Student Affairs to establish Office of the Dean of Students in the Holmes Student Center

By Dan Doren

DeKALB — NIU will be getting an Office of the Dean of Students for the first time since 1972, following Dean of Students Kelly Wesener Michael’s announcement at Sunday’s SA Senate meeting.

Wesener Michael said the reorganization efforts will involve a further integration of services and resources — including Counseling and Consultation Services, the Disability Resource Center and Students’ Legal Assistance — and the enhanced provision of guidance to students who have specific needs.

“Our hope is to pull folks together in offices that are located close to one another,” she said. “So, as a student comes in, who has complex issues and problems, we can easily reach out to our colleagues and be able to help that student find the resources they need.”

The Assistant and Associate Deans of Students will relocate operations to the Holmes Student Center from the Campus Life Building by the spring semester, Wesener Michael said.

“This semester, we’ve been really concentrating on [the] Holmes Student Center, [on] the transition here, and building our infrastructure, and getting our staff and hiring some folks,” she said.

Wesener Michael said the office will look to increase support for students who have been displaced, are food insecure, can’t afford textbooks or come from the foster care system.

The Division of Student Affairs website will be redesigned in January to provide a centralized space for the division’s policies, procedures and protocols, Wesener Michael said.

Other business

That evening, the SA Senate took a vote on three resolutions.

The first resolution proposed to amend Article III, Section I of the SA Constitution, which lays out the duties of the SA President. The amendment passed 20-0.

The amendments grants the president the power to appoint students to university committees, assign additional activities, to unelected executive branch members, serve on the University Council and its steering committee with the Speaker of the Senate and conduct an evaluation of all paid SA executive branch members each semester.

The second resolution, which also passed 20-0, seeks to foster mental health awareness, by urging faculty to include information in their course syllabi about four mental health service centers on campus.

The four centers listed in the resolution are: Counseling and Consultation Services, the Family and Couples Therapy Clinic, the Community Counseling Training Center and the Psychological Services Center.

Executive Assistant to the Speaker Cassandra Pilcher, author of the resolution, said she knows students who were turned away from Counseling and Consultation Services in the past year and a half without being told about the other three options available.

“I think this looks like a stepping stone that would be really important,” she said. “Because the syllabi is something that every student will run into.”