A portrait of Aaron J. Hart
Aaron J. Hart Ed.D. has been named vice president for student affairs in Virginia Commonwealth University’s Office of the Provost, effective Oct. 25.

Aaron J. Hart, Ed.D., named vice president for student affairs at VCU

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Aaron J. Hart, Ed.D., has been named vice president for student affairs in Virginia Commonwealth University’s Office of the Provost, effective Oct. 25. Hart currently serves as the vice president for student affairs at the University of Houston-Clear Lake.

“Dr. Hart's passion for student success and the continuous improvement of the university student experience aligns well with VCU's commitment to a culture of care. I am delighted to welcome him to VCU,” said Fotis Sotiropoulos, Ph.D., provost and senior vice president for academic affairs.

Hart brings to VCU extensive experience in advancing university-wide student success. His student affairs career spans across several universities and includes successful strategic planning, alignment of university priorities with student life, leveraging financial expertise in initiatives that improve the student experience and a focus on the needs of diverse learners.

“I am honored to serve all students at Virginia Commonwealth University and partner with faculty and staff to provide transformative and impactful engagement experiences. As a first-generation Chicago native who grew up in an urban environment similar to Richmond, I understand the importance of cultivating a symbiotic relationship between the community and local higher education institutions,” Hart said. “There has never been a better time to be at VCU because we are uniquely situated to provide all Rams with a co-curricular and holistic learning environment rooted in an appreciation of diversity, academic excellence and experiential learning.”

Hart has been in his current position at University of Houston-Clear Lake since 2019. He led the COVID-19-related student support efforts, which included awarding students in need with more than $1 million in emergency funding, distribution of technology and creation of a Student Safety Ambassador initiative. He created and implemented the UHCL Office of Student Advocacy and Support and launched the university’s first Student Advocate program and career clothing initiative. He led efforts that garnered recognition for UHLC by the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA) for first-generation student success and as a Voter Friendly Campus.

Prior to his current role, Hart served the University of North Carolina at Charlotte as associate vice chancellor for student affairs and at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis as director of housing and residence life and as associate dean of students. 

He has held numerous positions in the field of housing and residence life at institutions including Prairie View A&M University; California State University-Channel Islands; Arizona State University; University of California, Los Angeles; University of South Florida; University of Illinois at Chicago; Western Michigan University; and University of Louisville.  

He is an active member of NASPA, with experience serving the knowledge communities for African American Concerns, Fraternity and Sorority Affairs, and Men and Masculinity, and of the American College Personnel Association (ACPA) serving on the commissions for Administrative Leadership and Housing and Residential Life, and the Standing Committee for Multicultural Affairs. 

Hart earned a B.A. in English at Southern Illinois University, an M.A. in Higher Education Administration at the University of Louisville, and an Ed.D. in Higher and Postsecondary Education at Arizona State University.

Hart replaces Chuck Klink, who announced in February that he would transition from his current position so that he could focus on the critical area of student mental and physical health and wellness, which is where his university career began.