As students unpack boxes, meet new roommates and prepare to delve headlong into the fall semester, USF welcomes new Dean of Students Kevin Banks as the head of a new team of administrators working in Student Affairs.
Banks’ diverse background serves as a healthy foundation for the weight of his new responsibilities. His career started in juvenile corrections, where he first became familiar with the excuse “I didn’t know” – a phrase he says still haunts his university interactions.
As for his position at USF, Banks says he wants to encourage contact between himself and students.
“I hope to change the title from ‘dean of students’ to ‘dean for students,'” Banks said. “I want to be an advocate for students when they need to try to get through bureaucracy, help them make sense of that maze that is sometimes put out there for students to navigate. I will be a facilitator for conversations on the student experience.”
Banks is not the only new administrator in Student Affairs; the positions of associate dean of engagement and involvement and associate dean of Greek Life were created this summer.
Regina Hyatt is the new associate dean of engagement and involvement. She describes her as providing “leadership to a team of staff in a number of areas including the Office of Student Programs, Volunteer USF and student organizations as we move into a new (Phyllis P. Marshall Center and a new frame of thinking about engaging students in campus life.”
The Marshall Center houses this new team’s office. They have been forced to occasionally double up because of a lack of space, but Banks doesn’t mind the inconvenience.
“I prefer to be in the Marshall Center. It is a hub of student activity and allows me to keep my finger on the pulse of the campus,” he said.
Megan Vadnais will fill the new Associate Dean of Greek Life. Vadnais will “work with the fraternities and sororities and their leadership to help develop initiatives that will help the chapters improve and the community improve to move forward and bring value to the USF community.”
Banks stressed that the first few months will be a period of acclimation for everyone and he plans to have “town meetings” to introduce himself and meet Greek leadership, student organization leadership and students in general.
During this early period, Hyatt hopes to “make a thorough assessment of her programs and services” by using national surveys, focus groups with students and individual assessments.
Vadnais looks to start by helping to strengthen the link between the Greek community and the USF and greater Tampa communities. She also plans to develop new initiatives to promote leadership development.