is paramount.
The realignment, as outlined below, will take effect Oct. 16:
The new position of vice chancellor and vice provost for student affairs will oversee student affairs, advising, enrollment management and student success. Reporting to both the chancellor and provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs, Rob Dixon, who has led the Office of the Registrar for more than 20 years, will assume this new role on an interim basis. A national search will take place under the leadership of an incoming chancellor. While Dixon assumes the interim role, Christopher Sayre, associate registrar, will serve as the acting university registrar.
In addition to the current areas reporting to Student Affairs, new roles reporting to the vice chancellor and vice provost for student affairs include the:
- Associate vice provost for advising development, which will focus on the academic journey toward college completion of undergraduate students. Josephine Volpe, assistant vice provost for advising development, will be promoted to this role. Bringing more than 20 years of advising experience, Volpe has led student advising initiatives and advising professional development at UIC, and she will continue to lead this office with a student-centered success perspective.
- Associate vice provost for enrollment management, which will merge the Office of Student Financial Aid and Scholarships with enrollment management, joining admissions, recruitment and outreach and student system services. Kiely Fletcher, executive director of financial aid and scholarships, will assume this role. For more than 20 years, Fletcher has focused on student financial aid, regulatory operations, enrollment and student services. Her expertise will be beneficial as she leads UIC’s enrollment efforts from recruitment to financial aid.
- Associate vice provost for student success and belonging, which will focus on the academic undergraduate student success units. Aisha El-Amin, associate vice chancellor for equity and belonging, will assume this role. With more than a decade of leadership at UIC, including as associate provost and chief of staff, associate vice provost of student success operations and associate dean of students, El-Amin is uniquely positioned to lead UIC’s efforts centered on sense of belonging and college persistence.
Building on 25 years of leadership as an administrator and faculty member at UIC, Nikos Varelas will take on the role of vice provost for academic programs and effectiveness. Reporting to the provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs, Varelas, who currently serves as vice provost for undergraduate affairs and academic programs, will lead areas related to accreditation, student success research, transfer agreements, summer session programs and assessment.
Many staff members who are part of the above units will have new reporting lines. All current staff members will be retained as a result of the realignment.
These changes will result in substantial enhancements to the student experience, as they reflect similar organizational structures at many of our peer institutions. The hard work, dedication and overall excellence of the staff within Student Affairs and Academic Affairs does not go unnoticed, and we are confident that this realignment will present more opportunities to thrive.
A realignment of this magnitude will take time and patience to realize as new teams come together fully, but the synergy that will ultimately result is sure to be transformative for UIC.
A hybrid campus Q&A session will be hosted Wednesday, Nov. 2, from 11 a.m.-noon. More details to follow.
Thank you for your ongoing support of our students and their success.
Acting Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs