Tom Ellett appointed chief student experience officer

Headshot of Tom Ellett, Ph.D.

Q

uinnipiac has appointed Tom Ellett, Ph.D., as its new chief student experience officer (CXO), according to an announcement today by President Judy Olian.

In the newly created position, Ellett will oversee all student-facing functions including enrollment management, student affairs, registrar and bursar, public safety, veterans affairs, and a future career services function. 

“The Management Committee and I are delighted that Tom – with his broad and deep expertise, and student-centered mindset – will become part of the Quinnipiac community,” Olian said.

Ellett, who will start August 1, currently serves as senior associate vice president for student affairs at New York University, which has over 50,000 students. He leads a portfolio of four student affairs units with a $25 million budget and $215 million in revenue. 

Ellett joined NYU in 2001 and has been a change agent across many facets affecting the NYU student experience. He worked across all aspects of student life at NYU in New York City, as well as among its 14 global centers worldwide, and was instrumental in creating a new Center for Student Life. The center integrated student activities and the student resource center into one cohesive unit and paved the way for many rich and varied student experiences on a global scale.

“He has deep experience building living-learning communities to enrich student intellectual and personal growth,” Olian said.

Ellett first tested the model while at Syracuse University, where he embedded living-learning communities into residence halls, creating much deeper connections between students and the university. After joining NYU, he scaled the program further. Now over 80 faculty members live in residence halls, including Tom and his wife. 

Ellett also designed a new first-year student experience at NYU, focusing in large part on enhancing their residence hall experience to foster a stronger sense of community. As a result, over time more students chose to remain in university housing after their first year. 

“Tom is both creative in building a total living-learning experience and is committed to engaging personally with students at every point of their college years,” Olian said.

NYU tapped Ellett to lead the university-wide logistical response efforts for COVID-19 in a city that is at the epicenter of the pandemic. At the beginning of the pandemic, he oversaw the strategy and implementation efforts to vacate residence halls that housed 11,000 students, as well as the return of the many NYU students who were studying all around the world. He continues to lead the team planning housing solutions, procurement of PPE and supplies, coordination of services, and anticipation of future needs. 

Ellett holds an undergraduate degree in English from Fordham University, a master’s degree in theater from Catholic University, and a doctorate in educational leadership, administration and policy from Fordham. He also has served as a clinical adjunct assistant professor in NYU’s Steinhardt School in Higher Education and Student Affairs, and he has earned a personal life coaching certificate from NYU.

Ellett is deeply involved in his local community, volunteering at Hospice of New York and the Franciscan Delivers Food Pantry and serving on the board of the Student Affairs Cancer Foundation. He has authored articles and book chapters focusing on student affairs work. He is also the co-host of an award-winning podcast called “Where RA Now,” which connects undergraduate students and alumni from various industries. When not at work, he is an avid reader and sports enthusiast.

This structure reflects a transfer of duties from what previously was included under the umbrella of the role of provost and executive vice president. Ellett’s appointment will allow new provost Debra J. Liebowitz, PhD, to focus exclusively on faculty, academics and research, while continuing to work in strong partnership with the CXO. 

Ellett will serve as a member of Quinnipiac’s Management Committee.