Division of Student Affairs undergoes structural changes

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Division of Student Affairs undergoes structural changes

Armando Marin, Online News Editor

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Tulane has consolidated campus health resources under the Division of Student Affairs, including Counseling and Psychological Services, the Uptown and downtown Student Health Centers and the Center for Wellness and Health Promotion. The restructuring is also meant to aid in other university initiatives including Fitts’ $1 billion fundraising campaign. 

The position of assistant vice president for campus health, which has been filled by Scott Tims, will unite all aspects of student health under one division, making the department more accessible to students. 

Tims said these changes are one of the first steps but that he would like to see a truly integrated health service become available to students.

“We have been wanting for a long time to have an integrated counseling, health and health promotion service,” Tims said. “This is something we can do for our students to increase our services.”

Other changes include a newly appointed director of TheWELL and the movement of several departments under the leadership of the Division of Student Affairs.

Tims will also retain his current role as director of both the Uptown and downtown Student Health Centers. Lindsey Greeson, the former assistant director of Wellness and Health Promotion, was appointed director of TheWELL at the beginning of this year.

In his new role, Tims will oversee CAPS, the Student Health Center and TheWELL while Reily Student Recreation Center has moved under the leadership of Ross Bryan, the assistant vice president for Housing and Residence Life.

Tims said his new position will allow the different student health departments to have influence on a higher level than it had before.

“I’m now part of a group that has the opportunity to have a greater impact on health and what resources we have and how we leverage those,” Tims said. “[Student health] hasn’t had a voice at the table in a leadership position in almost a year. I think that’s really the most important part of getting this promotion is that I have the opportunity to do that now.”

Greeson said her priorities for TheWELL are promoting the OneWave sexual assault prevention program, mental health education and support of mental well-being on campus. She said students are the most important part of accomplishing these goals.

“We’re really trying to build upon [students’] strengths and their values to facilitate a healthy lifestyle,” Greeson said. “The students are the experts in what they want and how they can get there. We want to empower them to do that.”

Associate Vice President for Student Affairs John Nonnamaker currently oversees the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Programs, the Office of Student Programs, the Lavin-Bernick Center and the Office of Orientation and Parent Programs.

Nonnamaker, however, will focus on strategic planning, assessment and branding of the division in the forthcoming months. As a result, a search process has begun to find a new assistant vice president for student life. Missie McGuire, former assistant vice president for student life, left Tulane during the fall semester due to a health condition.

All of Nonnamaker’s departments will report to the assistant vice president for student life, except for Orientation and Parent Programs, which Nonnamaker will retain.

Vice President for Student Affairs Dusty Porter said having all health departments under one umbrella will allow for consistency among them.

“We want to make sure we have capacity to engage in the kind of strategic planning to make sure we are thinking about and meeting the needs of our students and doing that well,” Porter said. “Given what we’ve moved through in the fall semester, I want to make sure we have a CAPS center that is congruent and on the same page as the Student Health Center and TheWELL, so we have a unified focus.”

Fitts announced at the Associated Student Body meeting Jan. 20 the formation of two task forces to analyze and enhance the student experience at Tulane. One will focus on undergraduates, and the other will look at the graduate and professional student experience.

Porter, as a member of the undergraduate task force, said he wants Nonnamaker’s strategic plan to be a part of the task force’s discussions.

“I hope what [the task force] comes up with can be enveloped into a strategic plan for the division, but I also want to make sure that the people who work in the division have the opportunity to talk about what our plan should be,” Porter said.

Some of Porter and Nonnamaker’s planned focuses include improving the divisions’ communication and media, a new onboarding program for new hires and promoting how monetary donations can benefit student life.

Nonnamaker is overseeing the search for the new assistant vice president for student life. Porter said around 30 people have applied and top candidates should visit Tulane in late March or April.