December 2, 2023

Vice President James Morales unexpectedly leaves USU

James Morales, the vice president for student affairs at Utah State University, announced in an email on Sunday at 5:15 p.m. that today is his last day at Utah State University.

He did not give a reason for his departure, but university spokesperson Amanda DeRito said in an email that “President Noelle E. Cockett has decided it is time to make a leadership change in the Division of Student Affairs.”

DeRito said Cockett will begin meeting with staff within the Division of Student Affairs over the next few weeks to begin the search for the next vice president. In the meantime, Robert Wagner, the executive vice president, will assist the division during the leadership transition.

“President Cockett appreciates Dr. Morales’ hard work over the last 13 years in addressing critical issues in student affairs, including his leadership in student development and community engagement,” DeRito said. “The university wishes him the best in his future endeavors.” Morales was hired in April 2009 as the vice president for student services at USU, according to the press release that announced his hiring on Utah State TODAY. He previously worked as the associate vice chancellor for enrollment at the University of Minnesota, Morris, from 2004 to 2009 and the director of the Office of Undergraduate Admissions at the University of Connecticut from 2001 to 2004. From 1999 to 2001, he worked at the University of Minnesota, Duluth, as the assistant director of Student Support Services, the associate director in the Office of Admissions and assistant to the vice chancellor in the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Academic Support and Student Life.

As the vice president for student affairs, Morales oversaw Counseling and Psychological Services, the Veterans Resource Office, the Student Involvement and Leadership Center, the Center for Community Engagement, Residence Life, Campus Recreation, Student Conduct and Community Standards, and the Student Health and Wellness Center.

“I wish you all the best as you continue our division’s tradition of high-quality service and support to help ensure the well-being and success of our students,” Morales said in his email. “It was my privilege and honor to have been your partner in this incredibly satisfying endeavor!”

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