Dean of Students will leave WSU, embark on new adventure in China

Jill Creighton will become Chief of Student Affairs Officer at Duke Kunshan University



Throughout her time at WSU, Jill Creighton, associate vice president of Student Affairs and dean of students/deputy Title IX coordinator, met with ASWSU, hosted a podcast for NASPA and finished her doctorate degree.

JOSIE GOODRICH, Reporter/Copy Editor

From the wheat fields of Pullman to the classical gardens of Suzhou, China, Jill Creighton is taking her passions worldwide, closing the chapter on her time at WSU starting July 1.

In Feb. 2019, Creighton took on the role of associate vice president of Student Affairs and dean of students/deputy Title IX coordinator at WSU, becoming a staple piece of the Cougar family.

Creighton said that the most special moments for her during her time as Dean were the times she was able to directly connect with students. She met regularly with ASWSU and GSPA as well as students engaging in other leadership positions. 

“That’s why I chose this profession in the first place. I really believe in the power and growth and agency of young adults and the way that you all are so energized to make positive change,” Creighton said. “I love that and I never want to lose that. I believe in the power of the student experience. That’s why I wanted to be here to begin with, and I always saw something really special in WSU students.”

Creighton will take over the chief of student affairs officer position in Suzhou, China, at Duke Kunshan University. The college is made up of 70-60% Chinese national students and 30-40% international students from all over the world, representing dozens of countries, she said. 

Creighton said she is thrilled to be taking on this new position because Duke Kunshan is currently in the process of physically constructing the next phase of its campus. 

“I’ll get to be a part of its opening and then settling in and helping the students discover their favorite space to study or eat or meet or play. I’ve never physically been there, so it’s exciting to think about what it will be like, especially because I’ve only taken tours on their website,” Creighton said. 

Creighton’s initial commitment to the university is three years, and she will be expected to be in the country for her position, she said. Her partner will be living with her in Suzhou, and she hopes to make an annual trip home every year to visit family. 

The current chief of student affairs officer at Duke Kunshan University is Raphael X. Moffett, a WSU alum who graduated in the early 2000s, Creighton said. He advised one of WSU’s multicultural fraternities and was involved in many organizations when he was a student. 

“Dr. Moffett is just a person I have grown to have a deep respect for in the profession,” Creighton said. “He knew how special Washington State University is, he knew my experiences were reflected in his experiences and through that we were able to find a lot of common ground that helped us understand that I would be a good match to move over to DKU.” 

Ellen Taylor, interim vice president and Pullman vice chancellor for Student Affairs, has worked with Creighton at WSU since she was hired, Taylor said. Taylor was Creighton’s supervisor and has worked closely with her for the last three years. 

She said it is easy to praise Creighton’s accomplishments in the university’s Student Care Network as well as supporting WSU’s community standards work and threat assessment work.

 “Those are areas where I’ve just seen her really bring great expertise and process awareness, and really helping the university kind of get its ducks in a row in some of those areas,” Taylor said. 

Creighton is also heavily involved in the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators, Creighton said. NASPA is a nonprofit organization that serves student affairs professionals around the world. 

She is the host of NASPA’s official podcast, “SA: Voices from the Field.” She also serves on the Regional V Advisory Board of directors and the Public Policy Division, she said. 

“I write blog posts every now and again, I host the podcast and [I] really like to connect with colleagues around the country to make sure that I was bringing the best of the profession to WSU,” Creighton said. 

During Creighton’s time at WSU, she also finished her doctorate degree. Taylor said she was able to learn from and share her own knowledge with Creighton, which has been special for her.

“We will miss her. She leaves a huge gap in leaving, and we will pull the team together and my primary focus is of course on supporting the team as she departs,” Taylor said. “I just wish her the very, very best. This is such a great adventure both personally and professionally, and I get to hopefully witness some of it vicariously.”

As WSU looks to replace Creighton, it is working on developing an interim plan as well as a long-term plan, Taylor said.

Creighton said WSU has been an amazing stop on her career journey, and faculty will continue to invest in the student experience at the university.

“You know, our students, faculty and staff should be really proud of what’s happening at this university,” she said. “Cougs are connected everywhere, which I discovered so early in my process with DKU. Those connections are invaluable and will carry you through your whole life.”