LeeAnn Melin2019 Rising Alumni

LeeAnn Melin

Currently serving as the U of M Associate Vice Provost for Student Success, LeeAnn Melin has held a variety of positions on campus related to undergraduate education and student engagement. She has touched the lives of thousands of students during her time at the U through her strategic leadership of key undergraduate programs. In what she calls her “dream job,” LeeAnn is responsible for various support services and retention efforts aimed at improving the retention and graduation of all students, including the enhancement of academic advising, learning support, and multicultural student initiatives. She gets to create, innovate, problem solve, and collaborate with a talented group of professionals all working together to make a difference in students’ lives.

Current Job

Associate Vice Provost for Student Success, University of Minnesota

CEHD Degree

PhD Higher Education, 2015

Please list any professional accomplishments you wish to mention.

I have had the privilege of working with undergraduate students at the University of Minnesota for over 26 years. I currently serve as the Associate Vice Provost for Student Success, and am responsible for various student support services and retention efforts aimed at improving the retention and graduation of all students. Most recently I have worked with partners across campus to enhance academic advising, learning support services, and the success of multicultural students on campus. Over my time at the U, I have served as assistant dean for undergraduate student initiatives, director for the Office for Student Engagement and the director of Orientation & First Year Programs. I have taught undergraduate classes through the Bakken Center for Spirituality & Healing and the University's Leadership Minor.

Volunteer activites

take part in a lot of community and school activities, including the Hopkins Mountain Bike Team and the Ultimate Frisbee Team. I also mentor U of M students and student groups and connect with non-profit organizations through workshops and presentations. I am on the board of directors for the U-YMCA and Stuart Pimsler Dance and Theater.

What is your favorite memory from the University of Minnesota?

I am fortunate to have every day be my favorite memory at the U! But specifically relating to my time as a PhD student in CEHD, it was the amazing cohort experience. My fellow students, and the faculty who guided us, created a learning environment where we challenged, supported, and inspired each other while fostering our deep learning.

What professor(s) or course(s) were most influential during your time in CEHD?

I had the honor of working with Rebecca Ropers as my advisor and faculty. She was an outstanding teacher and inspiring advisor and mentor. She inspired me to work hard and continually develop critical and reflective thinking skills. As an advisor, she guided my development as a scholar, serving as a sounding board and offering her insight along the way. Her commitment to equity and diversity was in the forefront of her teaching and played an important role in how I apply an equity lens in my work and life.

Who has inspired you the most during your career?

Rather than one individual, I have been inspired by a circle of sisters who have modeled the way through their unique talents and gifts. They guide my life as a professional, as a working mom, as a leader, as a spiritual being, and as a lifelong learner. I am grateful for their teachings.

When you have 30 minutes of free time, what do you do?

My free time is devoted to well-being activities that provide a sense of renewal and adventure, such as meditation, yoga, paddle boarding, biking, or cruising on my moped.

How do others describe you?

I am most often described by others as energetic, positive, authentic, open, and caring.

How do you describe yourself?

I see myself as an authentic, intentional, collaborative, and purpose-driven.

What's a good book you'd recommend to others?

My current favorite book is Brené Brown's Braving the Wilderness. She offers practices that promote true belonging during this polarized time. Her work inspires us to show up as our true selves grounded in integrity and authenticity.

What gets you excited about work?

I am currently working at my dream job! Each day I get the opportunity to create, innovate, problem solve, and collaborate with a talented and committed group of professionals all working together to make a difference in students' lives. I work with and for students in supporting their learning and development. This work aligns with my strengths and passions so I am excited about my work most of the time!

Outside of your job, how do you grow professionally?

I'm part of a Women's Leadership Community—a network of women exploring leadership in our lives and work. I also engage in experiences, readings, and conferences that expand my understanding of my identity and diversity, equity, and inclusion. I’m always continuing to pursue my research interests in student development, positive psychology, happiness, spirituality, and purpose.

What is a "fun fact" about you?

Travel has been an important part of my life, including living in Sri Lanka as an exchange student and traveling around the world on Semester at Sea. I have been on six of the seven continents with only Antarctica left!