Dean of Students
The Dean of Students is responsible for administering the Office of Student Affairs and developing student policies, procedures, and extra-curricular programs in accordance with the vision, mission, values, strategic planning and program objectives of Union Theological Seminary. In collaboration with senior administration, the Dean of Students promotes a safe, healthy, and supportive atmosphere and community, and helps establish a student culture where equity, diversity and inclusion are encouraged.
1. Student Life and Extra-Curricular Programs: Collaborates with the Academic Office in developing and managing co-curricular and extracurricular learning and service opportunities. Plans and coordinates student events, awareness programs and educational workshops and retention activities to build and strengthen student capacity, and provides programmatic and budget support for Student Senate and student caucuses. Encourages students to utilize spiritual formation opportunities offered through the office of the Dean of Chapel. Provides primary administrative leadership for planning Orientation in consultation with the Dean and faculty, the Admissions office, the Assistant Dean and Registrar, and creates and supervises an Orientation student leadership team.
2. Residential Life: Collaborates with the Office of Housing and Campus Services in overseeing residential life. Trains and supervises Student Life Assistants (SLA’s).
3. International Students: Oversees International Student Services and serves as the Principle Designated School Official (PDSO) for the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP). Processes, monitors and manages international student immigration and related information in the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) database. Coordinates International Student Orientation. May serve as the Seminary’s Fulbright Program Advisor and advisor to other international programs as these are developed over time.
4. Student Health: Administers the student health insurance process of Columbia Student Health, Columbia Counseling and Psychological Services and the Alice! Health Program. Ensures compliance with immunization and health insurance enrollment requirements. Promotes sexual health education in collaboration with the Academic Affairs Office, the Office of Integrative and Field-Based Education, and the Office of Title IX.
5. Disability Services: Facilitates equal access for students with disabilities by coordinating accommodation and support services. Formulates, updates, and implements seminary disability policies and procedures, in consultation with the Academic Office, to ensure access to all aspects of seminary life for those living with disabilities by removing barriers to their fullest possible participation in the community. Refers students for appropriate professional services as needed for evaluation, and keeps accurate records of certification of students’ disability status. Promptly notifies and works with faculty and students to ensure reasonable accommodations for students in their academic work. Provides education and support for faculty, staff, and students around disability awareness in collaboration with the Student Disability Justice Caucus.
6. Student Support and Crisis Management: Administers the policies and regulations of the seminary as they pertain to students, including the facilitation of internal judicial and/or disciplinary procedures, in consultation with the Dean and Assistant Dean for Academic Administration. Provides emergency and short-term pastoral care to assess and refer for appropriate outside mental health including Columbia Counseling and Psychological Services, Columbia Sexual Violence Response, alcohol/drug and addiction services, HIV services, and/or other professional service providers as needed.
7. Career Services: Collaborates with the Office of Integrative and Field-Based Education and Alumni Director to provide students with vocational direction and career guidance, and encourages students to utilize spiritual vocational discernment opportunities offered through the office of the Dean of Chapel.
8. Communications: Oversees the Student Digest and Student Affairs webpages on seminary website, and on social media websites, in collaboration with the Union’s Office of Communications. Provides education and awareness around internet safety and respectful online and social media communication.
9. Regulatory and Policy: Manages compliance with relevant federal, state and local regulations, including but not limited to HIPAA, FERPA, Title IX, the American Disabilities Act (ADA), the Clery Act, and Dept. of Homeland Security. Develops and coordinates policies and procedures related to student life, including various Handbooks, and provides needed data for institutional accreditation (ATS and Middle States), in consultation with the Dean and Assistant Dean for Academic Administration.
10. Committees and Other Collaborations: Together with the Academic Dean, serves on the Executive Team, the Program and Academic Team, the Mid-Program Review Team, the Committee on Standing, the Campus Renewal/Space Planning Advisory Committee, the Admissions Committee, the student emergency financial assistance committee of the Financial Aid office, and other committees as assigned.
11. Professional Development: Attends conferences, trainings and workshops related to the professional competency areas for student life/student affairs practitioners in higher education and graduate theological institutions.
12. May include other duties as identified and assigned.
Knowledge, Skills and Abilities:
• Master’s degree in education, counseling, social work, or other relevant master’s degree; graduate theological studies and/or knowledge of graduate theological education desirable.
• Minimum 5+ years’ experience in student services, counseling, crisis management, and/or related fields, or equivalent combination of education and experience required.
• Knowledge and/or experience in administering disability policies and programs desirable.
• Knowledge and/or experience with international students/immigration services desirable.
• Demonstrated competence and sensitivity in working in a multiply diverse context including racial-ethnic, gender, sexual, and inter-religious/spiritual diversity.
• Commitment to working collaboratively and inter-dependently. Ability to establish priorities among various tasks and to innovate as needs evolve.
• Demonstrated capacity for maintaining confidential communications and records and experience providing confidential advising/counseling.
• Managerial and interpersonal skills, including the capacity to supervise, build and lead a • Student Affairs/student services team of staff and students, and to plan and coordinate student events.
In 1836, a small group of lay people and ministers, feeling “deeply impressed by the claims of the world upon the church,” came together to found Union Theological Seminary in the City of New York (Union). Today, Union lives out this call to service by training people of all faiths and none who are called to the work of social justice in the world. Union students are dedicated to an integrated journey of intellect, spirit, and community to discover and define the faith and values that will sustain their vocation. Pastor, community leader, professor, performer, doctor, lawyer, educator, artist – whatever it may be. The city of New York, far from serving as a backdrop, gives students direct access to the flux and flurry of the complex interactions and struggles present in urban contexts. Union’s founders placed the seminary in New York specifically because “large cities furnish many peculiar facilities and advantages for conducting theological education.”
Union’s ecumenical and interfaith commitment grows deeper every year. Union students seek to address not only the questions facing Christians, Jews, Muslims, Hindus, and Buddhists, but also the questions facing the entire world as it becomes more global, international, and secular. Union aspires to provide an education that is foundational, interreligious, boundary-crossing, world-changing, counter- cultural, and communal.
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