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Student Affairs will undergo reorganization

The Division of Student Affairs will make moves over the summer — some physical and some administrative. Vice President for Student Affairs Brian Rose is working with his staff to realign responsibilities to benefit students.

“It’s important for us to support students in their academic programs at an institution that’s very strong academically,” he said. “That premise should drive some of what Student Affairs should be here.”

Building on strengths that already exist, and using existing staff and resources, Rose has created a dean of students position to be housed in the new Union. Elizabeth “Liz” Droz, director of the Counseling Center, will assume the position in early June.

“My role will be to help students, faculty and staff manage a lot of situations,” she said. “Using a team approach, our end goal will be to provide personal contact and, hopefully, to avoid situations from becoming crises.

“We’ll work with students in distress, those who have unusual events happen to them such as illness, academic or financial difficulties, housing or other adjustment concerns, a death in the family or other personal difficulty — life events,” she added. “We’ll be a resource center and a place where students can come and say, ‘This happened to me. What do I do now?’”

Rose expects the realignment to more easily provide students with a spectrum of services.

“I want students to come to our offices and have their needs met so that the staff member assisting them can say, ‘I own that student and will do all of the necessary follow-up to help them,’” he said. “There will be more fluidity in service.”

The scope and size of programming within Student Affairs will no longer be limited under this model, Rose said. “We’ll make connections with academic departments and borrow expertise from others within and outside of Student Affairs.”

Additionally, Rose has appointed Elizabeth “Liz” Carter, director of the Discovery Program, as executive director of student support services, with oversight of the Career Development Center, Services for Students with Disabilities, International Student and Scholar Services, TRIO, orientation and new student services, experiential education and a reorganized Discovery Program. Carter’s initial goals include redesigning orientation for summer 2010, creating a centralized place for many student services and restructuring the Discovery Program.

“We’re going to look at orientation and see what we can do differently,” she said. “We’d like to find ways to make it even more interactive. We’d also like to explore ways to further enhance the connection between the summer orientation program and first-year programs such as FYE sections and programming that occurs within the residential communities.”

Carter also hopes to find a way to conduct an assessment of entering students before they arrive on campus. “What do they like? What are they good at?” she said.

Carter said the Discovery Program changes include linking Discovery advisers to Writing III sections and a First-Year Experience section beginning in the fall “so each DA will know, ‘This is my group of students and I’m responsible for them,’” she said. “The DAs will continue to work with students as advisers on things like Gen Ed requirements, add/drop deadlines and use of the Career Development Center, and there will still be a DA in each of the residential communities, and graduate assistants to help sophomores, juniors and seniors.”

Carter said that the program will essentially connect every freshman with a DA and also provide services for upperclassmen. The tutoring element of the program will remain in Academic Affairs.

Droz will supervise a number of offices in her new role, including the Multicultural Resource Center, Judicial Affairs, Off-Campus Services, Student Activities, the XCEL Center and the Dean of Students Office itself.

Other changes within the division include the appointment of Terry Webb as assistant vice president for student life and Suzanne Howell as director of residential life, as Lloyd “Skip” Howe steps down from his full-time role as associate vice president and dean of students. He will begin a half-time position on special projects within the division in the fall. In addition, Johann Fiore-Conte will assume additional responsibilities as executive director of health and counseling.

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Last Updated: 10/14/08