"Penny Rue" Archive

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.

A message from President Hatch

Dear Wake Forest Community,

For the past eight years, Vice President for Campus Life Penny Rue has been a transformative leader at Wake Forest.

Dr. Rue has demonstrated a remarkable ability to both lead a complex organization and personally connect with individual students. The University has made great strides in so many areas of Campus Life, including Residence Life & Housing, Health and Wellbeing, University Police and the Office of the Dean of Students.

Today, Dr. Rue announced her plans to retire as vice president.

She joined Wake Forest in July 2013 and took on broad responsibility for the safety and wellbeing of students and their education outside the classroom.

Her vision for comprehensive wellbeing led to the expansion of the Reynolds gym into the state-of-the-art Wake Forest Wellbeing Center and the creation of the Thrive program. She has elevated campus conversations about diversity, equity and inclusion. From establishing the Police Accountability Task Force to hiring the first Title IX director, she has put caring people and essential programs in place to strengthen our community.

Dr. Rue, as a national higher education leader, has brought that wider perspective to her work at Wake Forest. She served as Board Chair for NASPA, the leading association for student affairs professionals, and she testified before Congress regarding sexual assault policy in higher education.

I am grateful for her service to our students, her essential role in navigating the COVID crisis on campus, and for all she has done for the health and wellbeing of the Wake Forest community.

The Provost will organize a search committee to select the new Vice President for Campus Life.


Nathan O. Hatch

Important Title IX updates for faculty and staff

The following message was emailed to faculty and staff on behalf of Penny Rue, vice president for Campus Life, Kami Chavis, associate provost for academic initiatives and Aishah Casseus, director, Title IX Office:

Dear faculty and staff colleagues:

Recently, the U.S. Department of Education made substantial changes to Title IX regulations, which prohibit discrimination on the basis of sex or gender in education programs and activities that receive federal financial assistance. Such programs and activities must respond promptly to allegations of sexual harassment and discrimination. As a result, Wake Forest University updated its Title IX policy effective August 14, 2020.

Please understand that the University’s number one priority remains the same: equity, fairness, access, safety and respect for the entire Wake Forest community. Outlined below are some updates and key information to help you better understand the changes.

Read more

Staff and faculty forums: July 24 and 27

Staff forum:

The University will host a staff forum Friday, July 24 at 8:30 a.m. The Information Systems team has worked to ensure a safe and secure experience via Zoom Webinar. For staff, please join by visiting the link in your July 16 email from Executive Vice President Hof Milam and Provost Rogan Kersh. Staff can submit questions through our designated Human Resources form. We will continue to answer them directly through email updates, centralized FAQs and the Friday forum.

Faculty forum:

Vice President for Campus Life Penny Rue and Clinical Director of Student Health Service Joanne Clinch will appear as panelists for the faculty forum Monday, July 27, 5 – 6 p.m. An email with details for accessing the meeting will be sent to faculty later this week.

Faculty may submit questions for Penny and Joanne via this form before 5 p.m. on Wednesday, July 22.

A subsequent forum on University finances is planned for the first week of August.

WFU receives 'Silver Seal for Excellence in Student Voter Engagement'

News from the Office of Civic and Community Engagement

Wake Forest University received a “Silver Seal for Excellence in Student Voter Engagement” at the 2019 ALL IN Challenge Awards Ceremony held to recognize colleges and universities committed to increasing college student voting rates.

“Wake Forest is thrilled to receive this recognition, and our students get the credit for taking the actions that spurred these increases,” said Penny Rue, vice president for campus life. “ A Wake Forest education in the spirit of Pro Humanitate is designed to foster civic engagement, and our students are better prepared to be active citizens through the engaged liberal arts.”

Student participation in elections increased from the 2014 midterm election to the recent 2018 midterm election. According to the National Study of Learning, Voting, and Engagement, an initiative of Tufts University’s Institute for Democracy & Higher Education, voter turnout at the more than 1,000 institutions participating in the study increased by 21 points from 19% to 40%

Read more on the Office of Civic and Community Engagement website.