The Student News Site of Buena Vista University

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The Student News Site of Buena Vista University

The Tack Online

The Student News Site of Buena Vista University

The Tack Online

Dr. Heather Black Leaves BV Mid-September; Dr. Jamii Claiborne New VP of Student Success

Dr. Heather Black (left); Dr. Jamii Claiborne (right)

Since 2021, Dr. Heather Black has been the Vice President of Student Success at BVU, but she will leave BVU on September 15, 2023. At the same time, Dr. Jamii Claiborne, Professor of Digital Media and Associate Dean of Academic Success, will take over the role of VP of Student Success. “I’m thankful for the good things Dr. Black did for BVU students while she was here, and I’m excited Dr. Claiborne is stepping into the role,” said Dr. Brian Lenzmeier, President of BVU. “She is a student-centered professional who knows BVU well already, having served BVU students exceptionally well in a variety of roles over the past 22 years.” 

Why the Change? 

 “First and foremost, I must stress that I love BVU,” said Dr. Black. “This was a very difficult decision for me because I have truly enjoyed working with students and watching them grow in their leadership roles, and I have truly appreciated my faculty and staff colleagues.” 

Dr. Black originally worked in an urban area before moving to rural Iowa with her husband to be closer to family. She found a job at BVU in Storm Lake,but after a couple of years,it became clear to her and her husband that they were city people. She said, “I found a great opportunity at Lindenwood University in St. Charles, MO that will excite and challenge me professionally, allow me to continue to focus on student development and success, and it is a little closer to family and is in an area that better matches my personal life.” Despite the difficulties, there is a silver lining to this transition: “I have the peace of mind that few in my position get – I am leaving my position and team in capable hands that will continue to center student success and the belief that we can help all students find their path at BVU.” 

In this transitional period, Dr. Claiborne will become the new VP of Student Success. “It is hard to leave, but I am excited to see the continued work of the Student Success team along with their new leader, Dr. Jamii Claiborne,” said Dr. Black. “I have worked closely with Jamii since I arrived at BVU and we have collaborated at every opportunity on projects to support students. She cares deeply about BVU and about understanding [students].”  

Dr. Claiborne said, “During my two decades at the institution, I’ve had the opportunity to serve in a variety of roles and observe the BVU student experience from many angles.” Dr. Claiborne understands BVU well, especially as a BVU alum and working for the university since 2001. She hopes to “bring that holistic viewpoint to this new position and work across boundaries to think critically and creatively about how we create success for all BVU students.” 

What is Student Success? 

Dr. Black described Student Success as “a comprehensive group of offices committed to your outside-the-classroom experience.” It includes Campus Security, Residence Life, Esports, the Center for Diversity & Inclusion, Career & Leadership Development, Student & Community Engagement, and the Wellness Center.“All areas strive to see students through a holistic lens and think about how we can foster student connection and belonging,” said Black. Student success serves a variety of purposes, according to Claiborne. “The university is designed with student success in mind, so it is at the heart of everything we think about and do … [from providing] caring for students’ mental and physical wellness to engaging them in career planning and exploration to ensuring their safety and security to supporting them academically and so much more.” 

Parting Messages 

Dr. Claiborne wants students to know this: “I plan to keep the same open-door approach that has become the norm in the Student Success division, and I invite students to come and talk with me anytime. I am excited to serve the university and the BVU students in this new way.” 

 Dr. Black leaves with pieces of advice for students: 

  1. “Engage and ask for help. Engage and be active in your learning in the classroom and look for opportunities outside the classroom whether that be student employment, student organizations, attending activities, taking on a leadership position like O-Team or as a Resident Assistant, and more.” 
  1. “Ask for help. There are so many people here who want to help and support you to make sure you realize your dreams. We have trouble asking for help and sadly it can be seen as a sign of weakness, but it is not. Strong people and successful people ask for help.” 

We give Dr. Black our best wishes as she enters a new chapter in her life, and look forward to seeing Dr. Claiborne in her new role as VP of Student Success.

Further Reading

“Buena Vista University Announces New Vice President for Student Success” 

Campus Resources 


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About the Contributor
I’m Addison, a freshman English and Spanish double major. I write and photograph for “The Tack.” I’m involved in many clubs/organizations on campus, a self-proclaimed nerd, and an advocate for a better world. 

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