Northern Star

 

Advertisement

 

 
Northern Star

Northern Illinois University’s student media since 1899

 

Ensure student journalism survives. Donate today.

The Student News Site of Northern Illinois University

Northern Star

The Student News Site of Northern Illinois University

Northern Star

Clint-Michael Reneau, creating a ‘culture of care’

Faculty Feature: Clint-Michael Reneau
Dr.+Clint-Michael+Reneau%2C+vice+president+for+Student+Affairs%2C+speaking+at+last+years+opening+of+the+championship+women%E2%80%99s+tugs+match.+Reneau+talked+more+about+his+job+here+at+NIU+and+about+his+own+life.+%28Northern+Star+File+Photo%29
Dr. Clint-Michael Reneau, vice president for Student Affairs, speaking at last year’s opening of the championship women’s tugs match. Reneau talked more about his job here at NIU and about his own life. (Northern Star File Photo)

DeKALB – The Vice President of Student Affairs Clint-Michael Reneau sat down with the Northern Star for a candid look at the man behind the title and his aspirations for NIU. 

WHAT IS YOUR JOB AS VICE PRESIDENT OF STUDENT AFFAIRS?

“As the vice president, my goal is to help this division see themselves as architects of hope. We (student affairs) can take students’ imagined hopes and help turn them into lived realities.”

“We help provide students with the possibilities of engagement, discovering who they are, stretching the learning beyond the classroom and providing space for a sense of discovery and belonging. “

 

IN A PREVIOUS ARTICLE, YOU SAID YOU WANTED TO CHANGE HOW WE PROVIDE FOR STUDENTS, ESPECIALLY MINORITIES. CAN YOU ELABORATE? 

“It is thinking about how we center those needs and amplify the voices of the identities in the communities that make up our students.”

“We are thinking about our programs, policies and engagement opportunities. We are using data to inform our work and assess our programs to see if we are meeting the needs of the students we serve.”

 

WHAT EXPERIENCES AND PERSPECTIVES DO YOU BRING TO THE POSITION THAT WILL BENEFIT THE UNIVERSITY AND ITS STUDENTS? 

“I’m a first-generation student from a single-parent household. Since I was 16 years old, I have always held multiple jobs. I am someone with a (learning) disability, and I identify as a part of the queer community.”

“I had to figure out my identity in college and how to get into college. I started at a community college and didn’t know anything about FASFA, how to apply or what to look at.”

“Some of these subordinate identities I hold have allowed me to understand empathy on a greater level and what it means to have parts of my identity placed into the margins.”

 

WHAT ARE SOME CURRENT INITIATIVES YOU ARE WORKING ON? 

“We are revitalizing Greek life on campus and that is really about thinking about how we train and develop our fraternity and sorority life students as leaders.”

“We want them to engage with civic responsibility and develop citizenship skills to serve communities. We want them to embrace equity and justice work and think about how to be meaningful leaders on this campus.”

“We are working with all student organizations around leadership development. We have created a (monthly) leadership conference that we started in the fall for all student leaders and organizations.”  

 

CAN YOU GIVE ME AN EXAMPLE OF A TOUGH DECISION YOU’VE HAD TO MAKE IN YOUR CAREER? 

“Previously, I’ve had to decide with staffing models or programs whether to put more resources into something or reallocate resources to where they would be better utilized. I’ve reinvigorated programs and had to sunset others. It’s really about what is best to serve students more meaningfully.”

 

DO YOU SEE ANY TOUGH DECISIONS FOR NIU? 

“Right now, we are creating culture building and a culture of care that requires us to ask ourselves hard questions.” 

“That involves bringing in people for input, listening, learning and ultimately deciding what’s next. Anytime you have to do hard work, the anchor should always be around creating a culture of care.” 

 

WHAT ARE THE LONG-TERM GOALS YOU ENVISION FOR NIU?   

“I’m excited about policies and practices that center around equity. I’m excited about moving the needle on fraternity and sorority life and what I imagine we can do for our military-connected and veteran students.” 

“I’m also excited about thinking of the work in helping create identities for first-generation students where they feel pride, purpose and a passion for being here. I want them to know what being a first generation (student) means and represents at a place like NIU.”

 

WHAT HAPPENED IN YOUR LIFE THAT CALLED YOU TO ADVOCATE FOR OTHERS? 

“It took me six and a half years to graduate from undergraduate school because of my disability. I was on a campus that did not support me with the appropriate academic accommodations. Because of that, my mental health took a hit.”

“To be honest with you, I wouldn’t be in this seat as vice president or on this planet had it not been for an assistant dean of students, Dr. Sherri Benn, who saw me, really validated me and truly saved me at a really low point in my life.”

More to Discover