Powell vows to attain top-20 status

Theresa Powell, a candidate for UK’s vice president of student affairs and current vice president of student affairs at Temple University, hugs Rena Murphy, a friend and former colleague after a forum in the Student Center Monday afternoon. Photo by Scott Hannigan

By Andrew Pillow

One woman has a couple of plans in mind to make the Office of Student Affairs at UK one of top-20 status.

Theresa Powell, vice president of Student Affairs at Temple University, spoke to students and faculty at the second forum in the search to fill the position at UK.

Powell said if she comes to UK she wants to continue on the path the Provost and UK President Lee Todd have set — the path toward top-20 status.

“To do that you have to have top-20 departments,” Powell said. “So I also want this Student Affairs department to be a top-20 department, and I believe I can do that.”

Powell has several smaller goals she wants to achieve to work up to a top-20 department.

One of these goals is to continue the process of making UK a more residential college, a goal she said she accomplished at a previous stop.

“My challenge (at Temple University) was to change the campus from a commuter campus to a residential campus,” Powell said. “And in the years I was there we were certainly able to do that.”

Powell said another goal is to include all varieties of students, particularly the sometimes-forgotten groups such as lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students.

Including these types of people in student life is something with which Powell has had practice.

At Temple University, which is located in Philadelphia and has about 27,000 undergraduates, she started an office for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students.

“I’m proud of what I have done for LGBT students and all students who have been marginalized,” Powell said.

David Lowe, executive vice president of the Interfraternity Council and member of Alpha Tau Omega fraternity, attended the forum because he wants someone who will be a friend to the Greeks and who is easy to talk to.

“I want to see someone who not only supports the Greek system but engages them,” Lowe said. “It’s important to have someone who is charismatic and genuine.”

Powell said growing up in a family of nine siblings greatly contributed to her ability and desire to be in Student Affairs.

“You learn how to negotiate, collaborate, be a gracious winner, as well as loser, you understand how to build relationships … you know what to say and what not to say,” she said. “So I had lots of training then.”