10:31 AM

Ohio State names vice president for student life

Melissa Shivers has led student affairs functions at flagship public universities

Melissa Shivers

A recognized leader in student affairs with experience at several flagship public research universities has been named the next vice president for student life at The Ohio State University.

Ohio State President Michael V. Drake today announced the appointment of Melissa Shivers, effective Jan. 6. Her appointment is pending Board of Trustees approval.

Shivers currently serves as vice president for student life at the University of Iowa. She is also an adjunct associate professor of educational policy and leadership studies and spent a year as interim associate vice president for diversity, equity and inclusion.

Previously, Shivers spent seven years at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville as assistant vice chancellor and then associate vice chancellor and dean of students. Earlier in her career, she led multicultural programs and services and intercultural affairs at Clemson University and the University of Georgia, respectively.

“Melissa brings the experience and leadership to help us take the Buckeye student experience to new heights,” Drake said. “Her skills and deep understanding of student life will ensure that Ohio State continues to be a national model in this area.”

At Iowa, Shivers focused on strategic initiatives related to student life, especially those with a focus on health, safety and well-being. She refined the budgeting process to better align with university priorities, hired the division’s first fundraising leader and co-coordinated the university’s first diversity, equity and inclusion action plan. Shivers initiated university housing and dining’s pilot program to better understand student needs before implementing a two-year requirement to live on campus. After analyzing data from division-wide listening sessions at the beginning of her tenure, she also implemented an enhanced communication plan for staff, students and parents to increase transparency. Additionally, Shivers reinvigorated the university’s Parent and Family Council to increase engagement with parents, families and alumni.

In 2018, she was named the Iowa City Press-Citizen’s Person of the Year.

As associate vice chancellor and dean of students at Tennessee, Shivers served in an advocacy role and addressed non-academic complaints as a student ombudsperson. She also worked closely with staff and students in the planning of the Dean of Students office, including leadership and service, student engagement, off-campus and commuter programs, center for career development, and sorority and fraternity life to be located in a new student union.

Shivers succeeds Javaune Adams-Gaston, who assumed the presidency of Norfolk State University in June.

At Ohio State, Shivers will oversee more than 35 student service-centered departments, including housing and dining; recreational sports; the Ohio Union and student activities; fraternities and sororities; mental health and career counseling; the Multicultural Center; parent and family relations; student conduct; off-campus and commuter student services; student advocacy; and BuckID.

“Ohio State is recognized among the national leaders in student life and student-centered learning,” Shivers said. “I look forward to working with the entire community to move students and the university forward.”

Shivers began her career in admissions, TRIO education talent search and multicultural programming at her alma mater, Georgia Southern University, where she earned her bachelor’s degree in communication arts. She holds a master of education in counseling and guidance services from Clemson and a PhD in counseling and student personnel services from the University of Georgia.

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