Danita M. Brown Young, Ph.D.

Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
NASPA Board Chair-Elect

View Resume

Candidate Video Statement 


Candidate Statement

Thank you for the nomination for the NASPA Board Chair position. I humbly accept the nomination with great enthusiasm. 

NASPA was founded in the IV-East region as was my love and passion for student affairs and higher education. My professional career began at Loyola University Chicago as a graduate assistant in the Leadership Development area. Loyola is where I learned the Jesuit principle—“Care for the individual person.” I have had the privilege of demonstrating “care for the individual person” at large, midsize, and small public and private institutions in rural and urban environments. 

My professional experiences have prepared me for such a time as this—a time of challenge, change, and opportunity  As a visionary leader, I have spent my time fostering transformative experiences that challenge students and staff to make meaningful contributions to a global society through character, competence, and integrity.


A great writer once said, “Help people become what they are capable of becoming. By believing the best about people, you are able to bring out the best in them.” In fact, I have adopted this as my mission statement and in my heart, that statement holds a great deal of truth and value and has influenced my behavior and actions.

Core to that statement is the promise of becoming and the importance of belief. It is essential to implement and practice the mantra of “When you get, give. When you learn, teach.” We must give our time, talents, and treasures to affect sustainable change in the world.

The basis of my student affairs philosophy is simple and straightforward: Student learning and engagement, student advocacy and support, and health and well-being lead to student success. As practitioners, administrators, and faculty of higher education it is our responsibility to remain aware and knowledgeable of the macro- and micro-challenges and trends that affect student success. 

For such a time as this...

We are situated at a pivotal point in history where we cannot be silent, superficial, or stagnant. NASPA is uniquely situated to help transform higher education and invest in people. We all know investing money in bricks and mortar is important, but if we are not investing in people, then why are we here? 

It is time for us to step into our role as change agents because the world, higher education, and student affairs has been forever changed—they need us.

It would be an honor to serve and lead our members. When I think about the notion of leadership, I cannot—and I do not—separate it from the importance of service. Because service, above all, is where real change occurs. Education and servanthood, serving and helping others succeed, are core to NASPA’s and to my existence.

I have had the privilege to serve NASPA in a variety of roles. Within these roles, I have worked beside innovative colleagues who are committed to integrity, innovation, inclusion, and inquiry. As such, as NASPA Board Chair, I would continue promoting our mission and expanding our knowledge of student affairs and higher education.

My goal will be to use a C.A.R.E.S. framework to deliver the NASPA mission.  These letters stand for Communication and Collaboration, Accessibility and Accountability, Relationships and Research, Education, Excellence and Eminence; Student-centered and Staff.

Using this framework, I would ensure we are effectively communicating to our members and partners. I also believe it is paramount that we form collaborative partnerships because one person, one region, or one organization cannot carry the load on their own. Moreover, we must ensure our programs and services are accessible to everyone and we must be engaged in research to help inform our work. We must also hold ourselves and students accountable for our actions and behavior.

As NASPA Board Chair, I would focus on building and cultivating lasting relationships within and outside of NASPA. Together, we would rally around a common purpose to enhance not only student growth and development, but also that of our members.

I, like you, am an educator. We believe in excellence and eminence. We are student-centered. We “Help people become what they are capable of becoming.” Together, there is nothing we cannot accomplish.