Division of Student Affairs hosts first open forum for dean of students candidates


James Hintz, the director of Leadership and Professional Development Initiative at Purdue University and assistant to the vice provost for student life, speaks to students about possibly becoming the dean of students at Kent State University at the Kent State student center on Feb. 14, 2017.

Addie Gall

The Division of Student Affairs has narrowed their search down to three finalists for dean of students and will be having open forums for students to provide feedback this week.

The first forum was Tuesday evening. Candidate James Hintz discussed how he would help serve an engaged and diverse student population.

Hintz is currently the director of Leadership and Professional Development Initiative at Purdue University and assistant to the vice provost for Student Life.

Students asked Hintz questions about motivating leadership in students, the importance of co-curricular experience and advocating for study abroad and cultural emergence.

If he becomes dean of students, Hintz said the first thing he will do is spend a lot of time initially getting to know campus and talking to students about concerns and ideas to better understand what their experience is like at the university.

“Interacting with students and getting a sense of what students want, getting a sense of what staff understands about the context of being a student here, is really how you create programs and ideas to really make this place distinct,” Hintz said.

In the past, Hintz has advocated for students, specifically commuters, despite administration pushback.

He reflected back on the time when he worked at the University of Connecticut and a tropical storm left many commuters without clean water, electricity and food. Hintz worked through dining services to provide these communities with food and tanker trucks of water.

Hintz plans on continuing to advocate for students if he becomes dean of students.

“I think there’s opportunities to have a diverse campus; it makes for a rich learning environment,” Hintz said. “I think the political fire right now is really challenging, not only for this campus, but many campuses across the country. I think it’s important for us to reinforce and think about how students are welcome on campuses that we are at.”

Hintz said he can’t necessarily do it all overnight, but he will work hard to advocate for students.

After the forum sophomore communications major JaLynn Hairston said Hintz can bring a “sense of commuter community to campus and has the potential of being a liaison between administration and students.”

“I read his dissertation and really enjoyed that it is geared toward first generation college students because I am one,” senior fashion merchandising major Asha Bowens said. “I think he has the potential to help bridge the divide across cultures.”

Michael Shutt, senior director for Community at Emory University, will be at the next forum on Wednesday at 5 p.m. in the Westfield Insurance Campus Tour Center in the Kent Student Center.

The final forum will take place Thursday at 5 p.m. with the final candidate, Lamar Hylton. Hylton is currently the assistant vice provost for Student Life in the Office of Student Affairs at the University of Minnesota.

Addie Gall is the social sciences reporter, contact her at [email protected].