Hometown: Chicago, Illinois
Job: Provost at the University of Southern Indiana
Resume: In his 23 combined years as a professor and university administrator, Dr. Ronald Rochon has taught at Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas, Washington State University in Pullman, Washington, and the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse in La Crosse, Wisconsin. While at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, Rochon served as the director and co-founder for the Research Center for Cultural Diversity and Community Renewal while also holding the position of director of the Master of Education-Professional Development Learning Community Program, interim director of the School of Education, and associate dean of the College of Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Teacher Education. Before making the move to the University of Southern Indiana in 2010, Rochon was the inaugural dean of the School of Education at Buffalo State College in Buffalo, New York.
Family: Wife Lynn Rochon, son Ayinde, 18, and daughter Nia, 16.
This south side Chicago native has seen his fair share of communities since completing his undergraduate degree at Tuskegee University in Tuskegee, Alabama, and his master’s degree and Ph.D. at the University of Illinois in Champaign, Illinois. As the University of Southern Indiana provost, Dr. Ronald Rochon’s career has taken him all over the U.S., but he admits his time at USI has been his most cherished thus far.
What did you hope to accomplish when you accepted the provost position in 2010?
One of the things I wanted to accomplish was learn not only the job and do it well, but also come here and learn about the historical legacy of USI and what its goals already are. USI had just developed its first strategic plan and I wanted to be part of the community that could advance the plan to fruition. When I got here, I felt it was very important to reach out to faculty, staff, and students across campus to find out what was important to them and begin to assist in building upon an already successful model. I feel that in order for organizations to be successful, you have to develop partnerships and work with people.
What do you hope to achieve in the future with USI?
The Higher Learning Commission, an accrediting body, will be visiting our campus next year to review our academic programs, assessment plans, etc., and making sure we are prepared for that is a big goal of mine — one of many. I also want to continue developing academic programs that are responsive and receptive to students. With costs rising and students having to find a way to make ends meet, we need to support these students and make sure they achieve their academic goals.
I want to continually push this institution to receive the academic credibility we deserve.
I also want to continually be engaged in the recruitment process and make sure our student body reflects the state of Indiana and the rest of the country. I believe the more students we can recruit here from different walks of life, locations, and diverse situations will make our institution that much stronger.
How does USI compare to other educational environments you’ve seen?
This has been one of the friendliest places I have ever worked. It has a healthy attitude and a very collaborative spirit. USI is without question one of the most unique places I’ve ever worked in regards to people coming together to find ways to improve every part of the campus. I consider USI to be a healthy environment for teaching, learning, and also intellectual development.
Being an outsider, I can tell you one of my first observations about this community, without question, is that this place is one of the greatest secrets that higher education has to offer. Another one of my many goals is to make sure that we remain special while also making sure this secret goes viral. I want to sing from the mountaintops how great the school is, how great the students are, and how great the faculty is. Any chance I get to talk about USI, I use it.
For more information about the University of Southern Indiana, call 812-464-8600 or visit usi.edu.