In May 2014, USU Eastern welcomed Evette Allen, PhD., to the campus. For three years she served the school, the students, and the community. Allen has a doctorate in higher education, with an emphasis on diversity. Out of over 720 applicants, she was selected to be on the 2016 list of 30 Women to Watch for her promising future. This year she will be leaving Price to pursue other opportunities.
Allen was initially drawn to USU Eastern because of its small campus. “There was a real family feel to it,” she said. Having a chance to combine student affairs with diversity sealed the deal for Allen.
She was tasked with running several groups, one being diversity on campus. She realized there wasn’t much of a foundation to build on, so she created the Center for Diversity and Inclusion. Eventually she wants to see the CDI become an independent group, instead of a part of student government. She hopes soon the center will have its own staff member to oversee it with its own programs.
Allen hopes the CDI will not be ignored after she leaves. However, she is confident that there are people who believe in diversity and inclusion and will keep the center going. She expressed an appreciation for Alexandria Anderson, the student leader running the CDI as part of her position as Executive VP on student government. “Alex is so passionate about diversity and growing the Center for Diversity and Inclusion, so I hope the others who follow her are just as passionate and can realize it to its full potential.”
Besides introducing a diversity program to USU Eastern, Allen worked closely with student government. She focused on long-term measures, introducing task sheets and reports so there is documentation of what is done by student leaders for those coming after them.
Under Allen, there have been years with more programs for students, and years with bigger programs for students. One of the ideas brought to campus is the Late Night Breakfast, which brings 200+ students to campus to enjoy breakfast and a break from studying as faculty, and staff wish them well on final exams.
USU Eastern’s student government registered with NACA again under Allen, which opens up more resources to the school for discounted performers and other events.
Allen developed leadership courses for students, especially with a focus on diversity. She has put effort into creating sustainability in her areas of work. She created records, a system of consistent reporting, and even written manuals for her successors to smoothly transition after her.
Executive VP, Alex Anderson said of working with Allen, “I couldn’t have had a better mentor in college. She is so qualified, but takes time to understand students. She has never undermined us because we are young or students, and she values higher education.”
She will be returning to her home state of Arkansas to serve as the director for Arkansas State University’s Multicultural Center. She enjoyed her time at Eastern to work in her interests, but is excited to focus in on diversity. She’s happy to return to her home state where she can continue her research.
Despite those who are rooting for her to climb to the top, Allen says she doesn’t think she ever wants to be a university president. She feels the higher up in administration one goes, the less they work with students, something she enjoys doing. Her goal is to one day become the vice president of student affairs.
Allen’s words of advice for her successor. “If you’re not from the school already, get to know the culture. You have to learn to balance your relationship with students. Help them with administrative tasks and navigating their duties, but allow them the creative space they need to succeed. Give them learning opportunities, and most importantly, listen to the students.”
Student Advocate and Student Body President-Elect Dean Thacker said, “Evette has been the perfect person to work under. She understands we are leaders and has given us space to be creative but pushes us to be on top of things. She’s made a difference to us in leadership because she genuinely trusts us.”