The University of Connecticut’s Dean of Students Elly JB Daugherty meets monthly with a group of students, the Dean of Students Advisory Group, to gain a better understanding of students’ concerns and needs.
“It’s very much meant to be an open door [policy] that talks about things that matter to students and help me do my job better as dean of students,” DoS Daugherty said of the group.
As the dean of students, Daugherty believes it is important to frequently meet with students in person, which she is able to do whenever she holds DoS advisory group meetings.
“It’s really essential that if you’re going to do this job well, you need to get out of the office and get into the community, and live with those you serve,” Daugherty said.
Daugherty formed the group nine years ago when she first started working at the DoS office. Since then, the group’s discussions have inspired initiatives such as the Bias Action Group.
“Individuals on a previous advisory council had said, you should report the bias numbers [and] you should be more forthcoming about bias on our campus,” Daugherty said. “So I did [form a bias action group] and we now have a tab on the dean of students page that shows all that data.”
In the past, students in the DoS advisory group suggested that Daugherty take a more familiar speaking tone in her emails to the student body, a practice she has been following ever since.
“I’m trained as an academic like many of you right now,” Daugherty said. “A few years ago, the advisory group said, if you could just be the person we see every day when you message us, that would make a big difference.”
Daugherty said she enjoys writing her emails similarly to how she speaks to students.
“There’s very incomplete sentences in those emails, but I love writing them,” she added.
Popular topics of discussion in past years include the financial aid process, diversity and inclusion initiatives, task forces led by the DoS, mental health, construction and staff organizations, according to Daugherty.
Daugherty said the membership changes each year and that students are welcome to attend any meeting at any point.
“It’s, very intentionally, not a group that you need to audition for to get in,” Daugherty said. “This is really just an open door, it’s a time for students to come. There’s a loose commitment that we’ll come to every meeting if we can.”
The next meeting takes place Monday, Oct. 17 from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. in the conference room of the Wilbur Cross Building. There is also a virtual option for students at regional campuses. Additional details on the meeting and how to RSVP can be found on the DoS website.