Wake Forest forms search committee for Vice President of Campus Life

Wake Forest University has formed a search committee to seek a successor to Vice President of Campus Life Penny Rue, who announced her plans to retire last month.

The search committee, co-chaired by President Wente and Provost Kersh, kicked off its work this week. “The Vice President of Campus Life is an incredibly important and influential role on a residential and highly relational campus like ours,” said President Wente. “This leadership role transcends organizational boundaries and will only find success by embracing radical collaboration. The search committee is tasked with finding the best leader for Wake Forest at this time by representing the needs and interests of our University constituencies.”

Members of the committee include:

  • Jane Caldwell (MA ’82, P ’14, P ’17), Senior Associate Athletic Director and Assistant to the College Dean
  • Lisa Dragoni (P ’25), Associate Professor of Management, School of Business
  • Steve Giles (P ’23, P ’25), Associate Professor of Communication and Department Chair
  • Michele Gillespie, Dean of the College
  • Christopher Leak (’85, P ’11), College Board of Visitors Member
  • Lauren Lowman, Assistant Professor, Engineering
  • Heidi Robinson (MA ’11, P ’18, P ’19, P ’20, P ’21), Assistant Vice President for Career Education & Coaching
  • Malika Roman Isler (’99), Assistant Vice President of Inclusive Practice, Office of Diversity & Inclusion; Professor of Practice, Health and Exercise Science
  • Mike Smith (’89, P ’21), Board of Trustees
  • Leigh Stanfield (’98), Executive Director, Global Engagement & Administration
  • Ally Swartzberg (’22), President, Student Government Association
  • Jacob Thomas (’22), President, Black Students Alliance

Sam Perrotta (’12), chief of staff in the Provost’s Office, will staff the committee. Global executive search firm WittKieffer has been retained as the search consultant.

“Our initial committee conversations stressed the remarkable advances in Campus Life under Dr. Rue’s leadership,” said Provost Kersh. “We will seek to sustain the professional excellence characterizing this division, even as the Campus Life team must continue to navigate the complex waters of changing student demography, cultures, and learning styles.”

Additional information about the national search process and continuous updates can be found at search.campuslife.wfu.edu. Plans for university-wide forums are underway and will be communicated.

Should you wish to share input with the committee directly, please email comments to vpclsearch@nullwfu.edu. Candidate nominations may be sent to wakeforestvpcl@nullwittkieffer.com, ideally after the forums are complete.

As a helpful supplement to the search committee’s work, the Peterson Rudgers Group, which has worked closely with several peer schools undergoing transition in their student life leadership, has been retained by Wake Forest. PRG leaders will work closely with Campus Life and their closest collaborators to help anticipate the future of student engagement on a residential campus.

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