DOSFBTwitter-01The beginnings of the professional field now known as student affairs can be traced to 1890 at Harvard University when then President Charles Eliot “asked LeBaron Russell Briggs, a young and popular English instructor, to serve as a ‘student dean’… to look after undergraduates” (Sandeen, 2004, p. 30). Later Deans of Men and Deans of Women were foundational in the professionalization of the field and the establishment of practices for higher education student services. They also formed professional associations, influenced early research on students, and urged the academy to consider the “whole student.” In short, what is now known as the Dean of Students could be considered the quintessential student affairs role.

Today, much in the higher education landscape has shifted and the Dean of Students may be more central than ever. As compared to previous Deans, on many college and university campuses today’s Dean of Students is now:

  • responsible for addressing a more complex set of student concerns,
  • beholden to new constituencies on and off campus, and
  • experiencing oversight within a more strict regulatory and legal context.

On this episode of Student Affairs Live, host Heather Shea will discuss with a large panel of current and recent Deans of Students how and why the Dean of Students role has changed and the leadership skills and professional competencies present-day Deans of Students need to be successful in this multifaceted role. Joining Heather to discuss the shifting responsibilities of this complex position are Craig Chatriand, Tim Gordon, Paul Shang, Kendal Washington White, and Lee Burdette Williams.

Please tune in to this free webcast live at 1 p.m. ET on Wednesday, April 5, 2017 by visiting or return to this page at any time to watch the episode archive. No advance registration is required.


Episode Host

Heather Shea

Heather Shea

Heather Shea's career in student affairs spans nearly two decades and five different campuses, and involves experience in many different functional areas including residence life, multicultural affairs, women’s centers, student activities, leadership development, and commuter/nontraditional student services–she identifies as a student affairs generalist. Heather is currently serving as the director of Women*s Student Services in the Division of Student Affairs at Michigan State University having just completed her Ph.D. in MSU's HALE (Higher, Adult, and Lifelong Education) Program. She completed her master’s degree in Student Affairs in Higher Education at Colorado State University in 2000. Connect with Heather on Twitter at @heather_shea_


Craig Chatriand

Craig Chatriand currently serves as the Associate Dean for Community Standards and Compliance at Whitworth University in Spokane, Washington. Prior to his position at Whitworth, Chatriand served as the Associate Dean of Student and briefly as the Dean of Students at the University of Idaho. He has also worked at Iowa State University where he received his Ph.D. in Educational Leadership and the University of Northern Colorado where he received his M.A. in Educational Leadership. He has experience in student conduct, residence life, institutional research, academic support, and Title IX.


Timothy Gordon

Dr. Timothy W. Gordon is currently the Dean of Students, Deputy IX Coordinator, and part time faculty in the School of Education at University of Wisconsin Milwaukee, an urban state institution with over 26,000 students.  He is responsible for providing leadership for the Dean of Student’s Office and the Student Life Centers at the university.  He also serves as a member of a number of campus level committees including the Chancellor’s Taskforce on Mental Health, The Alcohol and Other Drug Awareness Taskforce, and Retention Executive Committee.  Tim is also the American College Personnel Association’s (ACPA) Director on the board for the Council for the Advancement of Standards in Higher Education (CAS).


Paul Shang

Paul Shang retired from the position of assistant vice president and dean of students at the University of Oregon in February 2016.  He was privileged to serve in similar positions at three other institutions across the United States of various sizes and missions.  During his career, Paul frequently had the opportunity to reflect on his own interactions while a college student with his own dean of students.  Paul greatly enjoyed ACPA, his professional association, his colleagues, and the students he served.


Kendal Washington White

Kendal Washington White is the Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs and Enrollment Management and Dean of Students at the University of Arizona. Kendal leads the Campus Life area which includes Campus Health, Residence Life, Disability Resources, Student Media, and the Dean of Students Office. The partnership with the University of Arizona Police Department is critical in ensuring that members of our community can effectively and seamlessly engage with law enforcement and administrative procedures.


Lee Burdette Williams

Lee Burdette Williams is Director of Higher Education Training and Development for the College Autism Network and a lecturer in the Higher Education and Student Affairs program at the University of Vermont.  She has worked in student affairs for almost 30 years, most recently as Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students at Wheaton College (MA) and Dean of Students at the University of Connecticut.  She is both a frequent contributor to national publications and a speaker and presenter on topics that include student culture, mental health, sexual assault response and autism in college students.