VPs with Ph.D’s

By: Annie Bierman. Published: March 14, 2011

A moment with Dr. Mary Bornheimer and Dr. Joni Bastian, two women who make an incredible difference at McKendree, but aren’t necessary as visual on campus. Both within the past year have completed their Ph.D’s.

imageDr. Joni Bastian is the VP of Student Affairs who oversees all student life including: Intramurals, Campus Activities, Multicultural Affairs, Health/ Counseling Services, Residence Life, Greek Life, Fitness Center, Career Services, Band, Cheer, Dance, Retention, and Study Abroad. All students, whether they realize it or not, have probably utilize one of the services she oversees. Earning her degree in higher education, Bastian was able to use her work in her personal research.  Her recently completed and now published dissertation title is Exploring the Perception of Parental Involvement with College Students: Communication, Development and Adjustment, Satisfaction, and Influence.

She has been at McKendree for 22 years, starting as a Transfers Admission Counselor to the Director of McK at Night to Director of Career Services to Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs to her current position as Vice President for Student Affairs. Bastian grew up on College Road and would ride her bike up the road to watch the Commencement ceremonies in May.

Staying at one institution for a career is rare—especially in higher education. When I asked her what kept her around when the trend is to move around, she said, “I want to make an impact.” Personally, I believe she certainly has. Currently, her big projects include planning for the new residence halls, implementing a computer program which will make the Cleary and the Higher Education Act reporting more efficient, and developing an assessment process for the departments within student affairs.

Some people do not know this, but she actually left for a brief time, but then came immediately back because felt McKendree was where she wanted to be. She loves how McKendree’s family environment pulls together and though there may be some disagreements at times, they are always there for each other.

Advice she would give to students include, “Make the most of your college experience” and with that “take advantage [of the opportunities you have here].”

imageDr. Mary Bornheimer is the Vice President for Research, Planning, and Technology. Now what does she do exactly? She does research, collect data, run analyses and queries, and then compiles reports. The final copy of her results then fuels decision-making based on the trends.  Such research includes tracking how many students are in a particular major, how many credit hours the average undergraduate student takes, and the demographics of the students enrolled at McKendree. She not only works with data from the Lebanon campus, but she also collects data from the Kentucky campuses, Scott Air Force Base campus, and all the external programs reaching as far as Mt. Vernon and Mt. Carmel, IL.

Her interest sparked with computers when her father bought her the newly released TRS 80 when she was young. Ever since then, she has loved computers and technology. She also likes the concrete facts and statistics her position offers. Her professional career shows her ability to excel in many different areas. She started as a computer programmer to then become a faculty member teaching computer science to Dean of Institutional Research to Dean of Students all at Rend Lake College before she came to work as Vice President of Research, Planning, and Technology at McKendree. Her dissertation, however, combines all of her previous careers and even mirrors her current work in research and trend-watching.  It deals with higher education on the community college level, the title reading, The Influence of Leadership Development Programs on the Community College Leadership Shortage: A Case Study.

Currently at McKendree, she is working on the Fact Book for the 2010-2011 academic school year, and is also closely collaborating with the School of Education on their upcoming accreditation visit.

From the moment she stepped into the parking lot with Mary Marchal, from the Office of the President, she knew it was the right fit. Bornheimer has now been at McK for three years, and when I asked her what kept her here, she said, “I can’t imagine anything else.” She said McKendree is unique to other universities because of its devotion to its heritage. She noted, “We do many modern things, but we still remember where we came from.”

One piece of advice she would offer students is to “pursue your education now. You’ll never regret it, and no one can take it from you.”

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