An ideal dean of students

A new dean has the opportunity to fulfill the promise of new initiatives already set in motion.

Daily Editorial Board

With the Vice Provost for Student Affairs and Dean of Students Jerry Rinehart stepping down, the University of Minnesota has conducted a search to fill his position.

The Office for Student Affairs oversees a wide range of important aspects of the University, including Boynton Health Service, University Student Legal Service, student government and the student services fees process, among others. The position demands an administrator that can serve as both an effective manager and an advocate for students. 
Although the position would certainly be demanding at any university, an urban setting presents additional challenges. A dean that recognizes the differences between such an urban university and a university in a suburban or small-town setting could help students take advantage of the benefits of being located in the Twin Cities.
With the construction of the light rail, much more of the city will be open to easier commuting for students, providing relief from rapidly rising housing prices due to the saturated rental market in neighborhoods adjacent to the University. However, continued engagement with the Metropolitan Council will be essential to ensure that the investment is used to its full potential — including service hours that benefit students hoping to be involved with campus life in the evenings and on weekends.
New mental health initiatives in the works at Boynton as a result of additional student fees will also need a strong advocate in the administration to fully realize the benefits — both to students facing mental health issues and the resulting impact on campus safety.
Finally, any candidate must also bear in mind that they work on behalf of a diverse student body — not only of age and gender — but also of place in life. Graduate and professional students are as much an integral part of the University as each year’s freshman class.