Jean V. Kartje New Vice President of Academic Affairs
By Brian Kleemann
Jean V. Kartje is the new vice president of Academic Affairs at College of DuPage.
The Woodstock native has spent much of her career in leadership positions, most recently as vice president of Instruction at Kishwaukee College. She started her academic career as Residence Life director and Student Activities advisor at Barat College in Lake Forest, where she earned her bachelor's degrees with honors in Psychology and English and was the first in her family to attend college.
"At that time, Barat was an all-girls school," said the DeKalb resident. "It was the right environment for me and was empowering for women. As a student, I took advantage of opportunities that I might not have had at a larger university. I was a student government leader and a resident assistant, held a work-study job and was accepted for an internship with the U.S. Marines."
After working for several years, Kartje embarked on an unexpected challenge - living in Switzerland. As her former husband, a chef, trained in European kitchens, she served food at a resort on top of a mountain, greeting guests who were disembarking from the chair lift to ski in the winter or hike in the summer.
"It was a great opportunity that tested my strengths," she said. "I'm a verbal person, but at first I couldn't converse with anyone except my husband. It took everything I had to do my best to communicate with people in a variety of ways."
After more than a year in Europe, Kartje returned to Barat as dean of Student Development, where she stayed for seven years. Next she became assistant dean of students at Mundelein College, followed by a move to College of Lake County, where she spent 13 years as executive assistant to the president and another three years as dean of Communications Arts, Humanities and Fine Arts. She also has two children - Lauren, a teacher in Chicago Public Schools, and Michael, a recent graduate from Northern Illinois University with a degree in business.
Kartje, who earned a master's in Management from Webster University and a Ph.D. in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies in Higher Education from Loyola University, was always impressed with College of DuPage.
"College of DuPage is a leader in creative programming, and it seemed like every month I was reading about an exciting new program at the College," she said. "This demonstrates a proactive rather than reactive mindset, and I wanted to be a part of that environment."
Kartje is especially impressed with such initiatives as the 3+1 degree agreements and the new Learning Commons, which brings many of the College's academic support services into one area. She also applauds the faculty's dedication to their students.
"They never stop helping students work toward their success," she said. "Our impact on students is one reason we all chose education as a career. I feel honored to be here, and students seem genuinely happy to be here as well. Together, we will continue to focus on quality and build on the College's strong academic foundation."
2012 College of DuPage