Coffee with the Dean!
After this year's HECA conference in Dallas, I had the good fortune of driving down to San Antonio to visit Trinity University. Part of my campus visit included having coffee with the Dean of Admissions, Justin Doty. A member of Trinity's Admissions Office since 2000, Dean Doty has seen it all when it comes to the college admission process, and he generously took time from his busy schedule to discuss the importance of student well-being at Trinity and beyond.
At the top of my list of questions for him was how Trinity supports its students, whether that means assisting a student with learning differences or making sure that a student who may be struggling receives the necessary attention to succeed. I was thrilled to learn that Trinity is part of a small but growing number of higher educational institutions that have changed the name of their "Office of Disability Services" to an "Student Accessibility Services" (Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts is another such school that immediately comes to mind).
Dean Doty and I agreed that words are important, and they are particularly crucial when it comes to de-stigmatizing having a learning difference. To that end, Trinity has created a learning hub where ALL students are encouraged to go to find help for any academic issue that they may have, whether it's receiving tutoring on a difficult subject, assistance working out accommodations for a learning difference, or having someone proofread a research paper. Housed in their library, the Tiger Learning Commons gives all students a safe space to receive whatever academic boost they may need.
Yet, what REALLY impressed me during our conversation was Dean Doty's description of the weekly administrator meetings, called the "Student Success Team." Members from Student Life, Residential Life, Accessibility Services
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Maruta Z. Vitols is an independent educational consultant in the metro-Boston area. When not helping students achieve their dreams, she enjoys hanging out with her dog, exploring new places with her husband, and doing yoga.