UMN Crookston fills two critical positions in Student Affairs

Submitted by Michelle Christopherson
Crookston Times

    Jacob Isaacs, Ph.D. joins the Crookston campus as the new Director of Student Success and Academic Advising.  Prior to his arrival last week Isaacs was the Assistant Director of Student Life Residential Education Research and Communication at Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana.

    John Hoffman, Vice Chancellor for Academic and Student Affairs, noted “While at Purdue University, Dr. Isaacs developed and established multi-dimensional, robust data and assessment processes that made significant contributions to student success. In other words, he knows how to use data to connect early with students to help them succeed in college.”  

    Hoffman continued, “He also has experience teaching at a community college and serving as an educational technology consultant, which means he is familiar with our hands-on approach to education, our online programs, and our diverse student body, which includes large numbers of first-generation college students, students from low-income families, and students from rural communities.

    UMN Crookston reimagined its Student Success Center in 2019 by bringing together academic advising, multicultural education, career services, and tutoring support into a single, integrated Center.  The goal is to focus on the whole student, leverage students’ strengths, and place equity and belonging at the heart of student success.  It was this approach that led to recognition of UMN Crookston’s work by the Center for First-Generation College Student Success.  

    “Dr. Isaacs spoke of our approach to student success as well as the size and character of the Crookston community as reasons why he was drawn to this role,” said Hoffman.

    Dr. Isaacs shared the following about the opportunity at UMN Crookston.  

    “As a first-generation college student with a physical disability, I know from firsthand experience what a challenge it was to navigate my higher education experience. Having someone with my interests at heart to guide me throughout my college program and prepare me for the challenges that I would face as an adult professional after graduation would have been valuable beyond measure. I would like to bring my passion for assisting first-generation students, students with disabilities, and disadvantaged students to work for UMN - Crookston and help students from these groups and more find their home within the University.”

    Kirby Newhouse, Director of the Disability Resource Center (DRC) begins her role next week. Newhouse joins the University of Minnesota Crookston after twelve years at the Upper Valley Special Education Unit, as a Speech Pathologist.

    As the Director of the DRC, Newhouse will provide direction and supervision for the Disability Resource Center and contribute to creating a vibrant campus community characterized by a strong commitment to equity, inclusion, and belonging for students with diverse identities with special focus to students with disabilities and learning differences.

    The Disability Resource Center provides leadership in the design, development, and implementation of disability services and programs for students.

    “Working collaboratively with other campus constituents to ensure an accessible campus environment for students and campus visitors is important,” said Dr. Savala DeVoge, Dean of Student Engagement and Wellness.

    Promoting an equitable and inclusive learning environment by facilitating reasonable and appropriate accommodations, Newhouse, as the new Director will be reviewing and implementing ADA requirements and access for the physical campus, empowering students to become self-advocates, and educating the campus community, said DeVoge.

    She went on to state that the DRC is a place where students, faculty and staff can come for campus, community, and nation-wide resources; accommodations, adaptations, and universal design support; accessible technology, app aids and so much more.

Jacob Isaacs
Kirby Newhouse