SF State recently welcomed a new Assistant Dean of Students, who seeks to bring a fresh perspective this spring semester by engaging with students on a personal level.
Within his new position in the Deans Office, Brian Stuart will manage and oversee incoming students, such as freshmen and transfers, to ensure their well being and security.
“The position was re-purposed to provide vision and leadership for the development and enhancement of the first-year experience at SF State,” said Dean of Students Joseph Greenwell
Returning to his Northern California roots, Stuart arrived a few weeks ago from Clemson University in South Carolina where he earned his masters degree in Council Education. He continued his work there for six years, most recently as the associate director of new student and family programs.
Stuart has worked closely with programs like Student Affairs and Enrollment and various faculty and staff within the Dean of Offices. He says his first and foremost priority with his new title is creating a more interactive relationship between him and students.
“I’m really student oriented,” said Stuart. “I want to be an advocate for new students—a support system to help solve problems and work on one-on-ones.”
Coming in halfway through the academic year, Stuart hopes to utilize his unfamiliarity with campus life as a way to connect with new students feeling similar anxieties. Although events and activities to kick off spring semester are of significant priority, Stuart says he acknowledges that students are the most important piece of the equation.
“Nothing really matters if the students aren’t involved, it starts with them,” said Stuart. “You can plan and coordinate a great event, but if the students aren’t interested and don’t want to see it, then what’s the point?”
With spring semester plans still in early stages of development, specific details are not solidified yet, according to Stuart. However, he hopes to impress during Welcome Days in Fall 2014, which take place a week before school starts and focus on new students and their families.
“It is my hopes, that the impact of Welcome Days will help increase campus engagement with students and class identity,” said Stuart. “With the appropriate mix of social activities, information about academic life and campus services, students begin to see themselves as active participants in the SF State community.”
Stuart says he would like to create peer center at SF State, that could provide an anchor for new students who feel lost. Here, students could find mentors to confide in and help people engage more with campus activities.
“With his expertise in student retention and the first-year experience for new students, we are very excited to have Brian join our team at SF State,” said Jo Volkert, interim vice president of student affair and enrollment management in a recent email.