The professionals who work with the McKearn Fellows Program have extensive experience in higher education and are dedicated to providing exceptional academic and experiential learning opportunities to students selected as McKearn fellows.
Beth Ingram, Ph.D., is provost. Before arriving at NIU, she 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 percent to 37 percent over four years.
Omar Ghrayeb, Ph.D., is vice provost for undergraduate studies. He joined NIU in 2001 as a professor in the Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering (ISYE). He rose to chair and then associate dean, helping the department nearly double its enrollment. Ghrayeb previously served as interim dean of the NIU College of Engineering and Engineering Technology. As department chair from 2006 to 2012, his curriculum updates and partnerships with major corporations such as Caterpillar, Motorola and UPS provided many hands-on learning, internship and research opportunities for students and faculty members. He was selected twice for the Outstanding Faculty Award (ISYE and NIU) and received the NIU Students' Choice Award in 2006.
As director of the University Honors Program, Andrea Radasanu, Ph.D., works closely with honors staff and students to facilitate a unique college experience that provides both the sense of a tight-knit community and the benefits afforded by a research university. She has devoted much of her time as a political science professor to developing enriched academic and co-curricular programs for undergraduates. She is very excited to lead the Honors program in encouraging academic excellence and enhanced experiential educational experiences, while fostering a close-knit and inclusive community of Huskies that will last well beyond graduation. She studies the history of political philosophy and teaches courses that focus on liberalism, democratic theory, ancient and modern political thought. Currently, she is working on 18th century ideas about war and peace. She also runs the NIU Tocqueville Forum that funds undergraduate research among other activities and serves as the editor-in-chief of the online undergraduate journal Compass: An Undergraduate Journal of American Political Ideas.