Aurora University — President

As “an inclusive community dedicated to the transformative power of learning,” the Board of Trustees of Aurora University announces the search for the university’s 14th president who will build upon recent achievements to create the dynamic student-centered university that will thrive in the decades ahead.

Aurora University (AU), a comprehensive independent university with its campus in the second largest city in the state of Illinois, is known for its singular commitment to students and their success. AU blends its reputation for preparing graduates for lives of personal fulfillment and professional achievement with a distinguished tradition of community collaboration, academic excellence, co-curricular engagement, and effective management. The university is forward-looking and entrepreneurial. It blends these future-oriented traits with a deep commitment to putting students first.

Since 2000, under the leadership of President Rebecca Sherrick, AU has experienced significant growth and development. Today Aurora University enrolls over 4,000 undergraduate and 2,000 graduate students and is home to 400 faculty and staff. Most teach, learn, and work on the university’s campus located in a western suburb of Chicago. In addition, Aurora has a growing online program that draws students from throughout the country. AU also operates a location on the shores of Wisconsin’s beautiful Geneva Lake. A small number of students currently take classes at this site and at a location in Woodstock, Illinois. 

Today, AU is well positioned to anticipate and address student needs and higher education’s challenges with a robust mix of undergraduate and graduate programs, beautiful campus and modern facilities, prime location, solid enrollment, and strong financial underpinnings. The university is a federally designated Minority Serving Institution and welcomes a diverse community of learners. The next president will join a community eager to collaborate on planning the next phase of AU’s history.

Members of the AU community often profess their pride in being “a private university with a public purpose.” Through its innovative Institute for Collaboration, the university often has reached into the community   to develop the business, education, civic, and nonprofit partnerships necessary to create sustainable solutions to complex social problems. At present, for example, the university is one of a limited number of colleges and universities across the country offering a program for college-capable students on the autism spectrum. This neurodiversity initiative launched several years ago and now draws philanthropic support from a wide spectrum of donors and contributors in the Chicago area. Toward this end, in the fall of 2022 the university opened the first college residence hall in the nation developed with the needs of neurodiverse students in mind.

The AU commitment to “working at the intersection of hope and need” is evident in additional ways. The university community is passionate about welcoming new populations to higher education and offers the broad array of programs necessary to serve diverse learners: residential, commuter, full-time, and part-time programs; undergraduate, master’s, and doctoral degrees, as well as certificates and endorsements; Plus One graduate programs, which allow students to earn a master’s degree in just one year; and online bachelor’s and graduate degrees and endorsement programs through AU Online. 

The next president of Aurora University will join an institution with the capacity and resources to continue to deliver on its mission. Aurora University seeks a values-driven president who is excited by AU’s mission — a servant leader and innovative thinker who will champion collaboration, shared governance, student success, and diversity, equity, and inclusivity. The president should demonstrate strong financial acumen, the ability to build and retain a talented team, effective decision-making skills, and the capacity to maximize the university’s resources. The president will be a transparent, inspirational, decisive leader who can galvanize the community with purpose and action that aligns with AU’s core values.

WittKieffer is assisting Aurora University in this search. All applications, nominations and inquiries are invited. Applications should include, as separate documents, a letter of interest addressing the themes in the leadership profile found at wittkieffer.com and a CV or resume. 

For fullest consideration, candidate materials should be received by January 13, 2023. Application materials should be submitted using WittKieffer’s candidate portal. Nominations and inquiries can be directed to Lucy Leske, Christine Pendleton and Ashlee Winters Musser at AuroraUniversityPresident@wittkieffer.com.

Aurora University affords equal employment opportunities regardless of race, religion, color, sex, marital status, national origin, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, or status in any group protected by federal, state, or local law.

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