Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute President Shirley Ann Jackson Names New Vice President for Student Life


Contact: Media Relations

May 15, 2015

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute President Shirley Ann Jackson Names New Vice President for Student Life

Troy, NY – Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute President Shirley Ann Jackson, Ph.D. today named former Vice President for Student Affairs at Northeastern Illinois University, Frank E. Ross III, Ph.D., Vice President for Student Life.

“I am pleased that Dr. Ross is joining our leadership team,” said President Jackson. “His 20 years of university administration experience, providing guidance to enhance student success, retention, and graduation, will benefit students through the Rensselaer student experience, which fosters personal growth, supports academic excellence, and prepares students to be the future leaders and innovators ready to change the world.”

In his role at Rensselaer, Ross will assume responsibility for providing the strategic direction, vision and leadership for the Division of Student Life. As the Institute’s chief student life officer, Ross will assume oversight, coordination, and management of all student programs at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute including Archer Center for Student Leadership, Center for Career & Professional Development, Chaplain’s Office, Dean of Students Office, Office of the Student Experience, Office of the Registrar, Rensselaer Union, Residence Life programs, Student Health Services Center, and Athletics.

“I am honored to be joining Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and contributing to a preeminent research university with global reach and global impact,” Ross said. “I have been impressed with the transformation of Rensselaer under President Jackson’s leadership, and appreciate her very strong commitment to students. I look forward to leading the Student Life team and supporting The Rensselaer Plan 2024 while advancing a robust student experience through Clustered Learning, Advocacy, and Support for Students.”

Clustered Learning, Advocacy, and Support for Students or CLASS is Rensselaer’s transformative student experience which instills in students intellectual agility, multicultural sophistication, and a global perspective through time-based and residential-based learning and experiences.

As Vice President for Student Affairs at Northeastern Illinois University, Ross provided leadership for the following areas: Student Rights & Responsibilities, Student Health & Counseling Services, Student Disability Services, Learning Support Center, New Student & Family Programs, Student Transition Services, African/African American Resource Center, Asian/Global Resource Center, Latino/a Resource Center, LGBTQA Resource Center, Women’s Resource Center, Project Success, Proyecto Pa’Lante, Campus Recreation, Student Leadership Development, Student Union, Events & Conference Services, Advising Center, Career Development Center, TRIO Student Support Services, and the Student Government Association.

For over 10 years Ross served the students at Indiana University – Purdue University Indianapolis, most recently as Assistant Vice Chancellor for Student Life, where he promoted student success by leading a portfolio of programs, services and facilities to strengthen the living and learning experiences of students.

Ross has presented more than 100 times at both national and international higher education conferences, and has been invited to speak to faculty and staff at universities and colleges across the country. His latest publication is a chapter in Higher Education Access and Choice for Latino Students: Critical Findings and Theoretical Perspectives. Previously Ross served as the editor of the Journal of Learning Communities Research, and has also served as chair of the National Learning Communities Conference.

Ross maintains a high level of national professional involvement, and currently serves as a member of the board of directors for NASPA: Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education. He previously served on the NASPA James E. Scott Academy Board for Chief Student Affairs Officers, and also was the National Director of Knowledge Communities.  He is the chair for the 2016 NASPA Annual Conference.

Ross earned his Ph.D. from Indiana University, which is consistently ranked by U.S. News & World Report among the top 10 graduate programs in the country for higher education administration. Additionally, he completed the Higher Education Management Development Program at Harvard University. He holds a master of arts in education degree from Western Kentucky University, and master of arts and bachelor of science degrees from Ball State University. 


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About Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

Founded in 1824, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute is America’s first technological research university. Rensselaer encompasses five schools, over 30 research centers, more than 140 academic programs including 25 new programs, and a dynamic community made up of over 6,800 students and 104,000 living alumni. Rensselaer faculty and alumni include upwards of 155 National Academy members, six members of the National Inventors Hall of Fame, six National Medal of Technology winners, five National Medal of Science winners, and a Nobel Prize winner in Physics. With nearly 200 years of experience advancing scientific and technological knowledge, Rensselaer remains focused on addressing global challenges with a spirit of ingenuity and collaboration. To learn more, please visit