Saint Louis University has appointed Elizabeth Whitt, Ph.D., associate vice president for undergraduate education. Her tenure at SLU begins July 1, and she will report to Manoj Patankar, Ph.D., vice president for the Frost Campus.
“We are delighted to welcome Elizabeth to the SLU community,” Patankar said. “She has stellar credentials and an outstanding reputation for bridging across academic and student affairs units, particularly the area of assessment.”
Elizabeth Whitt, Ph.D.
Whitt’s academic career spans nearly 25 years and includes numerous administrative posts. She currently is a professor of educational policy and leadership studies in the College of Education at the University of Iowa, where she also serves as the co-director of the Center for Research on Undergraduate Education. Previously, she oversaw student success initiatives in the office of the provost and coordinated the graduate programs in student affairs.
At SLU, Whitt will be responsible for leading and coordinating University-wide academic initiatives, including student learning outcomes assessment as well as the Honors, Pre-Law and Medical Scholars Programs. She will chair the Undergraduate Academic Affairs Committee (UAAC) and will be the academic liaison to the Integrated Advising and Mentoring System, Learning Communities and First-Year Interest Groups.
Whitt is a noted scholar and widely published researcher, particularly in the area of student learning and success. Her work on the Documenting Effective Educational Practice Project, co-sponsored by the National Survey of Student Engagement, led to the 2005 book Student Success in College: Creating Conditions that Matter.
Through her scholarship activities, Whitt has collaborated with colleagues at Gonzaga University, Seattle University, Canisius College and Spring Hill College. Those experiences, she said, expanded and deepened her understanding of, and appreciation for, what it means to be a Catholic institution of higher education in the United States,
“In particular, I found the emphasis of Jesuit universities on educating the whole person in a rigorous and reflective learning community focused on promoting the common good to be consistent with my own values as an educator,” she said.
A commitment to diversity also has been a major theme in Whitt’s work, including her efforts to create and implement programs for student success at the University of Iowa, where in 2007, she helped launch “Moving Forward Together,” an initiative developed to improve the retention of students of color.
Highly respected in her field, Whitt has held leadership positions in the primary associations within in her discipline, including the American Educational Research Association (Postsecondary Education), the Association for the Study of Higher Education, ACPA: College Student Educators International, and NASPA: Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education. Additionally, she is editor of the New Directions for Student Services monograph series and is a member of the editorial board of the Journal of College Student Development.
Whitt has earned numerous honors during her 20-plus-year academic career, including the “Early Career Scholar Award” from the Association for the Study of Higher Education (1995), the “Annuit Coeptis Senior Professional Award” from ACPA (1999) and the “Outstanding Contribution to Knowledge Award” from ACPA (2007). The Department of Higher Education and Student Affairs at Indiana University also awarded her the “Robert H. Shaffer Distinguished Alumna Award.”
Whitt has served on the faculties at Oklahoma State University, Iowa State University and the University of Illinois at Chicago. At SLU, she will have an appointment as a full professor of educational leadership and higher education in the College of Education and Public Service.
She earned a bachelor’s degree in history from Drake University, a master’s degree in college student personnel administration from Michigan State University and a Ph.D. in higher education administration and sociology from Indiana University.