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UNG announces new vice president of Student Affairs

James Conneely
Dr. James F. Conneely has been named the new vice president of Student Affairs, and will join the university July 16.

University of North Georgia (UNG) President Bonita Jacobs announced that Dr. James F. Conneely has been named the new vice president of Student Affairs, and will join the university July 16.

Conneely brings more than 35 years of higher education administration experience in public and private institutions to the position, including serving as the senior student affairs professional at Eastern Kentucky University from 2003 through 2012.

"Dr. Conneely has demonstrated a passion for and commitment to higher education as a means to change students' lives," Jacobs said. "I am confident that he will bring this energy to UNG and provide strong leadership to our Division of Student Affairs, including enrollment management."

A former resident of Georgia, Conneely said he welcomes the chance to return to the state to help position UNG for growth and continued success, while empowering the education and development of the "whole" student.

"I am truly excited about the opportunity to join the team and community at UNG. I look forward to helping the institution to realize its goals and to support Dr. Jacobs' vision," Conneely said. "I am impressed with the quality of talent in the Division of Student Affairs and look forward to working with them to ensure that all of our students on all campuses feel challenged, supported, and valued from time of recruitment through graduation, and beyond."

Conneely's professional experience includes serving as president of the University of Maine at Augusta, a public regional comprehensive university with multiple campuses, from November 2015 to June 2017, and as president of Notre Dame of Maryland University, a private Roman Catholic university, from July 2012 to August 2013.  He currently serves as the Superintendent of Schools for the Diocese of Lexington, Kentucky.  His previous student affairs experience includes a variety of positions with the University of Arkansas, Emory University, Villanova University, and the University of Northern Iowa.

During his career, Conneely has been responsible for the entire spectrum of the student experience, from admissions and financial aid to residence life and career services. He also has authored numerous articles and presentations on various issues in student affairs and, as a professor, has taught college courses on higher education management and governance.

In addition to increasing retention and credit hours through enrollment management initiatives, his accomplishments have included establishing and supporting new programs and offices such as a Veteran's Center, Office for Multicultural Student Affairs, and Office for Community Service and Community Engagement. Conneely also increased enrollment of veterans as well as Latino and Asian students, and at multiple institutions started a predictive modeling study to diversify and strategically recruit pools of students likely to succeed at the schools.

"Most important, I believe it is a privilege to serve students who have put their trust in me as a leader in higher education," Conneely said. "My goal is to be a leader who promotes solid values and ethics, possesses current knowledge of educational trends and issues, incorporates efficient, effective and innovative organizational strategies, and is committed to promoting shared governance in moving the University of North Georgia forward."

Conneely earned his bachelor's degree in psychology from Saint Bonaventure University, a Master of Science in Education from Alfred University, and his Ph.D. in Higher Education Administration from Georgia State University. As a licensed pilot, Conneely serves as a captain in the Kentucky Civil Air Patrol and has served on a number of community boards.

Conneely replaces Dr. Gary Biller, who has served as the interim vice president for Student Affairs since summer 2017.

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