On Sept. 8, Jacqueline (Jackie) Irving was announced as the Eastern University Interim Vice Provost for Student Development. While Irving is new to this position, she is not new to the Eastern community, having filled different administrative and professorial roles since 2001. Irving started her Eastern career as a career counselor and a sophomore retention specialist. In this role, Irving had to identify the needs of sophomores and coordinate programming around those needs.
Irving then became advisor for the Multicultural Student Initiative, as well as coordinator for the Wilson Goode Scholars. Along with the aforementioned positions, Irving has also been an academic advisor and an adjunct faculty member, teaching INST-150, Critical Thinking in the Summer Bridge Program, and Calling and Vocation.
“I’ve been all over the map,” Irving said, “it’s fun to me.”
Irving is currently balancing her previous duties as Assistant Dean of Students for Multicultural Student Initiatives and Director of the Goode Scholars and her new position as Interim Vice Provost, but she is no stranger to periods of transition.
“I’ve been in transitional roles in my career prior to Eastern,” Irving said, “it’s normal to me.”
Before coming to Eastern University, Irving worked as a legislative affairs assistant, minority and women’s business development associate, marketing assistant, and employment coach and recruiter.
This diverse background has prepared Irving for a position amidst transition, and she views any position working with students as constantly changing and shifting.
“I’m used to transitions, everyone is not…So much changes, you have to be able to change with it, to tap into the needs of the students based on their input and not just our observations.” Irving stresses the importance of “touching base with students, asking what it is that they want…I don’t think that it’s fair to assume that you know what students need…it’s important to find out what students need and like.”
Throughout Irving’s career she has realized that students are her passion, and she sees her position as interim vice provost of student development as “an opportunity to serve at the pleasure of students.” Irving says she loves the constantly changing nature of working in education.
“The cycle of students keeps you on your toes…Students are teaching us in a number of ways. We are working in student development but the students are keeping us developed,” Irving said.
Irving says she was honored and humbled to be considered, and that the transition into her new role is not as difficult as it could have been because she was already working with Student Development. Irving says that she has had previous access to what this job involves, albeit it was secondary access and is now primary.
“[I am] not surprised by anything that is happening because of my prior position. I’ve had access to some of the information [already]” Irving said.
Irving is eager to fulfill her duties to the best of her abilities.
“I expect people to have expectations. Dr. Bettie Ann Brigham [the former Vice Provost] has been identified with Student Development for so long. Bettie Ann is a Student Development legend who has done excellent work in the Eastern community and my plans include building on the framework she developed to enhance and strengthen the foundation she set in place,” Irving says.
Irving seems excited to take on the new responsibilities of this new position.
“I’m going to give 110 percent. I don’t take this opportunity lightly.” Irving said.
Ultimately, Irving says she is thrilled for the opportunity to be a resource to help assist students in their growth and education.
“I’m just excited about this opportunity to serve students going forward…I want students to leave Eastern deliriously happy with us. You have to spend four years here…I don’t expect perfection, but excellence is important…You want every student to have a good experience,” Irving said.