HIGHLAND HEIGHTS, Ky. — Northern Kentucky University has named Bonita J. Brown vice president and chief strategy officer, tasked with campus-wide oversight and execution of the university’s strategic framework. Brown will start on Aug. 1.
This spring, NKU unveiled its Success by Design strategic framework that identified the university’s singular focus on advancing student success aligned with the needs of the region. The framework process also identified three pillars of student success — access, completion and career and community engagement. NKU President Ashish Vaidya created the position to oversee the campus-wide efforts of implementing the framework.
“I’m very pleased to welcome Bonita to NKU as our inaugural vice president and chief strategy officer,” Vaidya said. “It became clear during the search process that she had the experience and skills to manage complex change initiatives in a collaborative way, engage others in challenging convention and encouraging innovation, with a strong commitment to and success with achieving diversity, equity, and inclusion goals. Our strategic framework must evolve as regional needs change. In this new paradigm, we need a CSO to ensure NKU is constantly innovating, adapting and executing in an iterative process as we stay responsive to the needs of the region and beyond.”
Brown currently serves as the vice president for network engagement at Achieving the Dream, a national nonprofit leader that champions evidence-based institutional improvement in community colleges across the country. Brown was responsible for supporting a network of over 220 community colleges in 41 states as they worked to implement sustainable, campus wide student success efforts.
“I am thrilled to be joining the NKU family! In my research of the campus and its plans for the future, I was overjoyed to see the focus on student success. The Success by Design framework resonated with me and my work over the past few years and I look forward to leading the efforts to begin implementation,” said Brown. “The excitement from the faculty, staff and students about the plan and Dr. Vaidya’s leadership are the key ingredients to make this a success, and it will ultimately have a significant impact on the Northern Kentucky region. I look forward to joining the team and collaborating with the campus and the community as we work to support students in achieving their goals.”
Prior to her role at Achieving the Dream, Brown served as the director of Higher Education Practice with the Education Trust in Washington D.C. While at the Education Trust, she created and led an initiative entitled Optimizing Academic Success and Institutional Strategy (OASIS), which was a national network of regional, comprehensive, minority serving institutions that enroll large numbers of low-income students and students of color. As the director of Higher Education Practice, she worked with the institutions in assessing data and implementing national best practices for improving student success and closing completion gaps.
Over the course of her career, Brown served as the vice chancellor and chief of staff, and as assistant secretary to the board of trustees at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. She has also served as the chief of staff at the University of North Texas, general counsel at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts and assistant attorney at Winston-Salem State University. She has participated in the HERS Leadership program, the AASCU Millennium Leadership Initiative and is a graduate of the Harvard Institute of Educational Management. Brown received her BA in history from Wake Forest University and her JD from Wake Forest University School of Law. She is married to Wesley Brown and has two children, Joshua Brown, a student at Morgan State University and Myliah Brown, a student at Bridgewater College in Virginia.