By Greg D'Avis
Arizona Daily Wildcat
As UA dean of students, William Riley said his part would be to handle the environment outside the classroom.
Riley, associate vice chancellor for student affairs and dean of students at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, spoke with several students at a forum yesterday in Gallagher Theatre. Riley is one of five candidates for the permanent University of Arizona dean of students position.
With a doctorate in counseling psychology from the University of Missouri-Columbia, Riley worked at the Missouri school in the student life area before moving on to assistant student affairs chancellor at the University of Wisconsin-White-water
He said his work at the Illinois school _ where he works with financial aid, counseling, minority student affairs and women's programs _ is very similar to the duties of the position here.
"There's a lot of commonality with programs in the dean of students office here," he said. "It's very much like this campus is, relative to its mission."
Kristin Major, one of the forum's mediators and ASUA programs and services vice president, asked Riley if there have been any proposed program cuts at Illinois similar to the recent recommended phase-outs here, and how the dean of students' office handled the situation.
Riley said the Illinois administration had proposed cutting the school's Social Work program because it was vocational rather than research-oriented. He said the students and faculty responded with objections and petitions, and the program is being maintained.
But Riley said he largely kept out of the dispute because his office is less involved with academic affairs.
Major also asked about faculty and student relations, and Riley responded that he encouraged faculty to interact with students in non-classroom situations.
"Students learn a lot more when they are receptive to learning," he said.
Riley described several programs at Illinois designed to increase communication between his office and students. Two groups at the school, the Lunch Bunch and Perspectives, meet monthly to eat and discuss issues, he said. The Lunch Bunch is designed to address campus health care and transportation, while Perspectives concentrates on race issues.
Riley also said the Illinois dean of students' office has established an "Emergency Dean" hotline program, which charges workers from the office to be available at all times to deal with student crises and concerns.
When asked if he believed the UA could implement a similar program, Riley said, "Absolutely. There isn't any reason why we can't do it here."
Petra Sternberg, an undeclared freshman, said such a program would help students to be more aware of university issues. Read Next Article