AMHERST, Mass. - Thomas B. Robinson, vice chancellor for student affairs at the University of Massachusetts since 1992, has announced he will resign his position to assume the post of vice president for student services at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Ind. Robinson will leave his post at UMass in mid-August.
"I have prospered professionally and personally during my six years at UMass," Robinson says. "During this time we faced many challenges, but also many opportunities. I am very grateful for the support, advice, and encouragement that I have received from many colleagues. UMass is a wonderful university in so many ways, and I have very much enjoyed my association with students, faculty, staff, and administrative colleagues."
"Tom Robinson has brought order and stability to an area that was in a lot of turmoil when he arrived on campus," says Chancellor David K. Scott. "At the same time, he has brought about a number of very significant changes at the University and has been out of the gate early on issues such as enrollment management, which he even discussed with me on my very first day as chancellor. "I have always especially admired the way Tom built bridges across executive areas and forged linkages across the campus, truly blurring the boundaries between areas. I am sorry to see him leave, but I congratulate him on his move to Purdue, a major powerhouse university."
An interim vice chancellor will be named later this summer. A national search will be conducted to appoint a permanent successor to Robinson. The vice chancellor for student affairs oversees all aspects of student life at UMass including admissions and financial aid, public safety, housing services, the office of the dean of students, campus activities, University Health Services, and environmental health and safety.
Among his major accomplishments while at UMass, Robinson cites the restructuring of the division of student affairs. Following three major program reviews – University Health Services, Housing Services, and Student Activities – student affairs was reorganized into affinity clusters and a management team which includes the associate and assistant vice chancellors was instituted. A new enrollment management strategy, in partnership with academic affairs, has also been implemented, which, according to Robinson, enables the University to be more effective in attracting and retaining students. more Robinson to leave UMass
Additionally, Robinson notes that in collaboration with the division of administration and finance, he initiated a Continuous Quality Improvement (CQI) program. Student affairs staff as well as student leaders participated, he says, "with a primary goal to be more responsive to student needs." Robinson also mentioned his efforts to change the way the Student Activities Trust Fund is structured and the way in which co-curricular programs and activities are funded on the campus.
"In general, I feel I’ve provided leadership in opening lines of communication and breaking down barriers on campus," Robinson says. "I’ve worked to provide an impetus for greater collaboration and partnership among staff and constituent groups. I’ve also tried to foster a sense of reason in addressing issues of diversity and multiculturalism and in providing greater support to ALANA (African, Latino, Asian, Native-American) students."
The Student Government Association at UMass presented Robinson with its first Administrator of the Year Award in 1996. Robinson was previously vice president for student affairs at California State Polytechnic University in Pomona, Calif., for three years prior to accepting his current post at UMass. He currently serves as chair of the Health Education and Leadership Program (HELP) Senior Student Affairs Officers Work Group, sponsored by the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA) in partnership with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control. HELP is aimed at making education for HIV prevention a high priority for college and university leaders and policy makers.
Robinson is also a member of the Council of Student Affairs executive committee of the National Association of State Universities and Land Grant Colleges. Purdue University is a public land-grant research university with a total enrollment of more than 66,000 students for a five-campus system. The main campus in West Lafayette has an enrollment of more than 35,000, of which 29,100 are undergraduates.