Six new leaders appointed

By Morgan Fink

DeKALB — President Doug Baker sent out a campus update Thursday to announce transitions in six administrative leadership roles across campus.

These leadership roles will be filled by current NIU faculty members and individuals outside of the NIU community, according to the update.

Derryl Block, dean of the college of Human Health & Sciences, will be reappointed for another term.

“She has effectively used and developed resources through strong working relationships on- and off-campus, connecting with alumni and friends of the college, promoting innovation, ensuring educational quality and facilitating research through initiatives that included repurposing of funds,” Baker said in the update.

Block is pending approval from the Board of Trustees.

Gerald Blazey has been appointed vice president of the Division of Research and Innovation Partnerships after holding the position at an interim basis. The Board of Trustees approved the appointment Tuesday.

Blazey’s experience working in Washington D.C. and his understanding of the federal funding process has prepared him for the position, Baker said in the update.

“I believe that VP Blazey is uniquely qualified to lead and strengthen our position as a nationally recognized public research university,” Baker said in the update.

Political science professor Matt Streb will be appointed Board of Trustees Board liaison and state legislative liaison following the retirement of Mike Mann this month. Streb will also do strategic project work in the additional role of chief of staff, according to the update.

Roles Streb has played as a leader on campus include co-chair of the Program Prioritization Administrative Task Force and the faculty athletics representative. Streb will oversee relationships between Baker, the Board of Trustees, the executive staff, the cabinet, the academic units and staff.

Among the current faculty members serving these new leadership roles, there will be individuals outside of NIU joining the team, as well.

Donald Russell Peterson has been appointed dean of the College of Engineering and Engineering Technology. Peterson currently works at Texas A&M University-Texarkana as a professor of engineering in the College of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. He served as the dean between 2014 and 2016. He also served as chair of the Biomedical Engineering Department at the University of Connecticut. His term begins July 1.

Frederick Barnhart will be the new dean of the University Libraries. Currently, Barnhart serves at Loyola University as the associate dean for Library Services and Collections and assistant dean of Technical Services. Barnhart also served as interim dean for University Libraries at Loyola.

“He is a strong advocate for diversity, equity and inclusion, helping to develop programs and resources to support faculty, staff and student diversity,” Baker said in the update. “His publications and presentations focus on the changing roles of academic libraries.”

Barnhart will start his term July 1.

Sol Jensen will become vice president of the Division of Enrollment Management, Marketing and Communications. Jensen is coming from the University of North Dakota. He has served as the assistant vice president of Enrollment Services at the university since 2013. Previously, he worked at Washington State University as a regional admissions counselor and finished there as executive director of Enrollment Services. Jensen will start the position June 19th.

“[The willingness of these highly qualified professionals] to join us in these challenging times speaks volumes about our community and our potential,” Provost Lisa Freeman said in the update.

The vice president for Administration and Finance position is unfilled. Baker said he hopes the search to fill this position will be completed by the fall.