Three current employees sign up for new positions on campus, while a 1993 alum works to fill some mighty big shoes.
Gina Bianchi ’93: Senior Director of Alumni & Donor Engagement
Gina Bianchi joined the Alumni and Development staff as the senior director of alumni and donor engagement in August after having been away from Millikin for 20 years. As a student, she was involved with the University Center board, a member of the softball team, an employee of the fitness center and a resident assistant. After graduating with a degree in communications, she worked at Illinois Wesleyan University for three years as a hall director, assistant softball coach and a conference coordinator.
From 1996-2013, Bianchi worked at Illinois State University, most recently serving six years as director of alumni relations. Her other roles at ISU included assistant director of the athletics study center, athletic development coordinator, director of the annual fund and director of development for the division of student affairs.
Although filling the shoes of her predecessor, Jan Devore, is a large task, she feels she is up to the challenge. Bianchi is most excited about returning home to serve the university she loves. Although she knows her classmates from 1993, she is eager to meet other alumni and play the "do you know?" game. Bianchi believes if a conversation lasts long enough, you can always find a Millikin connection.
Gail Crookshank: Director of PACE (Professional Adult Comprehensive Education)
Gail Crookshank was named director of the PACE program in June. She had previously worked as PACE’s marketing and recruitment coordinator, and most recently, as assistant director of marketing for extended programs. As director, her office is responsible for the academic advising of adult students entering the PACE program. This includes helping students select a major, develop a plan of study, register for classes and make academic progress through the program. In addition, the office coordinates student activities for PACE students and works with many offices around campus to provide student support services.
Looking ahead, Gail and her team hope to help identify new markets for PACE, which could include additional majors and/or specific series of courses that could be packaged in educational units to provide additional value to adults in the workplace. They also hope to explore alternative delivery methods for PACE courses. Gail believes there are several opportunities to partner with other academic departments at Millikin to create new opportunities for adults in Decatur and surrounding communities.
Paul Lidy ’04: Director of Residence Life
Paul Lidy joined the Office of Residence Life as director in June, returning to his roots after working for five years in the Office of Student Programs (now Inclusion and Student Engagement). As an undergraduate student, Lidy was very involved in the Residence Hall Association (now Student Housing Council) and in the Office of Residence Life. After graduating from Millikin, Lidy earned a master’s degree in college student personnel from Western Illinois University in 2006 before returning to MU in 2008.
Lidy works to continue building strong residential communities on Millikin's campus. His personal goal: for all Office of Residence Life staff members to know each residential student by the end of the academic year. Lidy’s future goal for his staff is to focus even more on each student's experiences inside and outside the halls in order to build a greater sense of community. He believes much of this work will be done through our active Living Learning Communities.
Jason Wickline ’94: University Registrar
Jason Wickline was named university registrar in August, replacing the retiring Walt Wessel ’69. A 1994 Millikin graduate with a bachelor’s degree in management information systems, Wickline spent the last 19 years working in the information technology field. He began his Millikin employment in 2003, when he joined MU’s Information Technology (IT) department and worked with technology to enhance student and alumni access to academic records. While in that department, he served in several roles, ultimately serving as senior systems analyst/team leader.
As the new university registrar, he notes that alumni and students can continue to count on the Registrar’s Office to provide quality service to the entire Millikin community, to send academic records (transcripts) as needed, to provide guidance about transferable courses for students returning to complete a degree or seeking a new degree, and to provide verification of degrees for alumni.Wickline is eager to work individually with faculty and students in his new role. He believes technology can only go so far in explaining the university’s requirements for graduation. He plans to continue the Millikin tradition of offering personal, face-to-face assistance to explain how specific courses can fulfill degree requirements.