Four candidates compete for VP of student affairs position

WSU has narrowed its search for a new vice president of student affairs to four candidates, one of which is Melynda Huskey, who has served in the position as an interim for nearly two years. The rest are from universities across the country.

Huskey oversees a division of 22 offices supporting student development and success at WSU. She has previously served as associate vice president and dean of students, assistant vice president for student affairs and director of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Allies Program. She received her Ph.D. in English from Ohio State University. Huskey’s education and career have been spent entirely in land-grant institutions. Her research interests include student self-determination, cultural competency and personal narratives.

Dean Kenneth Ballom was the associate vice chancellor and dean of student affairs at the University of Illinois Urbana Champaign in 2008. This school is a research intensive university. Prior to this he served as the dean of student affairs at the University of North Texas from 1995-2008. While at North Texas, Ballom led the university in developing new university-wide programs and planning, remodeling and construction of several facilities.

Eleanor Finger currently serves as the director of housing and residence life at Virgina Tech. Prior to her position there she served as the associate dean of students and director of residence life at WSU. Finger held similar positions at Simmons College in Boston and John Carroll University in Ohio. She has 24 years of experience in serving college students. Finger obtained her doctoral degree in higher education administration from WSU, her master’s in art degree in counseling and human sciences from John Carroll University, her master’s in education in higher education administration from the University of Arkansas and bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Elon College in North Carolina.

Mary Jo Gonzales is currently the assistant vice president of student affairs and dean of students at the University of Rhode Island. As a first-generation college student, woman of color and single mother, Gonzales has dedicated her life to leading efforts which help individuals achieve their academic, personal, and professional goals, particularly in the communities in which she works and lives. She holds a bachelor’s degree in communication from San Jose State University, and has a master’s degree in communication and doctorate degree in education from WSU.

There are three open forums left for this semester that students can attend. These forums are an opportunity for students and members of the WSU community to hear the candidate’s visions for student affairs at WSU.

The forums will be Dec. 8, 12, and 15 in CUB 210 Jr. Ballroom east from 5 – 6 p.m.