Interim dean of students intends to increase visibility, outreach for UA students
Tyler Besh / Arizona Daily Wildcat
Kendal Washington White, will serve as interim dean of students through the spring semester. A national search for a permanent successor is currently underway.
A national search for the new dean of students will take place in the next few weeks. Meanwhile, the interim dean is focusing on increasing visibility.
Kendal Washington White, former senior associate dean, was named the interim dean of students in December following Keith Humphrey’s acceptance of the position of vice president for student affairs at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo. White, who has served the UA since 1993, said she looks forward to the opportunity to act as the interim dean of students.
“I think that honestly, I’m really happy to have the opportunity to serve in the interim dean position,” White said. “Our office has been through lots of personnel changes and leadership changes. I just didn’t want our staff to have to grow accustomed to work with someone they haven’t worked with before, only to have to do that again when the permanent person gets hired.”
White detailed some goals she intends to pursue while acting as the interim dean of students.
“My goals in this interim period, are really to increase the visibility of the Dean of Students Office and do more education and outreach,” White said. “We’re going to do some workshop series where the campus community can know that we are a resource. Because a lot of people have no idea, when they report something to the Dean of Students Office, what happens after I report it. We want people to know, here is the process we go through. Here are the things that we do.”
Melissa Vito, UA vice president for student affairs, selected White as the interim dean of students in January. There will be a national search in the next few weeks for Humphrey’s permanent successor. For the search process, Vito will put together a committee that will include students, faculty and staff members.
Vito said she hopes to have a successor identified by the end of the spring term and who is able to start in July. In the meantime, Vito said she has high hopes for White to serve as the interim dean.
“She’s terrific. I’ve worked with Kendal for a long time,” said Vito. “She’s worked in a lot of different areas in the division. She’s worked with multi-cultural programs, she’s worked with student retention and success, she’s been in the Dean of Students Office for the past few years and has had different roles. She has a lot of good energy.”
White explained that she believes a national search will be good for the UA Dean of Students Office and hopes to help identify Humphrey’s successor.
“I think it would be great to have someone with some fresh perspective that comes from a different institution, that can bring some great ideas,” said White. “I think we do great work already, but it’s always fun to have someone else come in to say, ‘Help me understand why we’re doing this again?’”
Humphrey, who was selected as the dean of students in Oct. 2011, shared some words of wisdom for his successors.
“I would tell my successor to make sure that they connect with students, not just formal student leaders, but all students to ensure that the UA experience is the best that it can be,”
Humphrey said. “I would tell them that being a dean of students is a lot like being the secretary of state. There is often a lot of competing interests, all with the best intentions, at odd and your job is to bring groups together to come to an amicable resolution.”