The Patton College of Education is honored to recognize Dr. Danita M. Brown Young, Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, as our August Alum of the Month.
Brown Young has more than 20 years of experience in higher education. In her journey from counseling and advising to heading administrations for large universities, helping students has always been her True North.
“I am blessed to work at a Big Ten, land-grant, research institution that is committed to student success and public engagement, which allows me to work with many diverse, bright, intelligent and talented students who are engaged on campus and in the community,” said Brown Young.
At the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Brown Young leads the Student Affairs department. Just a few of her responsibilities are responding to student needs and concerns, facilitating involvement in campus life, and assisting with student recruitment and retention.
Before her role at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, she served as the Dean of Students and Vice Provost for Student Affairs at University of Minnesota - Twin Cities. She also worked as both the Dean and Associate Dean of Students at Purdue University.
Brown Young earned her Ph.D. in Higher Education from Ohio University’s Patton College of Education in 2007. While working on her doctorate, she served as the Associate Director for the Department of Campus Life and advised eight campus organizations, including Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. and Co-ed National Honor Fraternity Phi Sigma Pi, both of which she is a member.
She also advised Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. and programs like Student Leadership Advisors, the Student Activities Commission, Unified Sisters, and LeaderShape®.
“Advising student organizations taught me patience and has sharpened my values of scholarship, service, and community,” said Brown Young. “It has also taught me that failure is a part of the learning and growth process for everyone involved and that we need to hold people accountable for their behavior and actions.”
Brown Young holds a B.A. in sociology from Kent State University and an M.A. in community counseling from Loyola University Chicago.
After a graduate assistantship in the Office of the Dean of Students at Loyola University Chicago, Brown Young knew she wanted to pursue a career in higher education.
“[Loyola] is where my love and passion for Student Affairs and Higher Education began. However, it was at Ohio University where I grew as a practitioner and scholar,” said Brown Young. “My love for students and their development grew even more because I had the opportunity to learn, create, and implement programs and services that helped transform lives and understand student development as a holistic experience.”
Brown Young’s time at Ohio University still resonates with her today. She said the programs she was involved in, namely in Higher Education and Student Affairs/College Student Personnel, were “ahead of their time.”
“I have often tried to duplicate the community and camaraderie we had with students, colleagues, and alumni, but it will never be replicated,” said Brown Young. “I find myself often saying, ‘We were doing this program 15 years ago at Ohio University and the rest of the world is just now catching up.’”
In 2017, Brown Young won the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators’ (NASPA) Marlene Kowalski-Braun Award for Service to Women in Student Affairs.
Brown Young is also a member of NASPA, ACPA-College Student Educators International (ACPA), the Association of Fraternity Advisors (AFA), the Association of Public & Land-Grant Universities (APLU), and the Mortar Board National College Honor Society.