Provost Michele Gillespie kicks off Student Government Speaker Forum

The new provost spoke about student leadership and the strategic planning sessions coming later this year


Courtesy of Wake Forest

Provost Michelle Gillespie spoke to Student Government Senators on Tuesday, Sept. 27.

Breanna Laws, Staff Writer

Less than three months into her role, Provost Michelle Gillespie spoke to Student Government representatives last Tuesday, Sept. 27, about her vision for Wake Forest moving forward. 

Following Gillespie’s recent succession to the position of provost, she wanted students to understand what her role entails. In making that clear, she addressed some plans she had for the university while in her role.

From Gillespie’s perspective, the role of provost is a broad one, but she believes her time in the position will hone in on two areas. 

“I’m going to be about academic excellence and inclusion,” Gillespie said. “The other word for provost is Chief Academic Officer. [They] are responsible for everything academic. But the other part is really about the things that are important to you.”

There are a variety of programs under the Office of the Provost, Gillespie explains. Some of these include the Leadership and Character Program, the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, CLASS and the Study Abroad Office.

The primary focus for Gillespie moving forward is the reinstatement of the Strategic Framing Process. This program would compile the hopes and vision of students, faculty and alumni in both graduate and undergraduate programs for the future of Wake Forest University.

According to Gillespie, the last time Wake Forest did a strategic framing process was in 2007. Now, it is being done again, with three sessions being offered to the Wake Forest community throughout the fall semester. These sessions will allow students, faculty and alumni to voice their opinions and pose questions to the administration.

“Put your voice into the hopper…it’s really important to share your ideas and visions,” Gillespie told Student Government.

Gillespie believes this process will allow the Wake Forest community to feel more connected and heard in policy-making. It is her hope that the process will be completed by the end of this year.

“So how do we have one Wake Forest? We have many voices organized around the things that are most meaningful to us,” she said.

She closed with a final note on inclusivity on campus — having immense optimism for positive change moving forward. 

“We recognize our own limitations, we create more community and we make better choices. I see that happening more and more and more,” Gillespie said 

Jackson Buttler, the speaker of the house for Student Government, has been involved with the creation of the Student Government speaker forums. He has worked closely with other members of the executive board to plan these events and allow any student to attend.

“When I decided to run for Speaker of the House, a top goal of mine was to foster increased opportunities for members of the student body to engage in dialogue with university leaders that shape decisions that affect each and every student at Wake Forest,” Buttler said.

Every week for this fall semester, Wake Forest Student Government will be hosting a different speaker. This will allow students to hear from Wake Forest faculty about current campus news and future policy plans. Following the speaker’s address is a Q&A panel from the audience.

On Oct. 4, the speaker forum will feature Wake Forest Title IX Director Aishah Casseus to discuss the history, relevance and future of Title IX at Wake Forest. Other future speakers of the semester include Women’s Center Director Shelley Sizemore, Intercultural Center Director Monique Gore, LGBTQ+ Center Director Kayla Liseby-Denson, Wake Forest University President Dr. Susan R. Wente and Dean of the School of Business Dr. Anette Ranft.

The Wake Forest Student Government encourages all students to attend these future sessions to learn more about university policy and administrative decisions. For more information, you can visit the website or @wake_sg on Instagram.