Building a community where learning can occur


Transitions are complex moments. They bring to the forefront of our attention contradictory and possibly competing feelings of loss, anxiety, uncertainty and excitement. This year we will experience a transition as David Tuttle, Associate Vice President of Student Life and Dean of Students, retires and begins a new chapter in his life. One key trait that Tuttle championed and will continue is what we often call “student-centricity.” Trinity University, from its inception, has prioritized the student educational experience by promoting mentoring relationships between faculty and students, independent intellectual work of students, and the encouragement of students to pursue their passions.

This week we announced the committee that will conduct the search to identify the next Dean of Students. This committee will play a key role in focusing our excitement toward the future.

As we all navigate this transition, I invite you to think broadly about the future Dean of Students — the traits that you believe will ensure that individual’s success and will meet the needs of our campus community in the years ahead. Our task is to create a future rooted in the values of community and inclusion and anchored to the belief that the Dean of Students position serves as a champion for diversity, advocates for students, and implements fair and equitable policies and procedures.

The role of Dean of Students on the 21st century Trinity campus is as complex as the moment of transition we face. There are the responsibilities that are very public — welcome remarks at orientations, attendance at student events and forums, facilitation of student conduct reviews, and partnerships with others on our collective student success work. However, there is also a tireless breadth of responsibilities that many of us never see, ranging from responses to tragedies to parent and family communication to student retention and success.

Historically, we face challenges together with compassion and resolve. We will continue to make our community stronger and our next Dean of Students must actively participate in building a community where learning can occur.