Summer Institute

Institute Presenters

This year we are excited to have James Rhatigan, former VP of Student Affairs and Senior VP - Wichita State University and our very own, Mishelle Oaks, Director of Residence Life - Western Illinois University
Dr. James J. Rhatigan

Dr. Rhatigan graduated from Coe College in 1957 and a received a Master’s degree from   Syracuse University in 1957, both degrees in American History. He was awarded the Ph.D. in student personnel administration from the University of Iowa in 1965.  During his years at Iowa he worked as an Assistant Dean of Men.

In 1965 he was appointed Dean of Students at Wichita State University.  He was 30 and the youngest dean in the nation in institutions with 10,000 students.  Five years later he was still the youngest.  In 1970, he was named Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students. He earned the rank of Professor in 1985. The student center at Wichita State, the largest building on the campus, was named the Rhatigan Student Center in 1996.

In 1975 he was elected president of NASPA and in 1987 was named the outstanding student     affairs administrator in the United States (the Scott Goodnight Award). He was the NASPA Historian for 30 years, and was active in the creation of the NASPA Regions. He wrote the original paper on the role of the Regional Vice President.

Dr. Rhatigan is the editor or author of three books and has written chapters in several others.  He has authored dozens of articles in refereed journals and at the time of his retirement was the most frequently published author in the NASPA Journal.

After serving six years as Senior Vice President, he began work on a half-time basis for the WSU Foundation.

   Dr. Mishelle Oaks

Dr. Mishelle Oaks currently serves as the Director of Residence Life with University Housing and Dining Services at Western Illinois


University. In this role she oversees the main functions of the residence halls on campus, including staff supervision, programming, and crisis management. Dr. Oaks has previous experience at Monmouth College, in Monmouth, Illinois, where she served as the Director of Academic Support Programs. In addition, she spent five years at the University of Central Missouri where she was an Assistant Director of Residence Life and adjunct faculty to the College Student Personnel Program.

Dr. Oaks earned her bachelor’s degree at Western Illinois University, in Psychology and her Master’s degree in Educational Administration from Missouri State University. Her doctorate was earned from University of Missouri-Columbia, where her dissertation focus was on mentoring in Student Affairs.

Mishelle has additional experiences from Minnesota State University, Mankato and Kansas State University. She has served as a regional student leadership advisor, and also has a passion for student advising with on campus groups and Greek Life. She also has additional experience focusing on professional development in the Upper Midwest Region of the Association of College and University Housing Officers (UMR ACUHO), including serving as a committee chairperson and an executive board member. In her spare time, Mishelle has previously been associated with Relay for Life and Big Brothers/Big Sisters. She currently assists with the Warren County (Illinois) Prime Beef Festival Princess Pageant.

She resides in Monmouth, Illinois with her husband, Josh, who is also an alumni of Western Illinois University.