An Update on Dr. Majerus’s Uni Interim Director Experience

Dr. Elizabeth Majerus, longstanding English teacher and previous head of the Uni English department, began her first year as Uni’s Interim Director at the start of the 2019-2020 school year. 

Majerus has been teaching for many years, but now she walks the halls as Interim Director, filling the spot left by previous director Dr. Walkington, who left at the conclusion of the 2018-2019 school year. 

The end of November marked Majerus’s 15th week of being the Interim Director. She has already accumulated many lasting memories this year, such as meeting alumni like Sasha Velour and David Yang. On the flip side, she has also been working towards making lasting change at Uni, like her progress in Uni’s equity and possible schedule changes. 


Favorite Moments: Uni Alums

Majerus has accumulated many fun and exciting moments and memories. One of the things that stood out to Majerus right away was being able to have interactions with Uni alumni as the Interim Director. 

For example, Majerus noted Sasha Velour Day as one of her favorite memories so far in the school year. Sasha Velour Day, which happened on September 13th, was an event to welcome back Uni Alum Sasha Velour who was performing at the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts on campus. Majerus, who once taught Velour during her time at Uni, had lots to say about the event. 

“…When our alum Sasha Velour was in town to do a performance at the Krannert Center, we had a special celebration the day before that event and it was just really fun,” Majerus said. 

“It was a wonderful surprise that Sasha was able to come by Uni and pay us a visit. That was something that we were not necessarily anticipating. She had a really busy schedule while she was in town and it was just great to see Sasha and really fun to see the students interact with Sasha.”


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Sasha Velour showed her appreciation for Uni during her visit with a poster reading “For Uni High, where I became a queen” which now hangs in the library.


Majerus mentioned her special interaction with David Yang, another Uni Alum, which coincidentally happened on the same day as the Sasha Velour Day event.

“I didn’t teach David, but it was cool to connect with him too. He made some time to sit with me and talk with me and recommended a couple books to me, one of which I got ahold of and have been reading,” Majerus reflected. 

She also said that he “gave his expertise to Uni and really made the time to be here at a time when he also has a lot going on.”

“He was in town to receive an award from the U of I and that was great, but the fact that he made time, not only to talk to students but also to come and talk to me, [was very special].” 

Majerus expressed her appreciation for the two alums, saying: “That was kind of a cool day where I got to interact with two different alums who were very different [and] extremely successful in two extremely different fields… it’s just wonderful to be able to connect with people who have been part of Uni’s history and are still really passionate about Uni.


Goals as Interim Director: To Stay Involved

Majerus wants to stay as involved as possible with Uni during her time as the Interim Director and make every effort to help wherever she can, saying: “my primary goal is just to be a good leader, to listen to the faculty, to empower [them], to be a part of decision making, [and other] things like that.” 

Although she is the Interim Director, Dr. Majerus has no intention to stop making an impact at Uni.

Majerus said, “I wanted to […] provide leadership during a transition period where [it] would be positive and a period of growth,” and not a period of “pressing pause and waiting for the next director.”

Majerus also said she wants to continue what she has always done since she came to Uni.

“The things that are priorities for me as the director are the same things that have been a priority for me as a teacher at Uni,” she said. “I’ve been very involved in [equity at Uni] and [have been] a voice for equity since early in my career here, so that’s been a main priority for me.”


Progress so far: Equity and Schedules

Majerus has already made much progress in her time as the Interim Director. One thing that she pointed out was Uni’s efforts towards having equality and balance at the school. Majerus is no stranger to the topic. 

“I think a lot of educational institutions, particularly elite educational institutions, which I think it’s fair to say Uni is one, have the issue where they’ve got excellence, they’ve got rigour, but they don’t necessarily serve all comers,” Majerus stated. “Not everybody has access and that’s because privilege makes it easier to do well in school.”

Equity, especially in terms of privilege, is not an easy task to fix. Majerus acknowledges that this process will take a lot of dedication from everyone.

“…If we want to bring more students in who haven’t had the same level of privilege, that’s not just flipping a switch… It’s more complicated than that,” Majerus said. “…It’s a daunting task and it’s not something we can do overnight, but I do believe that if we really commit, then we can make [big] changes.”

However, Majerus felt that Uni is already making great progress in this journey, saying that Uni is making great steps and having some really important conversations. 

Majerus also appreciates the fact that the faculty is willing to have the conversation despite the topic not being a simple nor easy topic to discuss. 

Majerus ended by saying, “everything we do on the equity front helps us serve the students we have in the building better… We are improving what we’ve already got going on for all the students, [but we are] also bringing in more students and serving them better into the future.”

Another piece of progress that Majerus mentioned was schedules. 

Scheduling has been a widely debated topic at Uni as many feel like the schedules can be changed or improved to better meet students’ needs, especially since many take U of I courses in addition to Uni’s classes. 

“We have made some progress on getting some alternative schedule models together. We are getting close to being able to share those with students and parents,” Majerus announced. “So I’m really excited about that because I think that’s something that takes a while to just get the models together.” 


Dr. Majerus has had a great time as the Interim Director thus far. She attributes her great experiences and memories to the supportive environment that welcomed her. 

“…Some of the things that have been great [is] when I hear people come and say ‘Things feel great’ like ‘I come into the building and it feels really good.’ Like parents will say to me ‘It just seems like things are going well at Uni and I can feel good changes going on.’ That feels good when I feel like my leadership is making a difference.”

“…It’s even more meaningful when students, [my colleagues, and the faculty] say that, but I think when somebody from the outside comes in and they can almost feel it in the halls… That really feels good to hear…” 

Majerus wishes to finish off strong heading into the end of the semester and continue making a positive impact at Uni in the new year.