Staffing Changes Within the Division of Student Success

April 14, 2022
Submitted By: Greg Woodward

With the departure of associate vice president for student success Jessica Nicklin, I'd like to share a series of staffing updates within the Division of Student Success. These changes are made with the goal of maintaining and prioritizing the service and support of our students.

Dean of Students Aaron Isaacs will be promoted to vice president for student success. UHart’s vice president position has been vacant for the last three years while Aaron and his colleagues together defined and built our new Center and Division for Student Success. Dean Isaacs has proven himself to be an inspiring leader and fierce advocate for our student body. Among his accomplishments are the $200,000 renovation of the old career office to allow for the formation of the Office of Student Engagement and Inclusion, which centralized all student engagement, service, and DEI efforts under one office; collaborating with Mark Boxer on the revamp of Public Safety; implementing approximately $4.5 million of residential renovations and enhancements to first-year areas, which now include upgraded laundry rooms, a fire pit area, lounges, and study rooms; and overseeing the creation of graduate housing this past summer that included a $700,000 renovation to several Village apartments and enables us to offer on-campus housing to 30+ graduate students. Aaron is the driving force behind several of my sustainability efforts, including this summer’s Village renovations and additional campus improvements, the relaunch of Career Services under the new Explore, Prepare, Launch (EPL) framework, and our investment in student mental health and well-being.


Suzanne McNeil, a 25-year University of Hartford employee, has been promoted from assistant vice president to associate vice president of the Division of Student Success. In this role, Suzanne will oversee Health Services, CAPS, Access-Ability Services, Behavior Intervention Teams, and our prevention efforts. In addition, Suzanne will chair our Student Health and Wellness Committee and lead our Student Care and Concern efforts. Suzanne will report to Aaron and will be a key member of his core leadership team.


Katie Kitchens, executive director of Center for Student Success, has been with the University for the past eight years. She has been an instrumental leader in the University’s COVID-19 pandemic response efforts. After great success in her previous positions in Admission, Career Services, and the Center for Student Success, Katie has been promoted to assistant vice president of the Division of Student Success. In this role, Katie will have oversight of the Center of Student Success, tutoring, our Fall and Spring Opening Committee, and will be working directly with our Career Services team. In addition, she will serve as the Division's liaison with CAD and COD and the newly formed Student Experience Committee, which will oversee the Division's implementation of divisional pillars, co-curricular learning outcomes, alignment of programs, activities, events, and data collection. Katie will report to Aaron and will join Suzanne as a member of his core leadership team. 


David Stender, director of student conduct, will become executive director of the Office of Student Conduct and Conflict Resolution, Clery, and Compliance. In this role, David will continue his work with our student conduct system, civility initiatives, oversight of Clery, and will now lead the Division's compliance efforts. He will also chair the Division's Policies and Compliance Committee.


Jill Engel-Hellman, director of residential life, will serve as executive director of Residential Life. Since June 2020, Jill has reinvigorated our residential program, improving our tracking systems, policies, procedures, and programming. She will also serve as vice chair of the Division's Student Experience Committee. In addition, Jill will assist in the execution of the Village Apartment summer renovations and future residential capital projects. 


Finally, within the Division of Student Success, a new shared governance structure will be launched this summer. The new structure will focus on meeting the goals and priorities that most impact our students, as outlined by our strategic action plan, UHart Start. 


Please join me in congratulating these staff members on their recognition and thanking them for their work on behalf of our students.



Greg Woodward