NWC hires new dean of student life

Northwestern College has announced the hiring of Julie Vermeer Elliott as dean of student life. Elliott, a 1997 Northwestern College alumna who has been director of advising and first-year programs as well as senior lecturer in Christian ethics at Eastern University in St. Davids, Pa., for 10 years, will start her new position July 15.

Elliott replaces John Brogan, who is leaving after eight years in the position to become dean of formation for ministry at Western Theological Seminary in Holland, Mich.

Elliott co-chaired the committee that developed Eastern’s new general education curriculum and serves on the Dean’s Council. She directs all aspects of the university’s first-year experience and advising system and has been at the forefront of many co-curricular initiatives, such as service learning, first-year programming, and learning communities.

“As a leader at Eastern University, her contributions have reflected a deep appreciation for the work of both faculty and student life staff in promoting student learning,” says Jasper Lesage, Northwestern’s provost. “She understands the fact that learning takes place across the campus: in the classroom, chapel, residence halls, the library and elsewhere, and has a clear vision for student life that resonated with our campus community. She brings a collaborative style of leadership that has earned her strong support from those with whom she has worked, and we are very excited to have her in this role.”

As dean of student life, Elliott will serve on the Administrative Council and supervise staff, programs and services within student development and spiritual formation, which includes residence life, intercultural affairs, counseling services, student programs, intramurals, leadership development, campus safety and security, health services, food services, campus judicial affairs, campus ministry and career development.

“Over the last 10 years, I have been very active in bridging what are commonly understood as divides between academics and student life,” says Elliott, “and I’m excited about the very integrated and seamless learning experience at Northwestern. The college’s Vision for Learning and mission statement clearly articulate how influential the area of student development is in shaping students for lives of thoughtful discipleship. I look forward to being involved in the transformation of students at an institution that was very influential in my development.”

Among Elliott’s goals as dean of student life are helping faculty and student development staff to see themselves as partners in education; supporting and encouraging student development staff to continue to grow in their vocations; and building positive relationships with students and being an advocate for their developmental, academic, emotional and spiritual needs.

“The first order of business on my agenda is to listen—to get to know the staff, faculty and students at Northwestern,” says Elliott. “I hope these conversations will give me the perspective needed to recommend initiatives that build on present strengths, address areas of need, and ultimately result in a richer learning environment for our students.”

Elliott earned a Master of Theological Studies degree with a concentration in Christian ethics at Duke Divinity School.