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Meet the Student Affairs Senior Leadership Team

Dr. Diana McGill

Diana McGill
Provost and Executive
Vice President for Academic Affairs
Office:    AC 830
Phone:   (859) 572-5788

Dr. Jason Vest

Dr. Jason Vest
Associate Provost, Academic and Student Affairs
(859) 572-5147

More About Dr. Vest

Jason Vest is Associate Provost for Academic and Student Affairs at NKU. He has been at NKU since 2014 after six years on the faculty at Eastern New Mexico University. Jason completed his Master of Business Administration degree in 2020 and actively works on strategic initiatives for the university, including Success by Design; diversity, equity, and inclusion; the first-year experience; student success and well-being, student engagement, assessment and accreditation; faculty and administrator orientation; and faculty hiring, promotion, and tenure.

Jason Vest enjoys a full life as an active musician and educator. Vest is a Grammy-nominated performer who enjoys equally the challenges of opera, concert, recital, and professional choral work.  He has been featured with Cincinnati Opera, Amarillo Opera, Stara Zagora and Plovdiv opera houses in Bulgaria, Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra, and many others. In concert, he has recently been the featured soloist in the works of Bach, Handel, and Rachmaninoff. Vest has worked with composers to premiere their works in roles he originated or debuted, such as Douglas Pew’s The Good Shepherd and Bradley Ellingboe’s Star Song. 

As a recitalist, Vest delights in the opportunity to communicate closely with audiences and has performed for the Mexico Liederfest in Monterrey and the Vocal Artistry Art Song Festival in Albuquerque, as well as in recitals across the United States. Vest’s album of Richard Hundley’s songs, Evening Hours, was released through Roven Records in the fall of 2018. 

Vest is a member of the Grammy-award winning choral group, Conspirare, under the direction of Craig Hella Johnson. With Conspirare, he has toured throughout the United States, most meaningfully in performances of the Grammy-nominated new oratorio, Considering Matthew Shepard. Vest also sings with the Vocal Arts Ensemble, Collegium Cincinnati, and the Bach Ensemble of St. Thomas. 

Jason Vest is a Professor of Voice at Northern Kentucky University. His students have been finalists at district and regional NATS competitions and have been accepted at graduate schools, including USC, the University of Kentucky, and the University of Texas. He completed his Doctor of Musical Arts Degree at the University of Kentucky after earning a Bachelor of Music from Butler University and a Master of Music from Brigham Young University. Jason is a staff writer for Classical Singer magazine and has also published in the Journal of Singing.

Ms. Sarah Aikman

Ms. Sarah Aikman
Assistant Vice President, Student Engagement & Inclusiveness
(859) 572-1940

More About Ms. Aikman

Ms. Sarah Aikman  is a native of the Chicagoland area and came to Northern Kentucky University (NKU) in 2006 after serving six years as the Assistant Director of the Union and Activities at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh. Ms. Aikman holds a BS degree in Business Management and a MS degree in College Student Personnel both from Indiana State University. She has held previous positions at Kansas State University and Indiana State University. Currently, Ms. Aikman serves as the Director of the Student Union and Programming at NKU. As the inaugural director for NKU’s student union, Ms. Aikman brings a wealth of experience in student engagement, programming, facilities management, crisis intervention, event planning, and student organization advisement. In addition to her service as a director, she also serves as the primary faculty/staff advisor for NKU’s Student Government Association (SGA).

Ms. Aikman is an active member of the Association of College Unions International (ACUI). She has served the national association as President, a member of the Board of Trustees, Chair of two annual conferences, and currently serves as the chair of the Education and Research Fund Program Team. Ms. Aikman received the Richard D. Blackburn New Professional award from ACUI and the Graduate of the Last Decade award from Indiana State University. Sarah and her husband Brian enjoy traveling and spending time at their lake house on Norris Lake in Tennessee.

Leah Stewart

Leah Stewart
Assistant Vice President, Enrollment Management
(859) 572-6437

Dr. Bob Alston

Dr. Bob Alston
Assistant Vice President for Student Conduct and Wellness and Dean of Students
(859) 572-6447

More About Dr. Alston

Dr. Bob Alston (he/him) is a strategic educational leader focusing on individualized care & elevating human-focused service. Born in Florida, Bob’s career began on Housing & Residence Life facilities team at the University of West Florida (UWF), then serving as a Residence Life Coordinator supporting the First- and Second-Year Experience living-learning communities for the same department. While at UWF, Bob served as a member of the Student Affairs Assessment Committee and as an Academic Foundations Seminar instructor, assisting students in co-curricular connection to the UWF campus.

After understanding his ability to connect with students, translating university policy into moments of student learning, Bob joined Western Carolina University’s department of Student Community Ethics as the Assistant Director for Student Conduct. While at Western (WCU), Bob served on the Alcohol and Other Drugs Committee’s efforts to educate and inform student choices related to substance use, was elected to and served on Staff Senate, and was selected for the WCU Leadership Academy, which sought to develop leaders dedicated to supporting WCU’s mission as a regionally-engaged university.

Bob’s goal to serve and support a campus community brought him to NKU starting as the Assistant Dean of Students in 2016. In 2018, Bob was asked to serve as the director of the Student Conduct, Rights & Advocacy office and has been finding pathways to support student learning, care, and sense of belonging in Norse Nation since. Prior to the Fall 2022 semester, Bob was appointed to serve as Dean of Students, and led strategic realignment for the newly created Community Standards & Care and Student Conduct offices.  Through service on varied committees and NKU initiatives, Bob has sought to elevate student voices and (re)build university systems to serve students’ individual needs more effectively. Bob received an NKU CARES Award (Staff) in 2021, and has been nominated for the Jane Meier Outstanding Service Award, and the Outstanding Student Affairs Newcomer Award, since joining the NKU Student Affairs staff.

Bob earned his bachelor’s degree in Interdisciplinary Humanities (B.A.) and his master’s degree in College Student Personnel Administration (M.Ed.) at UWF.  Bob is also a NKU alum after completing his Doctor of Education (Ed. D.) in Educational Leadership.  Bob has earned a graduate certificate in Emergency Management and a micro-credential in Disaster Readiness from NKU in order to develop his ability to support campus communities before, in, and after crises.

Chief John Gaffin

Chief John Gaffin
Chief, University Police
(859) 572-6611

More about Chief Gaffin

Chief John Gaffin has been with University Police since 2007. He is a graduate of the Southern Police Institute's 128th Administrative Officers Course.

He was awarded a Bachelor of Arts from NKU in 2007, and a Master of Science from University of Louisville in 2014. In his spare time John enjoys reading, spending time with his family, and traveling to National Parks. 


Unit Director for the Center for Student Inclusiveness
(859) 572-5821