Leadership Team

Beth Ingram
Executive Vice President and Provost


Before arriving at Northern Illinois University, Beth Ingram served as provost and vice president for academic affairs at North Dakota State University (NDSU). At NDSU, she created and implemented a new strategic plan and built productive relationships to develop a better sense of direction for the institution. Through these efforts, and her leadership during an economic downturn in North Dakota, Ingram earned a reputation as a collaborative leader and data-informed problem-solver.

Ingram is committed to academic excellence, and she has demonstrated the ability to advance faculty scholarship and student success. At NDSU, she facilitated positive changes in research administration as well as the promotion and tenure processes. She drove innovation in student support, including the creation of an early alert and advising system and the development of curriculum maps and four-year plans. Those efforts were credited with helping the school boost its four-year graduation rate from 26% to 37% over four years.

Before her time at NDSU, Ingram spent 26 years at the University of Iowa where she served as associate provost for undergraduate education, dean of the University College, associate dean for undergraduate programs in the Tippie College of Business and chair of the department of economics. She began her career in academe an assistant professor of economics at Cornell University in 1986 after completing her Ph.D. degree in economics at the University of Minnesota. In 1988, she returned to the University of Iowa, where she did her undergraduate work, rising to the position of full professor in 2001. She held several prestigious professorships and won numerous awards for her teaching.

The provost is the chief academic officer of the university and is responsible for the administration of the Division of Academic Affairs and serves on the President's Senior Cabinet as well as chairs the Academic Planning Council, the University Council Personnel Committee and the Council of Deans. Additionally, the provost serves as university liaison with the Board of Trustees' Academic Affairs, Student Affairs and Personnel Committee and also participates with other state university and community college chief academic officers in regular meetings with the academic staff of the Illinois Board of Higher Education.

Vernese Edghill-Walden
Chief Diversity Officer and Vice President for Academic Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

Vernese Edghill-Walden

Edghill-Walden joined Northern Illinois University in 2015 as our first chief diversity officer and senior associate vice president for academic diversity. In this esteemed role, she reports directly to the executive vice president and provost and is part of the president's cabinet.

She is responsible for coordinating university initiatives that improve access, academic equity, inclusion and professional development and training for faculty, staff and students. Her main goal is to improve upon the university's commitment to be welcoming and inclusive to the diverse populations that call NIU and the DeKalb community home.

Over Edghill-Walden's 25-year career, she has been committed to diversity, equity and inclusion. Prior to joining NIU, Edghill-Walden was the provost and chief academic officer of the City Colleges of Chicago where she was responsible for leading district-wide academic departments to enhance the quality of education for more than 120,000 City College of Chicago students. She spent 12 years as director of the Center for Black Culture at the University of Delaware followed by three years as director of diversity at Georgetown Day School before pursuing her Ph.D. at Howard University. Edghill-Walden came to Chicago in 2007 as associate director of research and evaluation at Richard J. Daley College, one of the City Colleges of Chicago.

Born in Barbados, and raised in Brooklyn, New York and East Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania, Edghill-Walden holds a bachelor's degree from Bucknell University in sociology, a master's degree from the University of Delaware in higher education administration, and a Ph.D. in sociology with a specialization in race, class and gender, social inequalities and urban sociology from Howard University. Edghill-Walden's area of research is race and gender equity and Black women's career mobility, specifically in higher education.

Omar Ghrayeb
Senior Vice Provost, Academic Affairs


Omar Ghrayeb joined Northern Illinois University in 2001 as an assistant professor in the Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering. As a previous acting dean, associate dean and chair, Ghrayeb has experience in different areas including, but not limited to, curricular innovation, ABET accreditation, fundraising, enrollment management, diversity, student leadership programs, engagement, shared governance, global partnerships, strategic planning, industrial partnerships and external programing.

As senior vice provost he assists the Executive Vice President and Provost in achieving the academic mission of the university. Ghrayeb coordinates activities pertaining to undergraduate curriculum as well as to undergraduate academic standards and admissions policies. His office oversees undergraduate academic support units and the preparation and editing of the undergraduate catalog. The senior vice provost also coordinates for NIU, certain state and institutional initiatives related to undergraduate education, currently including the Illinois Articulation Initiative (IAI), the selection committee for Presidential Teaching Professors and the Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching Awards.

Chad McEvoy
Chief of Staff to the Executive Vice President and Provost and Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs

William A. Pitney

Chad McEvoy joined NIU in 2015 as the chair of the Department of Kinesiology and Physical Education, helping the department launch new academic programs, enhance teaching and research levels and significantly increase enrollment. McEvoy earned his bachelor's degree from Iowa State University, master's degree from the University of Massachusetts and doctor of education from the University of Northern Colorado.

Before joining NIU, McEvoy was a professor of sport management and graduate program director in the Department of Sport Management at Syracuse University's David B. Falk College of Sport and Human Dynamics. McEvoy will assist the provost with faculty-related initiatives and concerns, provide guidance on faculty personnel matters and explore opportunities for recognizing faculty excellence and contributions.

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