About the Interim Executive Vice President and Provost

Laurie Elish-Piper

Laurie Elish-Piper considers NIU a place of possibilities and opportunities for students who might otherwise lack paths to higher education.

Since her arrival in 1995, Elish-Piper has actively engaged in the university's work to support and advance social mobility through providing learning experiences that are accessible, affordable and transformational.

As dean of the College of Education from 2016 to 2023, she launched the college's Partnering to Lead and Empower District-Grown Educators program to address the teacher shortage while meeting future teachers and school leaders where they are. Her team also signed two dozen 2+2 agreements giving students at community colleges seamless transfer pathways to NIU College of Education bachelor's degrees. She also became a powerful voice in Springfield, advocating for or against legislation or proposed policy changes that impact educator preparation.

The Distinguished Engagement Professor and Distinguished Teaching Professor in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction previously served as director of NIU's Jerry L. Johns Literacy Clinic and co-director of the Center for the Interdisciplinary Study of Language and Literacy.

Professional roles off campus include serving as president of the Association of Literacy Educators and Researchers, chair of the Illinois Association of Deans of Public Colleges of Education and as a member of the board of directors of the International Literacy Association and the Alignment Collaborative for Education governing board.

Elish-Piper holds a Ph.D. from the University of Akron, a M.S.Ed. from Purdue University and a B.S.Ed. from Saint Joseph's College.

Her research examines literacy leadership, literacy coaching, teacher professional development, literacy assessment, family engagement and struggling readers. In 2021, she received the A.B. Herr Award for outstanding contributions to the field of reading.


The executive vice president and provost (EVPP) is the second highest university official and responsible for a wide array of responsibilities. The provost functions as the chief academic officer and leads the Division of Academic Affairs, which includes all of the academic colleges, the university libraries, the graduate school, international affairs, academic support services, undergraduate affairs, faculty affairs and resource planning.

The executive vice president oversees Human Resource Services, Institutional Effectiveness and Student Affairs, and shares with the president, a reporting line for Academic Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. The executive vice president and provost works in partnership with the president and vice president of Administration and Finance on all matters related to university budgets and decision-making. In addition to the University Council Committees below, the executive vice president and provost serves as a member of the Executive Budget Committee, the President's Senior Leadership Roundtable, Operations Cabinet and as the facilitator of the Academic Cabinet.

Committee Participation