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So What Exactly Does The Dean of Student Affairs Do?

Wrong kind of Dean.

Wrong kind of Dean.

Events Editor and Senior Staff Writer Sarah Faith Thompson has delved into places unknown, into places unseen, into places that maybe you didn’t actually know existed on campus. As we prepare for a new dean search, we sent her to figure out exactly what the Dean of Student Affairs does. Her report on the Office of  Student Affairs is as follows. 

Columbia Student Affairs proclaims that it “develops programs and services that foster community, ensure a respectful and inclusive environment, and enrich the overall student experience at Columbia.” Cool. Let’s go in a bit deeper.

One part of the dean’s office is judicial affairs and community standards–this is the OJA, which deals with your run-of-the-mill disciplinary hearings. This is the department that lets investigators and future employers see the time that you were written up for smoking weed in Carman or making a copy of your Ving card via FERPA. It also allows instructors (and students) to use Turnitin to check for plagiarism.

Also nestled in the Dean of Student Affair’s Office is Parent and Family Programs–basically, your parents can thank them for the free food and titillating lectures they get during registration, family weekend, etc, as well as informative email updates.

Finally, Student and Alumni Programs “serves to reinforce Columbia traditions, develop loyalty, instill school pride, and underscore the responsibility each member of the community has to give back.” They can work with the CCE, LLCs, and the Office of Residential Programs, but, most importantly, the alumni in the program may have handed you your very first copy of the Iliad the summer before your freshman year.

So what does all that mean? The dean basically oversees all of this as well as student advising and community development while making sure to place a large emphasis on the phrase “co-curricular experience.” The point is that this dean is affecting the lives of all (CC and SEAS) undergrads, so the dean should be aware of happenings and even attending important student events, communicating with student leaders, and generally concerned with our quality of life. Kevsho helped organize the Office of Multicultural Affairs and the Office of Student Group Advising, and Martinez has been active in an anti-hazing campaign on campus. Essentially, what’s relevant to your life and your sense of community here should be relevant to the Dean of Student Affairs.

The smoulder via Wikimedia Commons

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