A reorganization in the way student services are delivered at East Tennessee State University will result in more opportunities for leadership, engagement and success, according to a recently named vice president at the school.
According to the school, the office of financial aid, the Roan Scholars Leadership Program and campus services for veterans have joined the Division of Student Affairs. The realignment allows for the integration of the office of financial aid with a broad range of student service units in the division.
As part of that change, Joe Sherlin has been named vice president for student affairs and is reporting directly to ETSU President Brian Noland.
“I think from the day he arrived on campus, Dr. Noland has stressed the importance of our university services and programs that support and engage students, and the importance of the university experience of students outside the classroom as critical components that come out of their success,” Sherlin said.
Sherlin has been serving as vice provost and dean of students, a position he had held since 2009. He came to the university in 2002 and has held the posts of assistant dean of students, dean of students and associate vice president and dean of students during the intervening years.
Sherlin said earlier this week that he thought the reorganization positions the student affairs division to be in a leadership role in terms of campus planning with regards to student success.
“We want to create and build student engagement on the campus,” he said. “We want to build services and programs that connect our students to each other and the institution, so (we’re) expanding our student organization life, expanding student leadership opportunities (and) expanding campus recreation opportunities. All of those experiences that students have outside the classroom contribute to their satisfaction, their connection to the institution and their success.”
Concerning inside the classroom, Sherlin wants to continue partnering with the Division of Academic Affairs on academic support initiatives that will promote persistence to graduation.
Student services is a broad term that includes housing and residence life, recreation, financial aid and other things that students use throughout their time at ETSU.
Sherlin said the Roan Scholars program can serve as a catalyst to offer leadership, service and engagement initiatives to the broader student community.
“I think there are opportunities to expand our leadership development across the student population, and we want to grow our leadership activities at the university and Roan Scholars has great experience in this area,” Sherlin said.
Bringing services other than enrollment services for veterans into student affairs will allow more attention to be paid to this growing student population, Sherlin said.
“Our veterans population has grown significantly and I think it’s going to continue to grow,” Sherlin said. “And I believe bringing campus services for veterans into the division, we’ll be able to better assess the needs of our growing population, better able to provide comprehensive services on the campus for our veterans and be better able to ensure their success at the institution.”
It has been about 10 years since there was a vice president in student affairs.
Sherlin said having such a senior-level position allows a more direct line to Noland for student services and more direct input in campus planning.