Aurora University’s leadership oversees the strategic vision of the university, ensuring that students always come first and that our mission – an inclusive community dedicated to the transformative power of education – is prevalent in all we do.

President of Aurora University

Dr. Rebecca L. Sherrick became the thirteenth president of Aurora University in 2000 after serving for twenty years as a faculty member and senior administrator at Carroll University in Waukesha, Wisconsin.

Dr. Sherrick was born in Carthage, Illinois and attended Illinois Wesleyan University (IWU) in Bloomington, Illinois as an undergraduate. She was elected as a student laureate to the Lincoln Academy of Scholars and earned her bachelor’s in history, summa cum laude, in 1975. IWU recognized her achievements with the awarding of an honorary Doctor of Humane letters degree in 2001.

Dr. Sherrick attended Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois for doctoral studies on a William Randolph Hearst Fellowship and completed her PhD in history with specializations in American and Latin American history in 1980. She is active in a wide range of professional and civic organizations.

Dean of Online Enrollment and Continuing Education

Dr. Donna Gardner Liljegren has more than 25 years of experience in higher education. She has held faculty and executive leadership roles in private and for-profit institutions and has been teaching and developing online, hybrid and flex courses since 1997.

As an academic leader, she has developed and grown undergraduate and graduate online divisions, built online faculty training and development programs, fostered inter-departmental partnerships to provide services to adult and online students and faculty, and collaborated with other departmental leaders to write policies and processes to promote efficiency and quality. Her areas of expertise include instruction, faculty development, curriculum development, program assessment, adult learning, and academic leadership.

Dr. Liljegren earned BA and MA degrees in English and focused her EdD studies on adult learning and online program assessment. She is an editorial board member for eLearn Magazine, published by the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM), serves on the Executive Committee for the Illinois Council on Continuing Higher Education, and volunteers with the People’s Resource Center in Wheaton, Illinois.

Assistant Dean of Online Faculty Recruitment and Development

Dr. Kimberly Harrison has over 15 years of experience in education, from children in preschool through adults. She has been teaching college level courses in sociology, technology, and critical thinking since 2010, and worked in higher education administration since 2014. Her areas of expertise include educational technology, curriculum development, instructional design, organizational development, and adult learning.

Dr. Harrison has an MA in Sociology from DePaul University and a PhD in Instructional Technology from Northern Illinois University. She enjoys collaborating with faculty to develop curriculum that engages students and makes them active participants in their own learning.

Assistant Dean of Online Student Support Services

Kate Male has 14 years of higher education experience that includes admissions, advising, athletics, internship supervision, the registrar’s office and teaching.

Ms. Male has a Bachelor of Science in Marketing from Carroll College and a Master of Science in Education from Northern Illinois University. She is excited to help bring Aurora University’s quality online programs to those that cannot attend classes in the traditional on-ground format.