Oleka expects to complete his Ph.D. in Leadership in Higher Education at Bellarmine next year. He is currently chief of staff for Kentucky State Treasurer Allison Ball and an appointed member of the Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education.
"We are thrilled for OJ and think he will do great work in his new role," said Dr. Elizabeth Dinkins, dean of Bellarmine's Annsley Frazier Thornton School of Education
. "His commitment
to equity and access in higher education and his innovative thinking will keep Kentucky moving forward."
He will assume his new role at AIKCU on December 1. Bellarmine is one of 18 members of AIKCU, which serves as a statewide voice for Kentucky’s private, nonprofit, four-year colleges and universities.
“I am honored to have been selected to serve as president of AIKCU and work alongside our member institutions to create a new vision for independent higher education in Kentucky,” Oleka said in a statement released by AIKCU
. “Expanding access to higher education, advocating affordability for every student, and communicating to the legislature and business community how our institutions are essential to Kentucky’s
economic and workforce needs will be the foundation of our success. I am fully prepared to lead that effort.”
In addition to his experience working with policymakers as chief of staff in the Kentucky State Treasurer’s office, Oleka has directed campaign operations for a statewide gubernatorial campaign. He has served as an adjunct professor and has been
published in peer-reviewed and popular publications. His education experience extends to the K-12 level, where he served Teach for America first as a corps member teaching in an under-resourced public school and later as a regional recruiter.
Oleka succeeds Gary S. Cox, who is retiring after serving as AIKCU president since 1997.
"The search committee selected OJ from a strong pool of candidates, and I am confident he will provide exceptional leadership to AIKCU and our members during these challenging times," said Cox. "I feel good about the fact that I'm leaving the organization
in capable hands."