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Students gather on the Illinois State University Quad.
Students gather on the Illinois State University Quad.

2021–2022 Edition

Welcome from the Vice President for Student Affairs

I am thrilled to once again share our Division of Student Affairs viewbook. This 2021-2022 publication highlights just a few of the amazing initiatives happening throughout our division.

It’s hard to believe that I’ve served as your vice president for Student Affairs for more than five years. While I’ve always been proud to be a Redbird, I have never been more honored to work alongside such dedicated student affairs professionals as we have navigated the COVID-19 pandemic together since March 2020. Our staff continues to be nimble, flexible, and innovative as we adjust our programs and services to meet student needs—all while prioritizing their health and safety with each decision. I’m so incredibly proud of our resilience and ability to persevere together as a Redbird family.  

As we move forward, I’m excited about the progress being made in our priority areas. In the following stories, you will read about our commitment to equity, diversity, and inclusion; our master plan for housing and dining; our approach to data-informed decision-making; and our nationally ranked Redbird Esports program. I hope you will enjoy learning about how each of these priorities contribute to the holistic student experience at Illinois State.

In the Division of Student Affairs, we have the distinct privilege of helping students during some of their most transformative years. I hope that our impact is evident as you read these stories.

With Redbird Pride,

Levester “LJ” Johnson, Ed.D.
Vice President for Student Affairs

Student Affairs Priorities

Staff of the Multicultural Center cut the ribbon at the center's dedication

A place of belonging

One of the most significant enhancements to EDI efforts at Illinois State has been the addition of a vibrant Multicultural Center, which opened to the campus community in fall 2021. The center provides students with an affirming campus environment where they can embrace their intersecting identities and learn to become a champion for antiracism, equity, and justice.

Redbird Esports student practices in The Vault

Gladly we game

Illinois State’s nationally ranked Redbird Esports program continues to bring great excitement to campus. Under the direction of Campus Recreation, Redbird Esports officially launched in fall 2020 with three competitive varsity teams, supporting 21 students with scholarships.

Students and staff pose for a picture at a bowing event

The future of housing and dining

The Division of Student Affairs had previously developed a master plan for University Housing Services that provided strategic direction for residential and dining areas prior to the pandemic. Now, the division is revisiting the plan and refreshing its data and scope.

students pose for a picture during Welcome Week

Data-informed decisions

Through daily interactions with students, the Division of Student Affairs has an enormous amount of data on student behavior, health, recreation, interests, daily life, and more. The division has established a goal to take a more integrated view of the data across its 14 departments.

Featured Stories

Students pose for a picture during Welcome Week

Returning to the traditional campus experience

Over a year into the pandemic, as staff prepared for a complete return to in-person learning in fall 2021, the Division was thrilled to resume some of our favorite on-campus traditions and experiences with continued modifications in place.

Dr. Neal Gamsky presents Steve Adams with the Quality of Student Life Award

Leaving a legacy

The Division of Student Affairs was saddened by the loss of two influential leaders over the past two years—former Vice President and Dean of Student Affairs Dr. Neal R. Gamsky and former Vice President for Student Affairs Steve Adams.

Student Affairs by the Numbers


Event Management, Dining, and Hospitality serves an average of 1,781,953 meals at campus dining centers each year.


Resident/Community Assistants facilitated more than 10,500 Bird Calls (Intentional Conversations) in FY21.


Student Health Services has an average of 3,000 visits each month.


Nearly 3,000 graduates from 2020 and 2021 participated in Redbird Stage Crossing in spring 2021.


The Student Affairs IT team resolves approximately 7,000 requests for technology support each year.


Student Counseling Services held more than 5,000 visits with students in FY21.


The number of emails received and responded to through the Dean on Duty program totaled 3,609, an increase from 2,021 in FY20 and 1,322 in FY19.


The number of events in Redbird Life grew by more than 600 from the previous year, with 1,812 events offered in FY21.


Of students using the Student Fitness Center, 90% agree that it positively contributes to their mental health.


Of the career advising appointments completed in 2021, 97% were held virtually.


More than 90% of Koru Mindfulness participants have indicated that the class helps them to better manage their stress.


There were more than 740 participants in the Center for Civic Engagement’s new Deliberative Dialogues program.


Downloads to the Safe Redbirds app increased by 21.7% during First Year Feature in summer 2021.


Project Bird Tracks launched with a student inventory and individualized report, helping students learn where they measure on 27 employer-desired skills.


Transports for alcohol/drug evaluation in FY21 dropped by approximately 30% from the previous year.


The Multicultural Center received the most gifts for the University on the Birds Give Back annual giving day with 390 gifts.

Support Student Affairs

The Division of Student Affairs is focused on increasing our ability to award experiential and need-based scholarships to help Redbirds engage in transformational opportunities. These scholarships are designed to supplement students’ budgets to help them say ‘yes’ to experiences that offer them a competitive advantage in achieving their goals and aspirations. Involvement in clubs and organizations, participating in regional and national conferences, engaging in service trips, and competing for national titles in esports and sport clubs are just a few examples of opportunities available to Redbirds. Increasing the number of experiential scholarships is our goal, as the resources set aside each year for this purpose are quickly depleted.

Learn more about how you can support experiential student scholarships at or contact Elizabeth Klatt, Associate Director of Development at (309) 438-1748.

“Scholarships in Student Affairs advance equity on campus, allow students to participate in experiential learning, and encourage students to realize their professional ambitions. They are also critical for the sake of our students’ financial well-being. When you give back to Student Affairs, you are an extension of the work we do to engage students and broaden their perspectives.”

– Vice President for Student Affairs, Dr. Levester “LJ” Johnson