The Administrative/Professional (A/P) Council of Illinois State University announced those who will be honored at the Founders Day celebration on February 21. They include, Wilma Bates, Rachel Kobus, John Plevka, Aaron Woodruff, Patrick Walsh, Susan Woollen, and Debbie Lamb.
A/P Emerging Leader
Wilma Bates, University Advancement
Bates is a director of development for the College of Education and the Laboratory Schools at Illinois State, and has been with the University since 2014. Her role is to work within University Advancement to develop fund-raising priorities and strategies that align with priorities set by university leadership, with a focus on major gifts. Bates travels the country to meet with and work with alumni, and friends of the College of Education and the Laboratory Schools.
Bates served on the ISU Campus Climate Task Force in 2017-2018, and has assisted on talent search committees, participated in panel discussions, and contributed to committees across campus. In the community, Bates served on and volunteers for numerous non-profit boards and committees, including the Bloomington Public Library, Susan G. Komen for the Cure, Special Olympics, American Heart Association, Central Illinois Chapter of the The Links Incorporated, Illinois Heart and Lung Foundation, and the American Cancer Society. She was also nominated in 2018 for a YWCA Women of Distinction award for community service.
Bates holds a bachelor’s degree from Chapman University.
Rachel Kobus, Alumni Engagement
Kobus joined the Alumni Engagement office at Illinois State in 2015, and currently serves as an associate director, overseeing all communication and marketing efforts. In her role with Alumni Engagement, Kobus works with various platforms to keep over 215,000 living alumni connected to Illinois State after graduation. She manages all promotions, print projects, website content, email development, and social media. She also works closely with campus partners to deliver monthly electronic newsletters to alumni and serves as the alumni editor for Illinois State, the alumni magazine. Kobus also coordinates all promotions for Illinois State’s Homecoming, including the launch of ISU Homecoming’s Twitter account. She also enjoys mentoring a student each semester as the supervisor of the office’s communication intern.
Kobus currently serves as the communications chair for the Administrative/Professional Council and graduated from Illinois State’s Leadership Initiative in 2018. Kobus also enjoys guest lecturing and sitting on panels for the School of Communication. She sits on several campus committees such as the University’s social media committee. Within the community, Kobus serves in various roles for the Association for Women in Communications Bloomington/Normal chapter. She graduated from the Leadership McLean County program in 2017 and now serves as the co-chair for LMC’s Leaders on Loan initiative.
Kobus received her bachelor’s in 2009 and master’s in 2011 from Illinois State’s School of Communication.
A/P Distinguished Service
John Plevka, Vidette
John Plevka has been a journalist in Illinois for more than 40 years. In 2012 he left the commercial newspaper industry to become the general manager and advisor of the student-run Vidette at Illinois State University. In addition to his role at the newspaper, he also teaches two journalism classes in the School of Communication. Prior to joining the ISU community, Plevka was managing editor of the Peoria Journal Star. While at the Peoria newspaper, he taught part time at Bradley University. He is a graduate of Eastern Illinois University.
Since arriving at The Vidette, the organization has shifted its emphasis from print to digital, reducing the newspaper publication cycle from five days per week to two days. During this period, students have aggressively expanded the digital reach of The Vidette through its full-service website, a mobile app, and highly active social media channels. In calendar year 2017, Videtteoneline.com drew over a million page views from users across the globe. During this period, however, The Vidette staff did not completely forsake its printed product. In fact, in 2018 The Vidette received first-place recognition for General Excellence among other campus newspapers in Illinois.
Plevka is currently president of the Illinois College Press Association, a group that represents about 40 campus news organizations. He also has served as manager of the Illinois High School Association’s Journalism Sectional Tournament, which has been hosted by the ISU School of Communication the last four years. In April, ISU will upgrade its commitment to high school journalism when it hosts the IHSA State Journalism Tournament, an event that will draw over 800 high school journalists to the community.
Aaron Woodruff, University Police
Woodruff began his law enforcement career with the Illinois State University Police Department in 1997, and was appointed as the fourth chief of police in May, 2011. Since then Chief Woodruff has continued to strengthen the department’s efforts at enhancing diversity, innovative community policing, and safety on campus.
Chief Woodruff upholds the long tradition of being a favored guest at ISU Preview. Woodruff is also an instructor on the subject areas of implicit bias and procedural justice. He has worked tirelessly to educate and train local law enforcement agencies on these issues. Woodruff has twice served as co-chair of the Minority and Police Partnership of McLean County and has collaborated closely with the local chapter of the NAACP, of which he is a lifetime member.
Chief Woodruff has been decorated with numerous awards and recognitions over the course of his career and has also participated in an international police training exchange program with the Russian National Police. He also currently serves as the vice president of the Illinois Campus Law Enforcement Administrators Association, and as a Legislative Committee member of the Illinois Chiefs Association.
