Lehigh's Student Affairs division recently welcomed a number of new colleagues, following a realignment of responsibilities and priorities to maximize impact on student services.
Tyrone J.A. Russell, a former residence life coordinator at Lehigh, was named director of the Office of Multicultural Affairs. Russell, who began his new role in mid-July, returned to campus from Northampton Community College, where he was a counselor and instructor.
Russell holds a B.A. in sociology from Colgate University and an M.S. in counseling and college student personnel from Shippensburg University. In his previous position at Lehigh, he launched the underrepresented men's empowerment organization now known as MOCA and introduced Dance Fest, a campus-wide unity event.
Katherine Lavinder is a new associate dean of students, with primary responsibility for the areas of academic support services. She comes to Lehigh from Radford University, where she served as special assistant to the vice president for student affairs and director of residence life. At Radford, Lavinder also supervised the disability resource office and the office of substance abuse and violence education services, and was chair of Radford’s s behavioral consultation team.
Lavinder is a graduate of James Madison University, where she earned a B.A. in speech communications, and the University of Georgia, where she earned an M.Ed. in college student affairs administration.
Brooke DeSipio was named assistant director of the Women’s Center. She is a 2006 graduate of Lehigh, with a B.A. in American studies and a minor in women’s studies. She also earned an M.A. in American studies and an M.Ed. from Widener University. She is working on a doctoral dissertation in human sexuality, with a focus on sexual assault prevention. DeSipio also taught in the department of public service and social science department at Delaware Valley Community College for three years.
As director of multicultural affairs, Russell will report to John Smeaton, vice provost of student affairs, as will other advocacy and equity offices, including LGBTQIA Services and the Women’s Center. This new structure will help elevate the discussion about inclusiveness and diversity and place student affairs in a stronger position to contribute to campus-wide diversity initiatives, Smeaton said.
These changes are the result of a year-long Dean of Students department strategic planning process.
“The ultimate purpose of this effort is to enhance our ability to achieve departmental and university goals by aligning people, resources, programs and services in the most effective manner,” Smeaton added. “This process led to a number of decisions about internal reporting relationships, related office relocations and new project specific working groups.”
The new structure allocates personnel resources to support Lehigh’s goals of increasing retention and graduation rates.
Lori Bolden McClaind, formerly assistant dean of the Office of First-Year Experience, assumed the newly configured position of assistant dean of students for academic transitions, to assist students in special populations (such as students on academic probation, first-generation college, underrepresented populations, students with financial difficulties and others).
Allison Ragon, the former director of orientation and new student programs in the Office of the First Year Experience, was promoted to assistant dean of students in that office.
Also, a search is underway for a director of student-athlete academic services, a position that will work to assist students with balancing the demanding academic curriculum with the time-consuming role of being a student-athlete at Lehigh
The reorganization also takes into account the growing number of college students who are experiencing mental-health challenges. Laurie Gray Evans, a staff psychologist in the University and Counseling Psychological Services Center, has assumed an additional liaison role with the Dean of Students Office to perform case management responsibilities and assist in the coordination of support services.
The three associate deans of students will take on new roles as well.
Tom Dubreuil will oversee the departments of student conduct and community expectations, student activities, student center facilities and fraternity and sorority affairs.
Allison Gulati adds director of strategic initiatives to her title, and now heads up the first-year experience, community service, leadership development and residence life.
Lavinder will manage academic transitions, the Center for Academic Success, academic support services for students with disabilities, and academic services for student-athletes.
Additionally, Erick Klein, a staff psychologist in the Counseling and Psychological Services, will now focus on alcohol prevention efforts, and is directing Lehigh’s involvement in a national collaborative on high-risk drinking. http://www4.lehigh.edu/news/newsarticle.aspx?Channel=%2FChannels%2FNews%3A+2011&WorkflowItemID=feac456e-1843-484c-a4e3-6f6b5b8a8903
The role of alcohol prevention was previously held by Maddy Eadline, who directed the former Matter of Degree program and oversaw Lehigh’s efforts since 1997. She is now assistant to the vice provost for student affairs and director of special projects for the division. Eadline will focus on strategic planning, marketing, compliance and professional development.