Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Staff Announcement: Tim Wilkinson

It is with very mixed emotions that we announce the departure of Tim Wilkinson from Lehigh University.  Tim has accepted the position of Associate Dean for Student Engagement at Wake Forest University. In his new role, he will supervise Fraternity and Sorority Life, Student Activities, the Student Union, Leadership Programs and Student Government. This move will also put Tim and his wife Allison closer to family as they also prepare to welcome a new baby addition. As we reflect on all that Tim has meant to Lehigh and to our Fraternity and Sorority community over the past 10 years, it is absolutely with a deep debt of gratitude that we share with you some of Tim's accomplishments.

Tim came to Lehigh shortly after the University-wide Strengthening Greek Life initiative went into its early implementation phase, and he immediately took on the massive challenge and opportunity of leading Lehigh's fraternity and sorority community through this major cultural overhaul.  He has led this transformation with poise and grace in an area that is often filled with significant challenges both at Lehigh and on a national scale.  And while there are still many areas of improvement for Lehigh's fraternity and sorority community and our larger campus climate, we can all say without hesitation that this community is indescribably positively different from where it was ten years ago. We have made sustainable change on a national scale that has made Lehigh's fraternity and sorority community a model for other campuses across the country.  This is in large part a direct result of Tim's leadership and commitment to continual improvement in our fraternal system.

We’d like to highlight 3 specific areas of growth and development in OFSA that would not have been possible without Tim's leadership:

1) Dean of Students Office, OFSA community-wide and chapter specific operational improvements: From implementing Lehigh's fraternity and sorority Accreditation process, leading our System-wide Assessment Committee, developing the individual leadership skills of and mentoring countless student leaders responsible for their chapter's operations and council leadership, overseeing many fraternity, sorority and multicultural Greek expansion processes, serving as one of two Senior Assistant Deans on the Dean of Students leadership team, and so much more.  Tim's focus on personal attention, values-based decision making, and continual improvement, have ensured that these processes are at the forefront within his field and serve the students, chapters, and Lehigh University as well as possible.

2) Forging and maintaining critical relationships with a wide variety of Lehigh constituents including faculty, staff, students, administrators, alumni, national headquarters, etc:  In this job, it requires managing a diverse array of relationships, competing priorities, and continually being willing to put the health, safety and educational experiences of our students at the forefront at all times.  Tim has done just this.  Whether it has been important conversations with committed Lehigh alumni, sharing OFSA's work with faculty and administrators across campus, or partnering closely with national headquarters on positive experiences like chapter colonizations or on incredibly difficult topics like chapter closings, Tim has given of his time and attention in a way that has brought all of these constituents to a place of greater support and understanding of Lehigh's fraternity and sorority community.  Tim has presented at numerous conferences, lead the Northeast Greek Leadership Association for multiple years as Executive Director and Assistant Executive Director, hosted conferences on our campus for fraternity and sorority professionals, etc.  The list goes on and on, but what can be said with confidence is that Tim's ability to build relationships and work across a variety of constituents in a way that promotes common purpose and inspires positive action is excellent and has served Lehigh quite well.

3) Commitment to Diversity and Inclusion: While Lehigh and our fraternity and sorority community still have significant hard work to do to enhance our campus climate, Tim has undoubtedly been a campus leader in insisting on improvements within the fraternity and sorority community and across campus with regard to diversity and inclusion.  Examples of this are countless and include serving on the Council of Equity and Community for a number of years, beginning multiple programmatic initiatives within OFSA forward to educate students about privilege and to create spaces for dialog among diverse student constituents, building a sustainable community of Multicultural Greek chapters at Lehigh including overseeing the expansion of six historically black and latino fraternities and sororities and a historically Jewish-based fraternity at Lehigh, launching the Greek Allies program to support students who identify as LGBTQIA within the fraternity and sorority community, etc.  All of these have built a strong foundation for our fraternity and sorority community to continue to build on as we all strive to further foster a more diverse and inclusive campus community.

Suffice it to say, Tim has left a legacy of strong leadership at Lehigh and his work with students and other campus partners has been invaluable. It is rare to find an Assistant Dean for Fraternity and Sorority Affairs who has stayed in their role for 10 years.  The job is incredibly challenging, requires balancing many different constituents' needs, and often places you in a position to have to make very difficult decisions for the betterment of the overall system and university. Tim has never once shied away from these difficult moments and in those moments, his approach has been anchored fully in what creates a positive and sustainable future for fraternity and sorority life at Lehigh and best contributes to the overall mission and purpose of Lehigh University.  We could not ask for any more than that and he will be missed a great deal by all of us.

Over the coming weeks, the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Affairs will conduct a national search to find a candidate that will continue to lead our fraternity and sorority community with the same values-based approach and commitment to excellence that Tim has brought to his work during his tenure at Lehigh. Students, faculty, staff, and alumni will be involved in our search effort and we look forward to welcoming a new Assistant Dean/Director of Fraternity and Sorority Affairs before the start of the academic year.  Please make sure you reach out to Tim to wish him well before his last day on June 18th.

Thank you,
Allison Gulati

Associate Dean & Director of Strategic Initiatives