SIUE’s Earleen Patterson, PhD, associate vice chancellor for Student Opportunities, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion.

EDWARDSVILLESouthern Illinois University Edwardsville’s Vice Chancellor for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Jessica Harris, PhD, has appointed Earleen Patterson, PhD, as associate vice chancellor for Student Opportunities, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion.

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This position forms a critical part of a developing divisional infrastructure to facilitate the University’s capacity to nurture an inclusive environment for racially minoritized and other historically underrepresented students, as well as address equity gaps in retention and graduation rates.

“Dr. Patterson brings more than 30 years of strong and varied experience educating and elevating historically underrepresented students,” Harris said. “During her tenure at SIUE, she has stood out as a champion for students and their education, a servant leader who brings a values-based approach to her work, a strategist who understands the value and importance of equity, diversity and inclusion, and an expert tactician capable of effectively managing and shaping culture, climate and policies. Dr. Patterson has my full support, and I am confident in her ability to help make SIUE a national leader in advancing the academic success of historically underserved student populations.”

Patterson has served SIUE since 1994 as director of Student Opportunities for Academic Results (SOAR). In this capacity, she has taken a holistic approach to promoting the engagement, retention and graduation of underrepresented students, based on a foundation of research, leadership and vision.

As associate vice chancellor for Student Opportunities, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion, she will continue to direct SOAR, as well as supervise the director of the newly established Office for Strategic Partnerships, Student Pathways and Engagement. Together, SOAR and the Office for Strategic Partnerships, Student Pathways and Engagement will advance university goals with respect to anti-racism and student success through a significant, campus wide scaling of services and programming to support the social and academic thriving of historically underserved students.

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Strategic planning to enhance and improve supports for historically underserved students will take team work. “Dr. Patterson is an experienced relationship-builder and collaborator, who actively engages all members of the SIUE community including students, faculty, staff and alumni,” Harris noted. “Among her strengths is the ability to work in decentralized environments, as well as listen and collaborate to achieve important results for students. I have no doubt that as her role and responsibilities expand, she will continue to serve as a strategic and mission-critical member of the SIUE community and leadership team.”

“I’m thrilled to be joining Vice Chancellor Harris’ leadership team, as it deeply aligns with both my values and organizational change experience,” said Patterson. “I am excited to work collaboratively across our campus communities to advance equity, diversity and inclusion. I am grateful for the opportunity to expand strong relationships built on trust, integrity, authenticity, visibility and transparency. SIUE is “home.” I know that education for all creates opportunity for all, and I feel a strong responsibility to continue to open doors for the next generation.”

“I am attracted to SIUE’s vision of weaving the power of EDI into its organizational fabric,” she added, “serving an increasingly expanding and diverse community of students and scholars, and emphasizing strong outcomes for students of color, women and first-generation students. Together, we will create a more socially just environment where our students, faculty, staff and alumni will compete, thrive and experience a sense of belonging.”

Prior to joining the University, Patterson served as director of Women’s Resources Services at the University of Houston-Clear Lake in Houston, where she created vision and a strategic plan that brought together association-shared programs across multiple counties comprised of 10 organizations, all with the shared focus of support for women and girls.

Patterson holds a doctorate in higher education administration from Saint Louis University. She earned a bachelor’s in sociology and master’s in guidance/counseling from Illinois State University.

Southern Illinois University Edwardsville provides students with a high-quality, affordable education that prepares them for successful careers and lives of purpose to shape a changing world. Built on the foundation of a broad-based liberal education, and enhanced by hands-on research and real-world experiences, the academic preparation SIUE students receive equips them to thrive in the global marketplace and make our communities better places to live. Situated on 2,660 acres of beautiful woodland atop the bluffs overlooking the natural beauty of the Mississippi River’s rich bottomland and only a short drive from downtown St. Louis, the SIUE campus is home to a diverse student body of nearly 13,000.

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