The University of Iowa welcomed Dr. Lyn Redington as the new Dean of Students in August 2015. I sat down with Lyn to learn more about her perspective on the Office of the Dean of Students and their impact on campus.
What's your background?
Most recently, I was the Director of Residence Life at the University of Northern Iowa. There, I also served as Interim Dean of Students and as an adjunct faculty member in their Higher Education Student Affairs program. Prior to UNI, I worked at the University of Arizona, Indiana University, and the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater.
What have you taken away from your working experiences?
When I got to college, I realized that this was it. I had found my home. What I appreciated most about school was being able to see the love of learning -- inside and outside the classroom. This love of learning resonates in everything students get involved in, the opportunities they have and take advantage of, and the energy they bring and this motivates me to keep going. My experiences allow me to try and best serve students so they can learn as they grow in their college experiences.
What philosophy do you live by when working with students?
I always try to assume good will and good intentions. I believe we always try our best. My job is to challenge and to support students. I hope to challenge and support them so they can and will make their own way.
Ultimately, I am able to live what I love, and I love what I live. I want our students to do that as well.
What do you do to show students the positive aspects of the work you do?
I want to be visible and to be present. In an effort to get out and meet students, I attend various student events. I want to show them that I truly do care about who they are, what they're doing, and that I care for them as people. I'm trying to provide support for students who might need that support in a variety of ways. It could be that they're just struggling with academics or with interacting with a friend or roommate. It could be that they're not even sure where to go -- I'm here to show them that the people I work with in the Office of the Dean of Students serve to help students navigate through the university.
How can students collaborate with you to improve policies and procedures?
If we can talk to one another, things become much easier. I understand the ease of email and social media, but if we actually talk to one another about what we're doing, what our struggles are, and what we're excited about, it makes it easier to move things forward. When I think about policies or procedures, it's really about figuring out where we are now and where we want to be. In other words, how we get from point A to point B, hopefully through collaboration and cooperation. When students say "this isn't working" or "this doesn't make sense," I hope they will share that with me so we can make this experience for all students better.
How can student leaders on campus contribute to student success?
One of the things I really like on this campus is that there are always so many events going on. We have 32,000 students -- one size will not fit all. Students want to be involved in theatre, the arts, Greek life, athletics, poetry slams... the list goes on. Whatever the interest, there really is something for everyone here. If someone hasn't found what they are looking for, say something. Let's see how we can support that. As I said, I love being invited to things. When I'm invited to these events, I know that I have an opportunity to be present within the community beyond the borders of each organization at least for a little while.
What sort things would you like to see student organizations do more of in the future?
I would love to see various student organizations partner together. For example, maybe Fraternity & Sorority Life and the Association of Residence Halls can come together and plan a big event to promote student success and engagement. I think it would be really cool to see the boundaries of our student organizations be more fluid.
Anything else you'd like the students to know about you?
The Dean of Students Office is much more than student conduct - it's student care, student assistance, and student outreach. Our goal is to celebrate and to support student success in and out of the classroom. I hope students will allow us to do that.
Read more about Dean Redington on Iowa Now