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St. Norbert names Laurie Joyner as next president

First female president in SNC’s 125-year history

Laurie Joyner
In July, Laurie Joyner will take on the position as SNC’s ninth president, as the first-ever female president in the school’s history. Janelle Fisher photo

By Janelle Fisher

City Pages Editor

DE PERE – A new president is coming to St. Norbert College (SNC).

In July, Laurie Joyner will take on the position as SNC’s ninth president overall and as the first-ever female president in the school’s history.

It’s a position Joyner said she looks forward to taking on.

“I’m just incredibly excited to have the opportunity to lead such an amazing institution,” she said. “St. Norbert College is so well respected for academic excellence and for its commitment to its Norbertine values and of course, providing students with a really strong liberal arts background that prepares them not only for successful careers, but also meaningful lives and to provide leadership in their local community. So I just couldn’t be more thrilled to have this opportunity.”

Once she takes office, Joyner said her first order of business will be to get to know the campus and the community to inform her leadership.

“In terms of priorities, obviously I need to get to campus and listen to the community and find out what their concerns are and what they’re excited about,” she said. “I’m thinking we’ll probably focus on shared governance issues. It’s really important to have our faculty and staff and administration and board of trustees on the same page about a shared vision for the future. I’ll be listening and looking at the strategic planning priorities and will likely end up tweaking those a bit, you know, it’s an ongoing process. And of course focus on enrollment management given some of the challenges in that area and philanthropy.”

Joyner said another priority will be supporting the work already taking place at SNC and fostering the high level of engagement seen across the campus.

“The great thing about this opportunity is St. Norbert College is in the enviable position of having really engaged students, faculty and staff,” she said. “What I’ve heard most is they just want to continue the excellent work that they’re doing with students. One of the things that really impresses me about the college is its emphasis on engaged learning. St. Norbert is really about educating the whole person — intellectually, spiritually and also instilling a sense of social responsibility for the good of others… So I think they just want extra support to continue the good work they’re already doing.”

Before accepting her new position at SNC, Joyner served as president at St. Xavier University in Chicago, president of Wittenberg University in Ohio and in various vice presidential and dean roles at Rollins College in Florida.

Throughout all of her roles, Joyner said she especially values adherence to one’s mission and the importance of following through — a philosophy she plans to bring with her to SNC.

“One of the things I really emphasize is mission,” she said. “I think it’s really important that every decision, every resource allocation decision, really be closely tied to institutional mission… And one of the things that I’ve spent a lot of time on is student success. So I think it’s a moral imperative for students who get into St. Norbert College that they actually complete, and hopefully complete in four years. So lots of engaged learning, opportunities like student/faculty collaborative research and study abroad opportunities — some of those out of class activities that help deepen learning and engagement that we know are associated with students’ success. That will continue to be a major focal point.”

An emphasis on student success, Joyner said, is what will give SNC a competitive edge as educational institutions across the country face declining enrollment.

“This definitely is something impacting the entire education sector,” she said. “There’s just fewer individuals that were born about 18 years ago. But colleges with great reputations and with a very clear value proposition and that can point to all the success that their graduates are having I think have a distinct edge. And based on everything I’ve seen at St. Norbert College, the one thing that really stands out is this is a place who knows what it values, knows who it is and has a very clear identity and I think that is going to serve us really well moving forward.”

Joyner said she’s looking forward to exploring the community and getting involved off-campus as well with places like the St. Norbert Abbey, Seroogy’s and walking paths along the Fox River on her list of sights to see.

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