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K-State News
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Jeannie Brown Leonard to guide student success at Kansas State University

Wednesday, Oct. 9, 2019


MANHATTAN — An experienced student academic affairs leader will be Kansas State University's first vice provost for student success.

Jeannie Brown Leonard has been appointed to the new position by Charles Taber, K-State provost and executive vice president, following a national search. Currently the dean of student academic affairs, advising, retention and transitions at George Mason University, Brown Leonard will start her new job at K-State on Jan. 6, 2020.

"As vice provost for student success, Dr. Brown Leonard will identify, develop and guide innovative initiatives to improve the retention, persistence, progression and graduation of students," Taber said. "Her leadership will be vital in coordinating the work of university units and programs that focus on retention and student success."

Brown Leonard's core duties and responsibilities include organizing, uniting and overseeing the various programs and services under the purview of the vice provost for student success to ensure they are meeting student needs and are effective. She also will oversee universitywide retention and student success programs to ensure a strong academic foundation for both incoming first-year and continuing students.

Among the student success units, programs and services that will report to Brown Leonard include K-State First, the university's first-year experience program; the Academic Achievement Center; Office of First-Generation Students; Office of Undergraduate Research & Creative Inquiry, which includes the Developing Scholars Program and the Kansas Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation; University Honors Program; Student Success Collaborative; Educational Supportive Services; McNairs Scholars Program; and Office of Nationally Competitive Scholarships.

"I am looking forward to collaborating with senior leaders, students, faculty and staff to support K-State's deep commitment to diversity, inclusion and student success," Brown Leonard said. "By building on existing strengths in academic affairs and student affairs and leveraging insights from data, I am confident we can improve the student experience and help the K-State achieve its strategic goals. I am excited to join the vibrant K-State community."

Brown Leonard has served in her current position at George Mason since May 2008, leading the university's academic affairs student success strategy and providing leadership and vision for the faculty, staff and graduate assistants in the Center for Academic Advising, Retention and Transitions. Her work includes setting strategic direction and campus priorities shaped by the university's Student Success and Retention Action Council. She was principal investigator for the iPASS — Integrated Planning & Advising for Student Success — grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Using focus group data, Brown Leonard has worked to improve George Mason's transfer student experience, which has included providing resources for community college counselors and transfer students via a website that gets more than 45,000 views annually.

Other responsibilities are providing academic advising leadership. Along with collaborating with the university's 10 school and college student academic affairs units to improve advising practice, Brown Leonard led the adoption and integration of the Navigate Mason technology platform to include all academic units, athletics and five student service offices.

Before joining George Mason, Brown Leonard's experience includes serving at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, as assistant dean of the School of Interdisciplinary Studies and as assistant to the dean for special student recognition and an academic advisor in the College of Arts and Sciences.

She has taught courses at George Mason University and the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. She also has been an invited speaker and presenter on student success, learning, engagement and assessment at conferences and professional meetings across the country, and has published her work in Research in Higher Education, Journal of College Student Development, NASPA Journal and more.

Brown Leonard earned a bachelor's degree in psychology from Mount Holyoke College, a master's degree in higher education and student affairs administration from the University of Vermont, and a doctorate in college student personnel from the University of Maryland.


Charles Taber


Vice provost for student success


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Jeannie Brown Leonard

Jeannie Brown Leonard will serve as vice provost of student success at Kansas State University starting in early 2020.

Written by

Beth Bohn