Leadership Team

Chris McCord

Chris McCord
Acting Provost

Chris McCord was previously Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at Northern Illinois University, holding the Ray and Pat Smerge Endowed Dean’s Chair. In his ten years as dean, McCord has led the creation of the university’s first interdisciplinary degree programs, integrated student engagement and community engagement into the college’s mission, formed three interdisciplinary centers and grown international engagement.

He has also played a leading role in the university’s strategic planning efforts, particularly the recent Program Prioritization effort, where he served on the Administrative Task Force and subsequently guided the implementation of the resulting action plans across the university. Other University-level leadership has included leading the revision of the curricular approval process, creating new mechanisms for joint appointment faculty, collaborating with the Office of Student Engagement and Experiential Learning to create the Student Engagement Fund, serving as a member of the IT Steering Committee and serving on the board of the university’s Research Foundation. He has led NIU’s ADVANCE IT-Catalyst grant, studying the status of women in science and engineering at NIU. 

McCord earned Bachelor’s degrees in mathematics and physics from Bowling Green State University and a Ph.D. in mathematics from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. His work as a mathematician explored the interplay between geometry and differential equations, with a particular focus on the impact of geometry on the “N-Body Problem” – the movement of particles under their mutual attraction as described by classical Newtonian mechanics. 

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.

Carolinda Douglass

Carolinda Douglass
Vice Provost for Academic Planning and Development

Carolinda Douglass has been a member of the Northern Illinois University (NIU) for 20 years. Building on a successful career as a faculty member teaching and conducting research in the area of public health, Douglass has served as an administrator at NIU for the past thirteen years. Since 2012, Douglass has held the position of vice provost for academic planning and development, reporting directly to the executive vice president and provost. In this role, she is responsible for new program planning and development and program review; and has oversight for academic assessment and accreditation, at both the institutional and disciplinary levels, and internal academic analysis and reporting. She facilitated NIU’s Program Prioritization Process from December 2104 through the release of the Program Prioritization Task Force Reports in May 2016. Douglass is currently facilitating the planning for the Program Prioritization recommendations for Institutional Effectiveness.

Prior to her current role, Douglass served as the associate vice provost for academic outcomes assessment in the Office of Assessment Services.  In that capacity, she led a team in the transformation of the culture of assessment of teaching and learning across campus.  This resulted in several new initiatives for assessment including a Campus Assessment Network, a Student Advisory Council on Learning Outcomes, and an Annual Assessment Expo, among others. Under her leadership, NIU has been noted by our regional accreditor, the Higher Learning Commission (HLC), as having excellent assessment practices. Douglass led a 100+ NIU team through a successful self-study and site team visit for NIU’s reaccreditation with the HLC in 2013-2014 and she has served as a peer reviewer for the HLC since 2012.

Douglass earned a Ph.D. in Policy Analysis from the RAND Graduate School and Masters degrees in Public Administration and Gerontology from the University of Southern California. She holds the rank of Professor in the School of Health Studies in the College of Health and Human Sciences where she has taught for the past 20 years. Her areas of research include educational and health care policy issues, assessment of student learning, program planning and evaluation and institutional effectiveness.

Vernese Edghill-Walden

Vernese Edghill-Walden
Chief Diversity Officer and
Senior Associate Vice President for Academic Diversity

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 3 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.

Murali Krishnamurthi

Murali Krishnamurthi
Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs

Murali Krishnamurthi joined Northern Illinois University in 1991 as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering, and is currently, a Distinguished Teaching Professor in the department, and is the Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs in the Office of the Provost. He holds a bachelor’s degree from University of Madras in mechanical engineering, a master’s degree from Ohio University in industrial and systems engineering, and a Ph.D. from Texas A&M University in industrial engineering. His teaching and research interests are in optimization techniques, project management, information systems, faculty development and engineering education.

He assists the Provost with faculty-related initiatives including, but not limited to, fostering faculty engagement, facilitating the faculty tenure, promotion and sabbatical processes, establishing faculty development opportunities intended to enhance the faculty lifecycle, assisting with faculty-related concerns and needs, providing guidance on faculty personnel matters, supervising reporting units, collaborating with campus units and serving on committees to address faculty needs, policies and support services, and exploring opportunities for recognizing faculty excellence and contributions.

Susan Mini

Susan Mini
Vice Provost for Resource Planning

Susan Mini is a full professor of physics and joined the university as a junior faculty member more than twenty years ago.  Her field is condensed matter physics, specifically X-ray synchrotron science and she was an NSF International Post-Doctoral Fellow, has held a joint position with Argonne National Laboratory and was a member of University of Chicago’s Consortium for Advance Radiation Studies.  At NIU, Mini has held the positions of chair of the physics department and associate dean of research and graduate studies for the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences before joining the Provost Office in 2010 as the Vice Provost for Resource Planning. 

As Vice Provost for Resource Planning, Mini is in charge of budget, facilities and non-teaching personnel for the Division of Academic Affairs.  She is also the budget and finance liaison to other divisions within the university. 



Omar Ghrayeb
Vice Provost for Undergraduate Studies

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, 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 Vice Provost for undergraduate studies, he assists the Executive Vice President and Provost in achieving the academic mission of the university. The Office of Undergraduate studies coordinates activities pertaining to the undergraduate curriculum as well as to undergraduate academic standards and admissions policies. The Office of Undergraduate Academic Affairs oversees undergraduate academic support units and the preparation and editing of the undergraduate catalog. The 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.