He is a graduate of Western Illinois University, the University of Illinois Police Training Institute, the Illinois Law Enforcement Executive Institute Program on Police Executive Leadership, the Florida Crime Prevention Institute, and the FBI National Academy with a graduate certificate in criminal justice education from the University of Virginia. Woodruff is a strong believer in continuing education and has completed a variety of coursework at ISU. He currently enjoys participating in classes while enrolled as a graduate student in the Criminal Justice program.
Patrick Walsh, Office of Admissions
As an associate director in the Office of Admissions, Walsh has been with Admissions since 2003. For years, his responsibilities included setting admission criteria and assisting in the projection of enrollment outcomes for Admissions and Enrollment Management. He has assisted in the implementation of numerous technology projects for the office, monitored capacity in programs, and worked closely with academic advisors to provide updated reports and student data. This year, with shifting responsibilities among team members, Walsh has taken over supervisory duties for the freshman and transfer recruitment staff. His style is to lead by example, and he is never too busy to help a colleague or student in need. Walsh serves on the Preview Advisory Committee, University Housing Appeals Committee, and as Student Conduct Consultant along with volunteering for Welcome Week, Move-in, and other University events. In 2009, he received the AP Emerging Leader Award.
In addition to his many contributions to the Illinois State community, Walsh also serves the greater admissions profession. He is a respected member of professional state and national associations for admissions, and has held numerous leadership positions over the course of his career. He is currently serving as president of the Illinois Association for College Admission Counseling. His leadership in this role serves to solidify Illinois State’s strong reputation among high school counselors and fellow college and university professionals at the state and national level. Walsh received the IACAC Newcomer Award in 2007 and the IACAC Molly Arnold President’s Service Award in 2011.
Walsh holds a master’s degree in college student personnel administration and a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice sciences from Illinois State.
Susan Woollen, Criminal Justice Sciences
Susan Woollen has worked at Illinois State since 1991. She started her career in higher education as an admissions counselor at The University of Texas at San Antonio in 1987. During her tenure at Illinois State, she has served in the capacity of associate director of admissions in the Office of Admissions and as academic advisor, assistant to the chair, and, now, as director of undergraduate studies and enrollment management in the Department of Criminal Justice Sciences (CJS).
Woollen has taught sections of IDS 122-First year Learning in Communities Seminar and several graduate courses in the Department of Educational Administration and Foundations. She facilitates a CJS study abroad course focused on genocide in Germany and Poland during World War II using a social justice and criminological lens. Woollen has published on women in the academic presidency, education reform, distance education, orientation practices, and test bias, and has presented her research at national education conferences.
She is actively involved in shared governance, serving her third term as a member of A/P Council. She is also a member of the Transfer Council and the College Student Personnel Administration Advisory Board. Susan serves as the CAST representative on the Culturally Responsive Campus Community Initiative and is a facilitator for the newly formed CAS/CAST Culturally Responsive Task Force. She is coordinating two retention programs that are designed to bridge the gap between exploration and student academic engagement for CJS sophomores.
Woollen is a 1986 graduate of The University of Texas at San Antonio and earned master’s and doctorate degrees in educational administration and foundations at Illinois State.
A/P Esprit de Corps
Debbie Lamb, Office of Financial Aid
Lamb began her career at Illinois State University in July 1998 in the Office of Admissions as an admissions counselor. In July of 2007, she became the senior assistant director of Admissions, managing and supervising admissions recruitment activities as well as merit-based scholarship programs. In 2014, she became the associate director of Admissions with increased responsibility with scholarship programs. Currently, Lamb serves as the associate director of admissions and scholarships housed in the Office of Financial Aid with oversight of admissions scholarships and related processes. Lamb was instrumental in creating the new McLean County Full Tuition Scholarship as well as the Legacy Scholarship effective fall 2019. She continues to assist with recruitment related events and remains the admissions and scholarships liaison for several departments on campus.
Lamb was a member of the Administrative Professional (A/P) Council from 2008–2015, serving as vice chair her last two years. She received the A/P Council Distinguished Service Award in 2013. She assisted with the creation of the A/P Council Scholarship and served as the committee chairperson for several years. Lamb continues to serve as a member of the A/P Council Scholarship Committee today, and has been involved with numerous University initiatives including Educating Illinois, Gladly We Give, Commencement, Preview, Passages, and the Annuitants Association. She has served on several scholarship selection teams and continues as a member of the Student Access and Accommodation Services scholarship committee.
Lamb is a member of the finance committee for the Community Cancer Center and operations committee for several of their fundraising events. She has been involved with the Boys and Girls Club, Women Build McLean County, Delphi, Children’s Discovery Museum, Red Cross, and the Unit 5 Promise Council/100 Caring Adults.
She holds a bachelor’s degree in public relations from Illinois State.