VPSA search continues with 2nd candidate’s remote interview


Corryn Brock

Jo-Ann Robinson, a candidate for Eastern’s Vice President of Student Affairs position, answers a question during her live-video session with students Thursday. Robinson is one of four candidates being considered for the position.

Eastern hosted a virtual open session with the second candidate for the Vice President of Student Affairs.

Jo-Ann Robinson is currently the Interim Vice President for Community Engagement at Bluefield State College in West Virginia.

She described her current position responsibilities in her vita as “to facilitate and drive strategic initiatives, lead cross functional engagement with key staff and external organizations to support short–term objectives and long-term strategic goals” and to “integrate community engagement into the mission of BSC by identifying, establishing, and maintaining cooperative relationships with various local, regional, state, and national groups and organizations.”

Bluefield State College is a historically black college with a student population around 1,300.

Robinson has also worked at Wilberforce University in Wilberforce, Ohio, North Carolina State University and the University of Texas.

Robinson received of Bachelor of Science in Psychology from State University of New York, College at Brockport, a Master of Arts in Social Science with an emphasis in counseling from Binghamton University in New York and a doctoral degree in Educational Research and Policy Analysis from North Carolina State University.

Robinson said she was a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. and has experience overseeing and advising various Greek organizations.

She said she has also worked with groups of minority students and LGBTQ+ students and prides herself on an “open door policy.”

Robinson said she wants students to feel comfortable coming to speak with her at all times and that she has stayed late many nights to finish work after spending time talking with students who came to speak with her on different issues.

Robinson added that students should look to see her at registered student organizations events around campus if she is offered the position.

“If there is an event, you can expect me to be there,” Robinson said.

She said she has had experience with student-led marches and protests during her time in higher education.

“I am not new to those circumstances,” Robinson said. “I believe in free speech; I believe that students have a right to voice their concerns, and I also understand the difference between free speech and hate speech.”

Another conflict Robinson said she has experience working with is students having issues with professors in the classroom.

“What I do is I listen to the concerns and try to work with the students to come up with a strategy,” Robinson said. “There are a number of steps in terms of first communicating directly with the faculty member, and if that did not produce the desired outcome, moving to the department chair then moving the dean and then moving to the provost. Those are what I call the academic steps.”

Robinson said she looks forward to meeting students if offered the position.

“I like to be in the midst of a campus, participating in activities,” Robinson said. “I like a good step show, I like a good party, I like being on a college campus and I would enjoy being (at Eastern) with you and your community.”

The next candidate, John Davenport, will have an open session with students April 22.

Davenport is the Dean of Students at Illinois State University.

Corryn Brock can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected].