The new vice president of student affairs has finally been chosen.
After much deliberation and two separate searches over two semesters, Eric M. Norman, vice chancellor for student affairs and dean of students at Purdue University Fort Wayne, is joining Austin Peay’s senior leadership team as vice president for student affairs.
Norman has a doctorate in educational leadership and a Master of Education in student affairs practice in higher education from the University of Delaware.
He also earned a Master of Arts in psychology from Washington College and a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from Delaware.
In addition to being vice chancellor for student affairs and dean of students at Purdue University Fort Wayne, he also served as interim chief of staff and associate vice chancellor for student affairs.
Prior to that, he was associate dean of students and director of student advocacy and accountability at Louisiana State University and director of fraternity and sorority life at Virginia Tech.
In a message to faculty and staff President White announced her decision to make Norman the new vice president of student affairs at APSU, while thanking everyone who helped her along the way.
“I appreciate the search committee’s hard work, which resulted in bringing a highly-qualified pool of candidates to campus to interview. I’m also thankful for Greg Singleton, dean of students, who has done a wonderful job serving as interim vice president for student affairs while we conducted this national search,” White said.
The success of this search as opposed to last semester’s failed search, according to Danelle Whiteside, general counsel for APSU’s Office of Legal Affairs and head of the search committee, was the use of a search firm.
“They basically undertook the task of getting us quality candidates and they did a lot of the screening on the front end so that the only thing that the search committee had to do this time is narrow down the pool and decide from that list of candidates,” Whiteside said. “We had a good pool last time. It’s just things didn’t work out for the person that was selected, and they decided not to come.”
The aforementioned search committee was comprised of various students, faculty and staff.
“There are various individuals in student affairs. There’s the student government association president sits on the search committee. The student organization council president was invited although she has not really been able to participate, and then there’s a couple of faculty members as well who are on the committee,” Whiteside said.
In addition to the input of the search committee, the entire APSU campus was given the opportunity to meet and question candidates through the use of the open forums.
“The people who come to the forums have the opportunity to weigh in on the candidate. Them being able to interface with the campus community is certainly a good way to see how they would interact with the people that they will be working with on a regular basis and the people that they will be serving,” Whiteside said. “So, it’s two-fold, allowing them to see us and allowing us to see them.”
The exact individuals, amongst which were faculty, staff and students differed from forum to forum, but certain questions were brought up consistently.
Topics of mental health, diversity, Greek life and working with a unique population of students including military-affiliated students and students with disabilities came up frequently.
In addition to open forums, staff forums were also held to give those who will work directly under the vice president of student affairs a chance to meet with and question the candidates.
All of this input was taken into consideration when White made her final decision.
“Ultimately the president makes the decision, but she takes input from the search committee. She takes input from any individual who comes in contact with the person while they’re on campus. We ask them to send a rating sheet back to us, and so, she looks at everybody’s comments, but ultimately it’s her decision,” Whiteside said.
Her decision to have Norman take over as vice president of student affairs will become enacted on Jan. 28, 2019 when he officially begins his new role.
“It’s a great place, great position, and I’m looking forward to the opportunity,” Norman said at the open forum.