Dean of students office is here to help

By Libby Campbell, Senior Reporter

With classes underway and the campus buzzing with activities, the Dean of Students office is busy helping students make the most of their college experience.

Dr. Amy Johnson, who took the position of dean of students in August, has worked with students for the last 15 years. “What continues to engage me is that I started off long ago wanting to be a teacher, and this is an opportunity to do that, to participate in students’ educational and developmental experience,” she said.

The office serves as a valuable resource for students seeking guidance, mentoring or advice and is a place students can turn to when they need support.

“Our office does a host of things in terms of the student experience,” Johnson said. “If you need general advice or recommendation about how to address a problem or an issue, or to get connected with a resource, you can come to us. When you’re in a crisis, you can come to us. When you need a letter of recommendation for something, you can come to us.”

The office assists students in any stage of their academic experience. Johnson encouraged students who might be overwhelmed by the transition to college life to come by.

“It’s a new residence, it’s a new schedule, it’s new people, it’s new colleagues. It’s a new day-to-day [experience] for them,” she said. “Sometimes that can be extremely exhilarating for students, and at the same time, it can be overwhelming. Recognize that we’re here to help you at both ends of the spectrum. When you’re exhilarated and decide you can take on a new responsibility or a new job and really want to get connected to the university, we can help. And when you’re feeling overwhelmed, we’ve got you there too,” she said.

Over the years as a student development educator, Johnson has shared three main tips for success with students, the first being to make connections with the campus community. In addition to connecting with their peers, students should also establish relationships with faculty.

“Make sure by the time you graduate that you have a group of faculty and staff who can speak to your particular experience and your preparation for internships or graduate school or employment,” she said.

She also encourages students to be involved on campus outside the classroom, whether through a club, team or work-study job.

“It’s an opportunity to connect with campus, to get to know the university as an insider,” she said.

She says it is important that students ask for help when they need it, and “the sooner, the better.”

“Students sometimes can be reticent to say, ‘I’m not sure what to do here,’ and that’s normal and natural,” she said. “One of the primary ways in which the Dean of Students office can be a resource is helping you get connected with those various … individuals who can help you, or offices that may be able to facilitate the particular need that you have.”

Though she has only been at Eastern for a little over a month, Johnson said she is excited to be here.

“It’s a terrific time to be on a college campus, and I look forward to this time every year,” she said. “[I’m] just so invigorated by the students that I’ve met, and the colleagues that I have and the work that lies ahead of us.”

The Dean of Students office is located in PUB 320.