Position of Vice-Rector for Student Affairs created and filled

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Vice-Rector for Student Affairs, Damian Medina. / Photo submitted by Damian Medina.

By: Haley Hersey, News editor

The University of Southern Maine (USM) has created and staffed a new position called Vice-Provost for Student Affairs. Damian Medina, ailing from Texas, was hired for the job. Since September 15, Medina has been active in her role.

The job description for the Vice-President, Student Affairs is as follows: “Under the direction of the President, the Vice-President, Student Affairs will oversee the planning, development, implementation and advice on programs, services. , activities and processes for students in their university life, including student conduct and community norms, identity-based experiences, sexual violence, Title IX, leadership development, cross-cultural student affairs, student government, student organizations, disability services, health and counseling services, residence life and housing, veteran services and other areas of student resources. The Vice-Rector will be responsible for helping to realize the full potential of a combined academic and student affairs division, including the integration of learning opportunities into the student experience in alignment with the academic vision and strategic plan. of USM.

The research began in early June and ended in August. A research committee was made up of Associate Vice-President for Equity, Inclusion and Community Impact Idella Glenn; Director of Housing and Residential Life Christine Lowery; Student Engagement and Leadership Coordinator Jill Beuning; Leadership Studies Department Director and Associate Professor Dan Jenkins and educational advisor Lynsey Thibeault. Between August 9 and 20, five candidates were taken to visit USM campuses.

As for his thoughts on the new Vice-President of Student Affairs, Dean and Executive Vice-President of Academic and Student Affairs, Jeannine Diddle Uzzi said: “He’s really fun, he has a ton of energy. It’s great for thinking outside the box. He spent over 15 years, I believe, between 10 and 20 years in global contexts. He never had the luxury of having an experienced university team. He has always built his own team in an international school. What this taught him to be very creative. I discovered he had a unique perspective on student affairs.

“I personally called all candidate references because I thought this position was so important,” Uzzi said. She said Medina’s credentials indicated that he could follow student development theory (programming residences, teaching, etc.) and translate for today’s modern diverse communities. “I was just thinking, we need the person who is ready for the students that USM has today, not the students that USM had 30 years ago.”

Damian Medina visited 64 countries and territories on six continents, where he immersed himself in their cultures. He enjoys biking, hiking, hiking, Broadway shows, and board games. As someone who doesn’t drink coffee, Medina said people often wonder where all of her energy comes from. Being around people, especially students, is what energizes him. For 13 years he has been working abroad. His last post was on Assistant Dean for Student Affairs at Duke Kunshan University (DKU) in China.

Medina is a strong believer in the rules of gold and platinum. He explained that the golden rule is to treat others as you want to be treated, but the platinum rule is to treat others as they want to be treated.

He said: “I think sometimes we live in our own bubble. That’s what a university does, it breaks this bubble.

Having recently moved to Maine, Medina said, “The Portland vibe is a conglomerate of multiple mini-cities in one. The food scene is amazing.

One of the first things Medina wants to start at USM is a weekly dinner meeting with the vice-provost of student affairs at Brooks Dining Hall. Residential and commuter students will be invited to join Medina for dinner and chat. Meals will be held during regular dining room hours, but students are responsible for their meals if they attend. Basically he plans to find a big table and eat once a week and invite students to join him.

“No matter how busy my schedule is, I want to make myself available to the students,” Medina said. “I want to make sure the students feel like they have the capacity to reach out to one of the leaders on campus. ”

In addition to these open dinners, he plans to hold monthly thematic meetings that will cater to various student groups such as athletes, commuters, student group leaders, etc. Medina will contact the counselors, provide food and have open discussions with the students. about their concerns.

“It’s my passion, isn’t it, working with students. When I saw this job description, I saw “Student Focused Everyday”. I had never really seen this concentration like I had here, ”said Medina. “Then I get here, and that just confirms my passion. Knowing that USM truly meets the needs of students – coming from a background that is not privileged, resonated with me.

Medina implores the students to ask themselves, “When you leave USM, are you a better person than when you arrived?” Its goal is to help students prepare to become global citizens when they leave USM. “I challenge every student to truly embrace all aspects of USM for all that it offers. USM will only improve if students get involved.

“The minute he got here he was heading for student events,” Uzzi said. “We are very lucky to have him.

The Vice-Rector for Student Affairs, Damian Medina, can be reached by email at [email protected]


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