New Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs appointed, effective Jan. 1, 2021

Dear Campus Community,

Michael Patterson

After a national search that garnered over 100 applications, I am very pleased that our successful candidate for the Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs is our own Michael Patterson, currently the Director of Student Activities and Union Services. Mike brings 18 years of Student Affairs experience, from both SUNY New Paltz and from Monmouth University in New Jersey. He is ABD for his Ed.D. in Higher Education Administration through Northeastern University with plans to defend his dissertation this year. Mike has a demonstrated history of supporting student engagement and a sense of belongingness, innovative programming and problem solving, and a commitment to assessment and continuous improvement. Mike will serve as the Director for the Center for Student Engagement when it is formed on July 1, 2020 and will transition to the Assistant Vice President role on Jan. 1, 2021.

As indicated in President Christian’s message, Linda Eaton has agreed to stay on as the Associate Vice President for Student Affairs until Dec. 31, 2020. I appreciate Linda’s commitment to the institution at this uncertain time. Linda’s extended service provides continuity to those areas under her purview, while providing an opportunity to enact most of a planned reorganization for Student Affairs.

The Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs is a modified position that will oversee the new Center for Student Engagement, Residence Life, Student Association and the Center for Student Media. The newly formed Center for Student Engagement will be responsible for orientation, new student programs, leadership development, sororities and fraternities, civic and community service, intercultural relations, and student union programming and operations.

The Center for Student Development and Student Activities and Union Services will be dissolved, with staff from those departments moving to the Center for Student Engagement, along with Erica Wagner, Service Learning Coordinator from the Career Resource Center. An announcement with details regarding staffing for the Center will be sent later this spring. Michelle Combs, Director of the Center for Student Development, will become the new Director of Student Conduct, reporting to Robin Cohen-La Valle.  Robin’s title will change to Assistant Vice President and Dean of Students and in addition to supervising Student Conduct she will continue to oversee the Disability Resource Center, with added responsibility for the Student Health Center and the Psychological Counseling Center. The Career Resource Center will report directly to me. These changes will take effect July 1, 2020.

I would like to thank the Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs search committee, and particularly chair Mark McFadden, Director of the Career Resource Center, for their excellent work and timing; completing on-campus interviews just before spring break.

Please join me in congratulating Mike on his new role, and in thanking Linda for postponing her retirement.

Stephanie Blaisdell, Ph.D.
Vice President for Student Affairs