Four candidates have been selected to be interviewed for the position of vice president for student affairs at Virginia Tech. On-campus interviews, including an open forum, will be scheduled for each candidate beginning the week of May 23.
The vice president for student affairs position will open July 1 with the retirement of Landrum L. Cross, who has served Virginia Tech in a variety of positions since 1983.
The four candidates are Zenobia L. Hikes, vice president for student affairs and dean of students at Spelman College; Thomas Jackson Jr., vice president for student affairs at Texas A&M University, Kingsville; Frank L. Lamas, associate vice president for student affairs at Rochester Institute of Technology; and Edward F.D. Spencer, associate vice president for student affairs and associate professor of higher education and student affairs at Virginia Tech.
"The candidate pool reviewed by the search committee was exceptionally strong,” said David R. Ford, vice provost for academic affairs and chair of the Vice President for Student Affairs Search Committee. “Each candidate brings the experience and leadership skills to improve an already strong student affairs program.”
In addition to Ford, members of the search committee are Sumeet Bagai, undergraduate student and president of the Student Government Association; Tom Brown, director of student life; Myrna Callison, graduate student and former graduate student representative of the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors; Melinda Cep, undergraduate student and undergraduate representative to the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors; Mary Ann Cole, publicity and resources administrator, Career Services; Joe Cowles, professor of biology, College of Science; Benjamin Dixon, vice president for multicultural affairs; Joan Hirt, associate professor of educational leadership and policy studies, College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences; Rick Johnson, director of dining and housing services; Marcus Ly, graduate students and graduate student representative of the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors; Donna Ratcliffe, director of career services; Lucinda Roy, Alumni Distinguished Professor and head, Department of English, College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences; Bevlee Watford, associate dean for academic affairs, College of Engineering; and Terry Wildman, professor and director, Center for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching, College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences.
Zenobia L. Hikes
Hikes has served as the chief student affairs officer at Spelman College, a historically black liberal arts college for women in Atlanta, since 1999. At Spelman, Hikes received a $200,000 Corella and Bertram Bonner Foundation Enrichment Grant to improve community service opportunities for students. She also served as co-principal investigator for an Office of Women’s Health Initiative designed to stem the spread of HIV/AIDS, diabetes, and hypertension.
Prior to her position at Spelman, Hikes was at the University of Delaware, serving as the assistant to the vice president for student life from 1996 to 1999 and associate director of admissions from 1992 to 1996. She also was assistant director of admissions and recruitment at Louisiana State University, Shreveport, from 1986 to 1992.
She is a member of the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators, Southern Association for College Student Affairs, The College Board, National Association of College Admissions Counselors, and the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers. Her work as appeared in several publications, including “Black Issues in Higher Education” and “The Admissions Strategist.”
Hikes received her Ed.D. from the University of Delaware, a master’s degree from Georgia Southwestern University, and a bachelor’s degree from Spelman College.
Thomas Jackson Jr.
Jackson has served as vice president for student affairs at Texas A&M University, Kingsville, a public university of 6,200 students, since 2000. In his current position, he maintains oversight over 150 employees and $30 million in facilities and resources.
Prior to his current position, Jackson served as dean of students at McMurry University from 1996 to 2000; director of the student activities center (from 1992 to 1996) and project director of the Dwight D. Eisenhower Leadership Program (from 1993 to 1996) at the University of Texas, El Paso; and as an academic development specialist at California Polytechnic State University from 1990 to 1992.
Jackson has also served as an assistant coach and head coach of both men’s and women’s tennis teams at three universities. He is a member of the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators, American College Personnel Association and the Texas Association of College and University Student Personnel Administrators.
Jackson received his Ed.D. from the University of La Verne, a master’s degree from Shippensburg University, and a bachelor’s degree from Southwest State University in Marshall, Minn.
Frank L. Lamas
Lamas has been at Rochester Institute of Technology, a private comprehensive university of 15,000 students, since 1995. In his current position, Lamas is responsible for a budget of approximately $5 million and oversees 58 full-time employees. He was promoted from assistant vice president to associate vice president in 1999, and served as interim vice president for student affairs in 2001.
From 1990 to 1994, Lamas served as associate dean of students at Western Maryland College (now McDaniel College). He was executive assistant to the vice present for student affairs and director of judicial administration at Ithaca College from 1981 to 1988 and director of housing and residence life at Youngstown State University from 1980 to 1981.
In addition to his administrative positions, Lamas was an assistant professor in the college student personnel/higher education program at Canisius College from 1997 to 2001. He is a member of the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators.
Lamas received his Ph.D. and master’s degree from the State University of New York at Albany, and a bachelor’s degree from the State University of New York College at Potsdam.
Edward F.D. Spencer
Spencer has been a member of the Virginia Tech community since 1983. In his current position, Spencer oversees eight university departments and three division-supporting areas. He is responsible for a $55 million budget and more than 1,500 full-and part-time employees. Spencer also has served as assistant vice president for student affairs from 1996 to 2004; director of residential and dining programs from 1989 to 1996 and director of housing and residential life from 1983 to 1989.
During his 12 years at the University of Delaware, Spencer served as associate director of housing from 1981 to 1982; associate director of administration in the Office of Housing and Residence Life from 1973 to 1981; and assistant director for residence life from 1970 to 1973.
Spencer is a member of the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators, Association of College and University Housing Officers-International, American College Personnel Association, Association for Student Judicial Affairs, Association of Fraternity Advisors, Southern Association for College Student Affairs, and the Southeaster Association of Housing Officers.
He received his Ph.D. and a master’s degree from the University of Delaware, a master’s degree from Syracuse University, and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Rochester.