Shannon Ellis

Vice President for Student Services
University of Nevada, Reno

Shannon Ellis leads the Division of Student Services at the University of Nevada, Reno serving more than 21,000 students including 40% first generation, 30% Pell recipients, 38% students of color, and more than 500 National Merit and Presidential Scholars. Shannon is responsible for acquiring resources, providing professional development, overseeing persistence research, and setting strategic direction for more than 400 full time staff and 1,000 student employees who provide recruitment and retention programs and services.

Since 1998 as vice president, Shannon has overseen a tripling of residence hall capacity to more than 1 million total square feet, the construction of a new student union, fitness center, student services building and student achievement center totaling 351,000 square feet, a doubling of enrollment, and an increase in the four and six year graduation rates. Shannon has increased and cut her budget several times over the past 20 years and is currently responsible for a budget of $9.8 million state and $79 million in non-state funds.

Shannon has been involved in NASPA since her first position in 1978 at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. She has served on the NASPA journal editorial board, the Foundation board, the James E. Scott Academy Board, and on the national board as both Region V vice president and national president.  Recent publications include a chapter on “The Political Dimensions of Decision making,” in The Handbook of Student Affairs Administration, Fourth Edition, two chapters on “Technology and Transformation” and “Rethinking the Student Affairs Model” in Leading Innovation and Change: A Guide for Chief Student Affairs Officers on Shaping the Future, and a chapter in Beginning Your Journey: A Guide for New Professionals, Third Edition. In January 2017, Shannon and NASPA Executive Director Emeritus Dr. Gwen Dungy wrote side-by-side blogs on the role of student affairs in the divisive era post 2016 presidential election. Shannon is maniacally focused on being a better vice president and student affairs professional every day. She is committed to sharing lessons from success and failure so that every vice president will be exemplary in their leadership and effective in changing the lives of all students and those who work to serve them.