IN THE SPOTLIGHT
Vice Chancellor Julie Wong brings purpose, play to Student Affairs
by Allison Sylvest
Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Julie Wong has had an active first month in her new position: meeting staff and faculty from different areas of campus and familiarizing herself with the various departments, programs, schools and colleges occupied her first weeks on campus. During orientation, convocation and welcome activities she’s had to opportunity to meet many of the new and returning students and their families. The whirlwind of activity has only fueled her enthusiasm.
“I love it,” Wong said. “It’s been a smooth transition, which confirms to me that this is a good fit.”
She also praised the smooth execution of the many activities that herald in the new academic year. “People from all over campus have come together and put in long hours to create all of the wonderful activities for our students, and they’ve done it with smiles on their faces. It’s a privilege and an honor to be part of this community,” said Wong.
Hired in May to replace Ron Stump who is now serving as interim executive director of the Alumni Association, Wong stepped into her position on July 22 from her former job as associate vice president and dean of students at the University of Texas at El Paso, a post she held since 2004.
As vice chancellor for student affairs, Wong oversees more than 30 departments and programs that focus on enhancing student life, including Admissions, Financial Aid, the Registrar's Office, the Office of Judicial Affairs, the Alcohol and Other Drugs program, Counseling and Psychological Services, Wardenburg Health Center, the CU Recreation Center, the University Memorial Center and many others. She’s currently taking time to learn about these different areas and to meet the staff who dedicate themselves to serving the needs of our student body.
“I want to get to know the faculty and staff, and to be visible and accessible,” she said. “I’m looking forward to working with them and I’m excited about the future of Student Affairs.”
One of her goals is to form a creative “think tank” that will help her to provide the kind of leadership and vision that will take CU-Boulder into that future. And from her long career in academics—she began as a graduate academic advisor at Michigan State in 1988 and has worked at seven other universities—Wong knows that engaging the campus community is essential to backing that vision. “I want to support our activities in a way that will foster purpose,” she said.
Purposeful citizenry is a key element of student success, according to Wong. “We have programs for students who excel and students who require support, but we have a large group in the middle who may not be as easy to engage in co-curricular programs,” she said. “Throughout their time here, I’d like to see a natural flow from volunteering to chairing to taking on leadership roles in activities that compliment their academic lives. Well-rounded experience will lead to more purposeful lives, and will help to retain our students as engaged alumni.”
For Wong, supporting programs that in turn support students is a happy challenge. “I wake up early because I’m excited to go to work,” she said. I’m very fortunate. I don’t feel like I’m working, it feels like play.”
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