A Message from Our VP: When You Know Better, You Do Better, April 2023

April 5, 2023
Soncia Reagins-Lilly with colleagues at the NASPA Annual Conference

Robert Valdez (University Housing and Dining), Andrew Wiemer (University of Connecticut), Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students Soncia Reagins-Lilly and Smita Ruzicka (Middlebury College) presented "Life After a Doctoral Program in Higher Education and What Comes Next…” at the NASPA Annual Conference

Hi Student Affairs Team,

I’ve enjoyed this concentrated time with our national colleagues at NASPA’s annual conference. As student affairs professionals, we strive to take bold, decisive action to best serve our students, but are equally willing to make enhancements and adjustments when new data appears. We aren’t so tethered to tradition that we let problems fester or brilliant solutions go undiscovered. 

So where do we get new information?

Plenty of places, but our faculty colleagues, next to our Division team, are the closest connection we have to students. They see trends. They know what stresses students out, what inspires them to achieve and what solutions might work. Feedback from faculty is critical to help us set the right priorities. 

To that end, you may recall that I co-authored a message at the beginning of the academic year with Executive VP and Provost Sharon Wood that was sent to all faculty. The theme of the email was collaboration. We reminded professors, graduate assistants and instructors that we, the Division of Student Affairs, depend on their insights and experience to help shape our work.

Additionally, I’m proud to have Charlotte Canning serve as special consultant to the vice president for student affairs on faculty relations. Charlotte has a rich history with the university and is a well-respected scholar in the College of Fine Arts’ Department of Theatre and Dance. She is also the former chair of the Faculty Council, and currently serves as secretary of the faculty council and of the general faculty. Charlotte has been instrumental in helping us develop more collaborative relationships with faculty, especially in the area of academic integrity.

Together, we make a mighty team. The faculty perspective adds to ours; ours adds to theirs. And in harmony, we can tend to the whole student — their mind, their health, their well-being, their needs. 

I’m thankful for our faculty partners, and I’m thankful — as ever — that you are so willing to learn from your peers and colleagues. When this incredible spring term ends, I will be reflecting on the particular ways we have strengthened our interactions across our disciplines, and I look forward to finding new ways, big and small, to let faculty help shape our work in the years ahead. 

For Students, We Will!

Soncia Reagins-Lilly
Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students