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AU names new vice president for student development

Jim FereiraA nationally known leader among student development programs will become the new vice president for student development at Anderson University.

Jim Fereira, a 28-year student life veteran now serving at a 6,300-student university in Minnesota, will start work at AU in March. He will fill the position left vacant this semester by AU Vice Provost for Academic Advising Bob Hanley, who oversaw student development at the university for 18 years.

AU school officials say Fereira’s professional values and experiences make him a perfect fit for Anderson University. Fereira, 53, believes that effective student development programs work in tandem with academic programs by helping students prepare emotionally and spiritually for their careers.

“He embodies the values and commitments of Anderson University and is an excellent fit for our institution,” said AU President Evans Whitaker.

During Fereira’s 13-year tenure as dean of students at Bethel University in St. Paul, Minnesota, he helped create an exceptional student development program, which earned him the reputation as one of the top student development professionals in the country, Whitaker said.

“We fully expect him to create nothing less than a model student development program to fit Anderson University's emerging reputation as one of the leading Christian universities in the nation,” Whitaker said.

Fereira is joining AU because he believes in its mission of offering students an outstanding academic education in a Christian environment. As the new VP for student development, he plans to foster relationships between university departments that help students, create a student development program that’s custom-fit for Anderson University, and forge a strong staff that explores and shares new ideas.

Since 1999 Fereira's leadership has contributed to the success of Bethel's student development programs, which serves about 3,000 traditional undergraduates. He has overseen the school’s counseling center, health services, disability services, residence life, leadership development, and intercultural and international student services. Fereira also transformed the university’s student government from a club into an organization that Bethel students take pride in during regional and national student government conferences.

In addition to serving at Bethel, Fereira worked for nearly a decade as dean of students at North Central University in Minneapolis, Minnesota, overseeing athletics, campus ministries and outreach, counseling, health services, residence life, multicultural diversity, and new student and student leadership programs. During his tenure at North Central University, he also served on the president’s cabinet for two years.

Anderson University and Fereira are a perfect match: AU’s residential population has grown 57 percent in the last decade, and Fereira has a proven record of serving a climbing, residential student population.

A record 550 freshmen pushed AU’s enrollment to more than 2,900 this semester, and 1,288 of AU students are residential, which is 468 more than lived on campus nine years ago. AU has built four residence halls in five years, and the university is raising funds for a new student life center.

In his career, Fereira has been adept at serving a growing student body in collaborating in the design and opening of two new residence halls and a 110,000-square-foot student life center, which included a new dining hall. Under his leadership at Bethel, the university added 550 beds to its housing capacity.

Fereira, a native of central Illinois, began his career as a resident director at Evangel University in Missouri, where he oversaw a 216-student resident hall for seven years. He and his wife Linda have two teenage daughters and a nine-year-old son.

Fereira is scheduled to graduate next year with a PhD in organizational leadership and policy development from the University of Minnesota.

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