UMass Amherst Names Interim Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs; Committee to Study Unit Organization

AMHERST, Mass. - University of Massachusetts Chancellor David K. Scott has named F. Javier Cevallos, current chair of the department of Spanish and Portuguese, as interim vice chancellor for student affairs, effective Aug. 1, 1998 to July 31, 1999.

Cevallos has been a faculty member at UMass since 1984 and has served as a department head (spring ''98), as secretary of the Faculty Senate (1992-94), and as faculty advisor to the provost (1994-96). He was an American Council on Education Fellow in the office of the president at Wesleyan University (1996-97).

Scott''s actions came in the wake of the departure of Tom Robinson, vice chancellor for student affairs for the past six years, who has accepted a position at Purdue University.

Scott said he has asked Cevallos to work closely with Deputy Chancellor Marcellette G. Williams, Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Cora B. Marrett, and Vice Chancellor for Administration and Finance Paul J. Page, whose areas are closely linked with the areas overseen by the division of student affairs. Scott said he expects Cevallos and the other three to function as a team along with student affairs staff, especially the administrators who report directly to the vice chancellor for student affairs.

"This arrangement will, I believe, be useful in continuing the work begun under Vice Chancellor Robinson''s leadership of establishing linkages of various administrative areas of the University with student affairs," Scott said.

Scott also named a committee to review the future organization of the division of student affairs. The committee is to begin work as soon as possible with the goal to complete its work by Feb. 1, 1999, and to implement whatever structure is adopted by Sept. 1, 1999. The committee''s charge is to come up with recommendations on what type of organizational structure would best serve students in the near and long-term future.

Margaret A. Jablonski, a visiting assistant professor in the School of Education who has had extensive experience in student affairs at several universities, will chair the 20-member committee.

"Our fundamental aim is to ensure the high quality of the total student experience," Scott said. "Providing students a top-quality education along with an integrated array of activities and services is our primary goal."

Jablonski has both a bachelor''s and a master''s degree from UMass and an Ed.D degree from Boston University. She was associate dean for student affairs at MIT for four years and assistant dean for residential services at Worcester Polytechnic Institute. She was also victim assistance program coordinator in the police department at Boston University, where she was also assistant director of housing. And, she was family housing coordinator and director of Greek Affairs at UMass in the early ''80s. She is currently on the faculty for the graduate program in policy and leadership studies in the School of Education, where she taught a course this past spring in student affairs management.

She was on the board of directors of the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators (1996-98), the leading student affairs professional association in the country.

Scott said: "Professor Jablonski brings a diverse variety of experiences in student-related issues - and in higher education in general - to the committee."

Scott expects the committee to study organizational models of student affairs'' divisions at other institutions, although he noted that "a great deal of imaginative thinking has gone into the University''s current organizational structure under the leadership of Vice Chancellor Robinson."

As it is currently constituted, the division of student affairs oversees a wide variety of student-related services such as the dean of students office; housing - including family housing and a child-care center besides the residence halls; health services; fraternities and sororities; career services, disability services, admissions, financial aid, an employee assistance program, public safety, various cultural and student support centers and programs; commuter services; the Everywoman''s Center; the environmental health and safety program; and campus activities such as student businesses, registered student organizations, the Daily Collegian, and WMUA radio station, among many others.

Scott said Cevallos and the interim management team will work closely with the committee studying the organization to share information as they try to determine what structure makes the most sense for future students at the University.

Scott also points out that a separate committee is looking into the organizational structure of the vice chancellery for research to see how this area, too, best fits with his often-stated goal of integrating education, research, and outreach.

He said: "It is important to give student affairs the same kind of scrutiny that the research area is undergoing. Our aim is to build on the foundation now in place and to prepare for the next century by examining carefully current and future needs."