Dr. Ani Yazedjian was recently named acting provost at Illinois State University following former president Dr. Terri Goss Kinzy’s resignation and Dr. Aondover Tarhule being named Interim President.
Yazedjian started working for the university in 2013 as chair of the Department of Family and Consumer Sciences before serving as associate provost. Before her time at ISU, she was a faculty member in the Department of Family and Consumer Sciences at Texas State University.
Since she started her position as associate provost in 2019, Yazedjian has witnessed the Office of the Provost make progress in aiding student success.
“I think over the last several years we’ve really become more focused on how we’re talking about student success. We’re more intentional in the work that we’re doing and the supports that we’re providing,” Yazedjian said.
Yazedjian explained that the Office of the Provost is committed to being more involved and present for ISU students. It hopes to achieve that with the implementation of new programs and resources.
“We’re continuing to work on the link between the faculty’s role in student success. It’s important that students feel a sense of belonging on the campus because we know that it supports student retention,” Yazedjian said.
The Office of the Provost has also been improving its coordination with other departments around the university so that the common goal of student success can be achieved as efficiently as possible.
Yazejian said it is important to prioritize staff’s well-being alongside students’ and that faculty retention is high on her priority list.
Yazedjian hopes to use experiences from her time as associate provost to guide her through her new position.
“Dr. Tarhule and I have worked closely on many initiatives. I think that will help me have a seamless transition into this role because I was already aware of a lot of projects he was working on,” Yazedjian said.
Yazedjian also assisted Tarhule with the planning of the new College of Engineering, which she will continue to work on as acting provost.
Yazedjian believes that her background in human development will assist her in her new position.
“Recent provosts’ professional backgrounds have been in different areas, and I feel like my professional background being in human development helps me because I’ve studied how people, families and social units function,” Yazedjian said.
“I have learned that the fact that a student may or may not be successful isn’t just because of how smart they are, you also have to consider their personal lives and how the social systems that they’re a part of work together," Yazedjian continued.
Before studying human development at a graduate level, Yazedjian studied sociology. She said her time studying sociology helped her better understand how people interact and that she still uses tools that she learned while studying sociology.
“In every professional position I’ve had, my undergraduate experience in sociology has benefitted how I collaborate with other people,” Yazedjian said.
Yazedjian said that higher education administration allows her to make a difference and have purpose.
“This is an opportunity to make a difference in lots of students’ lives. I hope to be able to have an impact on the educational experience of students while they’re here while setting them up for success in the rest of their lives,” Yazedjian said.
Yazedjian has a family and young children, so she is focused on being fulfilling her roles as parent and provost simultaneously. She is also a fan of reading, having a particular interest in literature regarding leadership development.
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