By Adam Hartmann
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Melissa Vito said her message is simple: the UA must sharpen its focus because it cannot be all things to all people.
Open forums for Vito, the second of the five finalists for the University of Arizona's permanent dean of students position, have been held on campus the past few days.
Vito, a 1974 UA graduate, has been the acting dean of students since August. She took over the office after then-acting dean Johnetta Brazzell left to take a position at her alma mater, Atlanta's Spelman College
"We've realized through the past years of budget cuts and constraints that we can't do everything," Vito said. "The institutional context and message from the provost have been that this was going to happen."
She said the administration must communicate to new students that some areas of study may have to be eliminated to increase departmental efficiency.
Minority student services also need attention from the Dean of Students office, Vito said.
She has created student advisory committees to research the sentiment of minority students on campus. The committees will then report their findings to UA President Manuel T. Pacheco, she said.
Vito also has expanded the Faculty Fellows program, which allows faculty to meet one-on-one with students, into the African American and Hispanic/Chicano student centers.
"They are really important to the success of minority students," Vito said of the centers. "A lot of the success for minority students depends on their success in the classroom."
Since 1974, Vito has served as the associate dean of students, director of student activities, director of new student orienta- tion and she has worked in the financial aid office at the UA. She is currently earning $63,000 as the acting dean.
Early reviews of Vito by students and staff have been positive.
Estelle Bornhurst, College of Medicine bookstore director, gave Vito a "10" for her performance in their meeting.
T.J. Trujillo, newly-elected president of the Associated Students of the UA, said Vito is concerned about students' needs.
"We definitely need a strong student advocate at the administration level," Trujillo said. "She seems to be a true friend in the administration."
Following Vito will be William Riley, dean of students at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. A student forum for him will be held today at Gallagher Theatre. Read Next Article