The Student Voice of Fordham Lincoln Center

The Observer

The Student Voice of Fordham Lincoln Center

The Observer

The Student Voice of Fordham Lincoln Center

The Observer

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University Searches for New Vice President for Student Affairs

Students and staff have joined the committee which is chaired by John Cecero, S.J., vice president for mission integration and ministry
The+new+vice+president+of+student+affairs+will+be+selected+from+a+pool+of+over+85+applicants.
STEVIE FUSCO
The new vice president of student affairs will be selected from a pool of over 85 applicants.

The search for Fordham University’s new vice president for student affairs publicly commenced on Aug. 31 with University President Tania Tetlow’s announcement of the creation of a search committee for the position, which would be chaired by John Cecero, S.J., vice president for mission integration and ministry. 

The position, which oversees student affairs functions, staff members and the university’s budget, alongside other aspects of student life on campus, was previously held by Jeffrey Gray, who retired on March 21, 2023. Michele Burris currently serves the role on an interim basis. While the position does not directly interface with the student body, it nonetheless significantly shapes the university’s culture and mission.

Cecero emphasized the importance of rebuilding Fordham’s community as the university emerges from the COVID-19 pandemic. 

To fill the position, the university is conducting a search with a committee which comprises faculty, staff members and students. Fordham has also hosted listening sessions to garner community feedback.

“Our new vice president should be someone who tries to work with the student body, not someone who separates themselves from us.”Shamia Rahman, FCLC ’25

“That’s why these listening sessions are so important, we can’t just take a business person who may have a lot of these skills but who’s never worked with students before,” Cecero said. “Somebody who understands what the mental health challenges are of students today and is deeply committed to diversity, equity and inclusion.”

Cecero noted that during listening sessions, students’ mental health was mentioned often. Some other tasks on which the new vice president is focused include combating loneliness on campus and ensuring commuter and resident students feel a sense of belonging. 

He said he believes Tetlow has quickly set a clear direction for Fordham, grounded in its Jesuit identity and mission, while addressing contemporary challenges such as sustaining democracies, environmental sustainability, and diversity, equity and inclusion. He shared that the selection committee currently has approximately 85 to 90 applications. 

“I think a big piece of the job is somebody who can manage conflict well, that’s crucial to fostering the kind of culture here we want,” he said. “We are looking for someone who gets our mission, is an excellent administrator, and has had extensive experience with student life.”

The vice president for student affairs will serve within the president’s cabinet, a body which comprises key administrators who manage different divisions of the university. The role will be tasked with addressing significant university-wide issues, guiding policies, and collaborating with other divisions. 

In addition to overseeing student affairs, they also supervise recruitment or involvement issues relating to donors, fundraising, finances, budgeting or other events which majorly impact the university.  

The committee’s role is to facilitate discussions and select candidates who align with the university’s values and mission, and it aims to present a shortlist of candidates to Tetlow by the end of the calendar year.

“We are looking for someone who gets our mission, is an excellent administrator, and has had extensive experience with student life.”John Cecero, S.J., vice president for mission integration and ministry.

Shamia Rahman, Fordham College at Lincoln Center (FCLC) ’25, said she hopes the new vice president will authentically relate to the student body.

“Our new vice president should be someone who tries to work with the student body, not someone who separates themselves from us,” Rahman said. “In order to do this, our new VP must understand Fordham’s mission and the values its student body holds.”

Josi Oz, FCLC ’24, emphasized the importance of the new vice president for student affairs supporting student organizations and programming on campus. 

“If the vice president for student affairs could help out with students having problems with clubs, that would be nice,” Oz explained. “Be our voice if we’re struggling with OSI and other upper management boards at Fordham.”

As the search committee begins to evaluate candidates, Cecero emphasized the primary qualities for which candidates are evaluated, which include understanding and embodying Fordham’s mission; demonstrating excellent administrative and managerial skills; and having extensive experience with student life.

Additional criteria include being well-versed in legal processes and the challenges of today’s students; being deeply committed to diversity, equity and inclusion; and being a proactive collaborator who can effectively manage conflict.

In addition, Cecero noted that the vice president for student affairs must focus on bridging the gap between campuses and collaborating with faculty to effectively support students.

The committee hopes to find a leader who embodies Fordham’s mission and values, while also possessing the skills and commitment to guide student life and engagement in a rapidly changing world. According to Cecero, the selection committee hopes to find a candidate by either the end of the fall semester or early January 2024. 

Ana Kevorkian and Stevie Fusco contributed additional reporting to this story.



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About the Contributors
ANOUSHKA SAWARDEKAR, Contributing Writer
STEVIE FUSCO, Assistant News Editor

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