During syllabus week some students will experience a whole lot of “new,” from figuring out that “easy” class is more challenging than expected to a student embracing their identity. The Dean of Students Office (DSO) coffers a range of resources to enhance students' success from an academic perspective to a community perspective.
“Our whole focus is on helping students succeed so we want students to feel welcome to share [their needs] with our staff,” said Vernon Hurte, dean of students.
The DSO offers resources ranging from student legal services, where attorneys are there to provide free and confidential legal advice to students, to the Center for LGBTQIA+ student success, a place where students within the LGBTQIA+ community can strengthen their academic and personal success.
“Communities like the The Center for LGBTQIA+, Multicultural Student Affairs and the Sloss Center for Women and Gender Equity really shrink the university from 35,000 students to a much more manageable size when you are able to meet people and ‘create your adventure,’” said Justin Brtek, student ambassador for the Dean of Students office and sophomore in actuarial science. “An example of a broad office is the academic success center; about 50% of the student body utilizes ASC in some capacity - that’s 15,000 students.”
These programs help students with different identities and cultures build their success and relationships within their community. The DSO also works with the city of Ames to welcome students who live off-campus. Hurte said the office continually hears feedback from the students in order to cater to their needs or create a new resource for new needs.
“We're always asking students one, how were the resources that were provided supporting them and their success and two, what are the other needs and the other resources that we don't have that students would find useful," Hurte said. "We're constantly looking at what resources we provide and even how we provide those resources."
The DSO also worked with Student Government to create a "Report It" website where students can go if they feel they do not have their needs met or there are incidents on campus that violate Iowa State conduct.
"We worked with Student Government to create a page that brings together all of the major reporting functions into one website," Hurte said.
The website was created for students to find a platform where all of the forms are in one area as opposed to going several areas. The forms can range from campus climate, where students can write about an incident that negatively impacts the university, to forms that report situations or areas that violate health and safety.