Burgwell Howard receives new job position at NU

Julianna Nunez

Burgwell Howard was named Northwestern’s assistant vice president of Student Engagement in Student Affairs Monday, according to a NU NewsCenter press release.

In the seven years he has worked at NU, Howard has been the assistant to the vice president for student affairs and the dean of students. Howard has been involved with numerous school programs and committees, and his work includes coming up with the concept of March Thru the Arch and participation in Dillo Day preparations.

According to the press release, Howard will now be responsible for various student communities, including the Center of Student Involvement, the Multicultural Student Affairs, the New Student and Family Program, Fraternity and Sorority Life and Religious Life. Each of the listed departments will be working with Academic Affairs in an effort to improve student life in and outside the classroom.

Howard’s new position was created in hopes of having a group of people working closely together, dedicated to improving student life on campus, Telles-Irvin said in the release. She said she wants to initiate more university-wide events with this position and create more of a connection within the community.

“The best thing to do was to create this position that’s going to lead (these) various areas… They’re going to be working together and bringing all the different groups that they work with together at different times or events,” Telles-Irvin said. “I think it’s going to be a very good thing.”

Howard said that his new job is part of an effort by student affairs to reorganize and add more people to the department. Howard said he wants to emphasize that students are involved in NU in many different ways.

“You may write for The Daily and you may be involved in a religious faith community and also be involved as a PA and you’re one person, yet there are multiple ways you interact with Northwestern,” he said. “This alignment of offices and programs is looking to approach students in the way they experience Northwestern.”

Howard said one area of importance and concentration for student affairs is student leadership.

“Right now we probably have half a dozen leadership programs just coming out of these offices that fall under student engagement,” Howard said. “We need to coordinate those efforts to make sure we are covering the types of programs and ideas and information that we want to and that students are seeking.”

Howard said student affairs will look to student input to determine the best way to deliver different student experiences. He said he clearly sees a “hunger and thirst” for more common experiences among students.

“One of the core benefits of this position is to see all the opportunities for us to work jointly to create some more common experiences,” he said. “We’ve gotten really great reviews about Wildcat Welcome, some of the pre-orientation programs and one of our goals and objectives will be to expand those opportunities so that more students are able to take advantage of an opportunity like that.”

As for the up-coming academic year, Howard said he has a few ideas to improve student engagement but is staying quiet about the subejct for now. “This isn’t about me, this is (about) what is going to work for Northwestern,” he said. “I want to get people’s input.”

As far as looking for a new dean of students, Telles-Irvin said that she is putting together a job description for a national search. Telles-Irvin said she hopes that the new dean of students will be chosen this coming fall.

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