Joianne Smith selected to be the next president of Oakton Community College in Illinois

Oakton Community College

Joianne Smith chosen to lead Oakton Community College

The Oakton Community College Board of Trustees has selected Dr. Joianne Smith, currently the Vice-President of Student Affairs at Oakton Community College, as Oakton’s next President. Smith succeeds current Oakton President Dr. Margaret Lee who retires in June 2015 after 20 years leading the college. Smith will be the fourth president since Oakton was established in 1970. The Oakton Board is expected to take formal action to name Smith as the new president at the March 17, 2015 meeting.

“After an extensive national search, the Board of Trustees easily reached consensus to appoint Dr. Smith as Oakton’s next president,” said William Stafford, Chairman of Oakton’s Board of Trustees. “Dr. Smith has served the college with excellence and innovation for the past 12 years. Her dedication to student success, tenacity with achieving the college’s goals and genuine affection for Oakton and the community made her the Board’s choice to lead the college into the future.”

The 14-member search committee for Oakton’s new president included a wide representation of students, faculty, administrators and alumni as well as representatives from the Oakton Board of Trustees and Educational Foundation. After reviewing nearly 40 resumes from professionals around the country who applied to be Oakton’s next leader, the search committee interviewed nine candidates. Smith, along with the other finalist for the position, participated in rigorous daylong interview sessions that were open to all Oakton employees.

Oakton Community College Faculty Association President Dr. Katherine Schuster, a member of the presidential search committee, comments on Smith’s appointment, “Dr. Smith enjoyed strong support among Oakton’s full-time faculty. My colleagues and I look forward to working with her to further Oakton’s efforts for national leadership with matters of equity and diversity, and to continue the college’s progress in addressing disparities in the area of student success.”

Smith earned a Ph.D. from Virginia Commonwealth University, from which she also holds a Master of Science degree. Prior to joining Oakton’s administration in July 2002, she served as Assistant Director of University Residential Life at Northwestern University. Earlier in her career, Smith was the Dean of Brainerd Commons, a living-learning residential community at Middlebury College in Middlebury, Vermont. Her graduate and doctorate studies concentrated in counseling and psychology, and she is a licensed clinical psychologist. Smith is a leader in a number of national higher education associations, including the NASPA – Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education. She resides in Oakton’s district and has been featured in several higher education periodicals for her innovative approach to student success.
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