Russell Curley named new director for Academic Advising and Retention Center

Russell Curley/

Elliott Pratt

The Academic Advising & Retention Center at WKU has been under new administration for a week with the addition of Dr. Russell Curley as the new director of AARC .

Curley, former assistant vice president for Records and Institutional Effectiveness at Minnesota State University Moorhead, officially began his new role June 3.

Curley said he immediately felt a positive attitude around campus on his first day of work.

“There’s a lot of good things going on here,” Curley said. “You get the feeling right away that there is a positive feeling, and not all institutions have that feeling. I love it here, I really do.”

While at MSUM, Curley oversaw enrollment management functions that included developing the academic calendar, course registration, class restrictions, and drop/add scheduling arrangements.

Before serving at MSUM, Curley spent time at the University of Cincinnati and North Iowa Area Community College. At Cincinnati, he served as director of the Transfer and Lifelong Learning Center and the office of Educational Services.

While WKU president Gary Ransdell has not had the chance to thoroughly discuss retention plans yet with the new director, he said Curley will help to continually improve those plans.

“That is a very important job,” Ransdell said. “He will play a critical role in helping us improve our consistence in retention numbers and a higher percentage in students that graduate.”

Curley said in his first week at WKU, the work environment is much different than from his previous employers.

“I think there is a positive moral here that some of the other places I worked at – not so much,” Curley said. “It seems to be very student centered. While at other places I worked at the students were important, they seem to be a priority here. We have a lot of concern about their success and making sure they’re prepared and ready for classes.”

Curley said his previous jobs didn’t allow him to work very closely with students. As director of AARC, he is looking forward helping students on a daily basis.

“At Minnesota State it was more bureaucratic in dealing with records and institutional data,” Curley said. “Whereas here, it’s directly working with students, and that is something I wanted to get back to. That was one of the main reasons that I came here.”

Curley received his doctor of philosophy in higher education from the University of Iowa and earned both his MBA in education in College Student Personnel and his BA in history and philosophy from the University of Northern Iowa.