Newly-renamed Office of Student Affairs kick starts new campuswide initiative

As part of a larger campuswide retention initiative, Lees-McRae has made several organizational changes to its formerly titled Office of Student Development in order to best serve students present and future.

Now named the Office of Student Affairs, the change, which also encompasses new departmental hires and structure, was the result of a review by President Lee King, the cabinet, and other campus leaders.

“I have long held a philosophical belief that in small colleges, particularly ones where the academic environment and student life environment are so closely connected, that we might better serve our students if the academic programs and the student life programs were connected under the same leadership structure,” King said.

To this end, King added, Provost and Dean of Faculty Todd Lidh will now lead efforts in the student affairs department.

However, Lidh’s additional role isn’t the only new personnel change for the department.

Former Director of Campus Life and Student Engagement Hannah Finkelstein transitioned to a new role earlier this summer as the Director of Conduct and Citizenship.

Two new additions, Justin Kitts ’07 and Kelsey Taylor, have been hired as the Dean of Students and the Associate Dean of Students for Residence Life, respectively.

Kitts will oversee campus life, campus recreation and outdoor programs, and student conduct with the help of Taylor who has already begun work on new residence life programming as well as training for residence life staff.

Over the coming weeks, the department will interview for, and hire, a new director of campus life.

“The addition of some folks in Student Affairs allows for more professionalization of the residence life program, greater colleague support within the office, additional staff living on campus to serve our students, and more,” Lidh said. “By shifting from Student Development to Student Affairs, there’s a greater recognition that the scope of the office and the staff who work in it encompasses every aspect of a student’s experience at Lees-McRae. So, rather than just looking at the developmental aspects of a student, we will be looking at the whole student and working hand-in-hand with other staff and faculty across the campus.”

By Nina MastandreaJuly 08, 2019
FamiliesAcademicsCampus Life