News Item

Helen Grace Ryan appointed VP of Student Affairs

Apr 15, 2015

Bellarmine University’s Board of Trustees has approved the appointment of Dr. Helen Grace Ryan as the university’s vice president for student affairs, on the recommendation of Bellarmine’s president, Dr. Joseph J. McGowan.

Dr Helen Grace RyanRyan has served as acting vice president since January, when Dr. Fred Rhodes took a position in Bellarmine’s Annsley Frazier Thornton School of Education after 24 years in student affairs. Ryan, Bellarmine’s dean of students since 2007, was selected after a national search and will officially begin her new role on June 1, 2015.

Dr. McGowan’s announcement to the Bellarmine community:
I am delighted to announce that today the Board of Trustees approved my appointment of Dr. Helen Grace Ryan as Vice President for Student Affairs at Bellarmine University.  Her appointment comes after a highly competitive national search and a thoroughly rigorous review by a multi-disciplinary committee.
Dr. Ryan is exceptionally well-qualified both professionally and personally for this critically important position, which is so central to the development and success of each one of our students.
After graduating magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Science degree in business economics from the University of Louisville, she earned her master’s and doctoral degrees in higher education and student affairs at Indiana University in Bloomington.  While at IU, she was a project associate in the Center for Postsecondary Research, administering the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) at more than 500 institutions, and authored the chapter on “Using Your Data” in the national annual report publication all institutions receive.  She also worked with 150 institutions on the Faculty Survey of Student Engagement (FSSE).
Earlier at IU she worked on a seven-member leadership team that managed a co-ed residential complex with 800 undergraduate and graduate students and, as a Conduct Officer, initiated, mediated and adjudicated conduct cases on behalf of the Dean of Students.
Later, she served as associate director of university housing at Eastern Kentucky University, where she oversaw the operation of 13 residence halls with 5,000 students, training and supervising over 150 staff members.   In that role she was also responsible for SACS accreditation reporting for that area.
Since 2007, she has served as Dean of Students at Bellarmine, providing leadership and oversight for Campus Ministry, Campus Recreation and Intramural Sports, Safety and Security, Career Services, the Counseling Center, Culinary Services, Disability Services, the Office of Multicultural Affairs, Student Health Services, Residence Life, Student Activities and Orientation, Student Conduct, Student Engagement, student crisis support and emergency response to students and families, advised the Student Government Association, and compliance coordination for more than a half dozen state and federal regulations.
Dr. Ryan has significant and varied higher education teaching experience as well, having taught courses at Bellarmine from Freshman Focus to the doctoral level, and courses at IU, UofL, and EKU. She has authored or co-authored seven academic articles and delivered countless presentations in her area of expertise.  She has performed community service for nearly 20 organizations, and was recently named to Louisville’s Forty Under 40 honorees.
Throughout her eight years at Bellarmine, Dr. Ryan has exemplified our core community values in her life and work, and has developed highly effective, deeply collegial relationships with students, faculty and staff members across the university.
I know you will join with me in congratulating Dr. Ryan on, and supporting her in, this new role as the Vice President for Student Affairs, an officer of the University, and a highly valued member of my senior leadership team. She begins June 1, 2015.
Dr. Joseph J. McGowan

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