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5 Questions with | Jan Murphy
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5 QUESTIONS WITH | JAN MURPHY

5 Questions with | Jan Murphy

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Name: Jan Murphy

Occupation: Vice president of academic affairs, Illinois State University

You have been at Illinois State University for more than 30 years in a variety of administrative positions. You have announced your retirement for June 30. At this point, what is your fondest memory of your time here?

I absolutely love our commencement ceremonies. At ISU, we have all of the usual pomp and ceremony mixed in with elation and joy! Each ceremony is a reminder of why I love being in higher education. We truly do change lives!

What do you plan to do in retirement and will you remain close to the university?

My husband and I love the Bloomington-Normal/McLean County community so this will be our home base for many years to come. We also hope to travel more and spend time with our twins, who live in Chicago and the St. Louis area. I have family and friends back home in South Dakota and Nebraska and I hope we can visit regularly. My mom moved to Normal 15 years ago and I am looking forward to seeing her more often.

Scott and I are huge Redbird fans, so we will continue to attend a variety of sporting events including football and men’s and women’s basketball. I am so proud of our student-athletes and how well they do in the classroom. We also love to attend events put on by our faculty and students in fine arts, so we plan on continuing those activities.

What are some hobbies or interests that you have that others might not know?

I am a runner and am looking forward to more time on the trail. I ran my first long race (the Chicago Marathon) on my 50th birthday and have completed 25 half- and full-marathons since. I belong to a great running team and have made many running friends through the years. I also serve as an accreditation site visitor and will be able to continue doing that for another five years. Through that work I get to travel to institutions of higher education throughout the world to evaluate and help them improve.

You came to ISU as an assistant professor of family and consumer services. Are you still active in the classroom, and, if so, what will you miss about the classroom?

I absolutely love to teach. My area of expertise is human nutrition and my favorite class is Introduction to Nutrition. It is exciting to see the light bulbs go off as students begin to understand metabolism and how the human body works at the cellular level. They start to sort out nutrition facts from the fiction they often see in popular press.

Is there one project that you are working on or one goal you hope to achieve before you retire?

Most of our big projects will continue long after I retire but there is a satisfaction in knowing that I was part of a team that initiated the work. I am looking forward to seeing our new Cybersecurity Laboratory completed, the start of the eSports Team, and the completion of the Student Success Center on the first floor of Milner Library. We are all very excited by the state’s recent funding of our fine arts complex, which will take several years to renovate. And, it is my dream that the institution will be able to establish engineering programs. I leave behind amazing colleagues who will help ensure the next provost is successful. Illinois State University has a very bright future!  

Contact Kevin Barlow at (309) 820-3238. Follow him on Twitter: @pg_barlow

"I absolutely love our commencement ceremonies. At ISU, we have all of the usual pomp and ceremony mixed in with elation and joy! Each ceremony is a reminder of why I love being in higher education. We truly do change lives!"

Jan Murphy, ISU vice president of academic affairs

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