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NKU, Gateway Name New Vice Presidents

Northern Kentucky University and Gateway Community and Technical College each named new administrators this week.

Bonita J. Brown was named vice president and chief strategy officer at NKU where she will be tasked with campus-wide oversight and execution of the university's strategic framework.

She begins August 1. 

“I’m very pleased to welcome Bonita to NKU as our inaugural vice president and chief strategy officer. It became clear during the search process that she had the experience and skills to manage complex change initiatives in a collaborative way, engage others in challenging convention and encouraging innovation, with  a strong commitment to and success with achieving diversity, equity, and inclusion goals,” said NKU President Ashish Vaidya. “Our strategic framework must evolve as regional needs change. In this new paradigm, we need a CSO to ensure NKU is constantly innovating, adapting and executing in an iterative process as we stay responsive to the needs of the region and beyond.”

Brown currently serves as the vice president for Network Engagement at Achieving the Dream, a national non- profit leader that champions evidence-based institutional improvement in community colleges across the country. In this role, Brown is responsible for supporting a network of over 220 community colleges in 41 states as they work to implement sustainable, campus wide student success efforts.

“I am thrilled to be joining the NKU family!  In my research of the campus and its plans for the future, I was overjoyed to see the focus on student success. The Success by Design framework resonated with me and my work over the past few years and I look forward to leading the efforts to begin implementation,” said Brown. “The excitement from the faculty, staff and students about the plan and Dr. Vaidya's leadership are the key ingredients to make this a success, and it will ultimately have a significant impact on the Northern Kentucky region. I look forward to joining the team and collaborating with the campus and the community as we work to support students in achieving their goals.” 

Prior to her role at Achieving the Dream, Brown served as the director of Higher Education Practice with the Education Trust in Washington D.C. While at the Education Trust, she created and led an initiative entitled Optimizing Academic Success and Institutional Strategy (OASIS), which was a national network of regional, comprehensive, minority serving institutions that enroll large numbers of low-income students and students of color. As the director of Higher Education Practice, she worked with the institutions in assessing data and implementing national best practices for improving student success and closing completion gaps.

Over the course of her career, Brown served as the vice chancellor and chief of staff, and as assistant secretary to the Board of Trustees at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. She has also served as the chief of staff at the University of North Texas, general counsel at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts and assistant attorney at Winston-Salem State University. She has participated in the HERS Leadership program, the AASCU Millennium Leadership Initiative and is a graduate of the Harvard Institute of Educational Management. Brown received her BA in history from Wake Forest University and her JD from Wake Forest University School of Law.  She is married to Wesley Brown and has two children, Joshua Brown, a student at Morgan State University and Myliah Brown, a student at Bridgewater College in Virginia.

Gateway Community & Technical College announced Adrijana Kowatsch as its new vice president of development and external relations. She will begin June 17.

“We are pleased that Adrijana is joining our team,” said Dr. Fernando Figueroa, Gateway president/CEO. “Her expertise in development, knowledge of this region, and leadership experience will be a great addition to Gateway.”

Kowatsch comes to Gateway after having served at the University of Cincinnati Economics Center as the chief operating officer for six years. Prior to that, Kowatsch worked at the University of Cincinnati Foundation as a development officer from 2008 - 2012. Under her tenure, the fundraising activities reached their first $1 million milestone in one fiscal year.

Her background includes her work as a marketing director, responsible for promoting the education programs, development of marketing materials and coordination of all public relations efforts for an academic unit. Kowatsch also worked as the outreach coordinator at the Center for Holocaust and Humanity Education. She has also taught as an adjunct instructor in the Department of Communication at the University of Cincinnati, where she was recognized as Alumni Champion in 2014.

Kowatsch also served in Public Allies, a division of AmeriCorps focused on community service, advancing leadership and encouraging civic participation. Kowatsch was a member class IV of the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber’s C-Change program and was named Business Courier’s Forty Under 40 award recipient in 2014. She presently serves as a commissioner on the Hamilton County Commission on Woman and Girls (2018-2020 term) and is a member of Northwest High School’s Personal Finance Business Advisory Committee. She was a member of curriculum advisory group at the Ohio Department of Education.

"I am thrilled to be joining Gateway’s leadership team. Gateway’s mission, proven track record and - most importantly - its past and present students are an inspiration to me and others,” said Kowatsch. “My work will be to encourage the local community, industry, education and other leaders to get engaged with Gateway through their time, talent and treasure."

Kowatsch earned her BA and her MA degrees from the University of Cincinnati. She lives with her husband and son in Montgomery, Ohio.

-Staff report

Top photo: Bonita J. Brown (provided)

Bottom photo: Adrijana Kowatsch (provided

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