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Associate Vice President and Dean of Students Todd Adams named vice chancellor for Student Affairs at the University of Denver

After seven years at Northwestern, Adams is moving on to a new role at DU, starting Sept. 7

Todd Adams, associate vice president and dean of students at Northwestern, will be leaving the University to take on a new position in September as vice chancellor for Student Affairs at the University of Denver.

Todd Adams
Todd Adams

Northwestern Vice President for Student Affairs Julie Payne-Kirchmeier announced that news today (July 20) and said that a search is underway for a successor to Adams. Mona Dugo, current senior associate dean of students, will serve as interim dean of students. 

“Todd has brought outstanding leadership, imagination, empathy and compassion, and a strong emphasis on diversity and inclusion to his many student-facing roles at Northwestern,” Payne-Kirchmeier said in announcing the move.

“We will miss him dearly, but our entire division is excited for him and this opportunity at a wonderful institution,” she said. “He has made a lasting impact at Northwestern, and we hope he will carry with him the knowledge that he is forever a member of our family.” 

“I have been honored and humbled to serve Northwestern in such a unique position to get to know, work with and learn from such amazing students over the years,” Adams said. “I have greatly enjoyed partnering with exceptional colleagues in Student Affairs whose dedication and commitment are an inspiration for me. That is a gift I cherish and will take with me.

“I will always be a Wildcat, even as I look forward to embracing this terrific opportunity and new challenge ahead at DU,” he added. 

Adams joined Northwestern in 2013 after an already distinguished career at Duke University. As Northwestern’s dean of students, he has overseen multiple areas that are significant to student experience and success, providing resources, services and support through AccessibleNU, the First Year Experience, New Student & Family Programs, Northwestern Career Advancement and Off Campus Life.

He also worked to expand Student Assistance & Support Services (SASS), a vital resource for our students, and evolved the student conduct area to one that holds inclusion and equity as fundamental values of their work. He also led much of the crisis response and emergency preparedness work across the Division of Student Affairs.

Adams has collaborated frequently with academic, auxiliary and other institutional and community partners to serve students, and he has served on the University’s Behavioral Consultation Team and as a member of the Undergraduate Council in the Provost’s Office.

He provided leadership in the crafting and implementation of a University-wide sexual misconduct policy and assisted in the launch of Northwestern’s Office of Equity, now used as a model for many campuses. He transitioned student disability services to AccessibleNU, with staff dedicated to assistive technology and promoting concepts of universal design for learning. Adams also helped Northwestern focus keenly on student wellness and increasing funding to support undergraduate, graduate and professional students who experience health-related and other emergency needs.

He has taught in the Master of Science in Higher Education program at the School of Education and Social Policy and participated in Leadership Evanston, learning and working with community leaders from business, non-profit and city government.

Prior to arriving at Northwestern in February 2013, Adams held many positions in Student Affairs at Duke University, where he also taught in the Program in Education and was honored with the Excellence in Advising award by Trinity College of Arts and Sciences. Adams earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Nebraska at Lincoln, and he holds a doctorate from the Peabody School at Vanderbilt University.

Adams brings to Denver a love of sports and the outdoors and looks forward to being closer to his family who reside in Colorado and Nebraska.